Timothy Matthew Howard is an American soccer player who formerly captained the United States national team as a goalkeeper. Howard began his career with the North Jersey Imperials, before making a move to the MetroStars. His appearances soon attracted the attention of English Premier League club Manchester United, who signed him in 2003. He enjoyed relative success with the club, as they won the 2003 FA Community Shield, the 2003–04 FA Cup and the 2005–06 League Cup. After United signed goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, however, Howard went out on loan to Everton to play more first-team soccer, and eventually signed permanently with them in February 2007. On January 4, 2012, Howard scored a goal (his first as a professional) against Bolton Wanderers, making him only the fourth goalkeeper to score a goal in a Premier League match. In 2016 Howard made his return to MLS, this time playing for the Colorado Rapids as their starter keeper. Howard is the most capped goalkeeper of all-time for the United States men’s national team, with over 100 caps since his debut in 2002. He was an unused substitute for the 2006 World Cup but later established himself as first-choice keeper of the United States’ international tournament games beginning with the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, in which the U.S. ended as runner-up against Brazil. Howard participated at both the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, starting in all their matches. The team reached the Round of 16 on both occasions, and during the latter Howard set a World Cup record for most saves in a match, with 15 against Belgium. Howard’s book, The Keeper, published in 2014, describes his career and his life with Tourette syndrome and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
Match Worn Boots
Everton F.C. – USA National Team
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Howard represented the United States under-20 national team at the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship in Nigeria, playing in group stage victories over England and Cameroon, before a loss in the Round of 16 against Spain. In July 1999, Howard was called up for the United States under-23 national team for the 1999 Pan American Games tournament. The United States ended the tournament with a bronze medal having overcome Canada in the Bronze medal match. Howard was used as a backup to Brad Friedel at the 2000 Summer Olympics. On March 10, 2002, he received his first senior cap, against Ecuador. On May 2, 2006, Howard was named as one of three goalkeepers on the United States roster for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, but served as a backup to Kasey Keller. Howard became the team’s first choice goalkeeper under Bob Bradley and started in the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup final, a 2–1 win over Mexico. Howard was the starting goalkeeper for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, including the semi-final in which the United States upset Spain, then the number one-ranked team in the world. Howard’s eight saves earned him his first clean sheet of the tournament and the first shutout of the Spanish side since 2007. Following the United States’ second-place finish in the tournament, Howard was awarded the Golden Glove award for best goalkeeper. Howard was the starting goalkeeper for the 2010 World Cup, in South Africa, and turned in a man of the match performance against England in his World Cup debut. Howard’s distribution to Landon Donovan led to the game-winning goal of the final group match against Algeria, giving the United States passage into the round of 16. During the United States’ round of 16 game against Ghana, Howard conceded two goals in a 2–1 loss. After Mexico defeated the United States to win the 2011 Gold Cup Final, Howard made a controversial statement regarding the post-match ceremony. The trophy presentation was conducted entirely in Spanish, despite the tournament being held in the United States. Howard went on to say that it was a “disgrace” and commented further that if the final had been in Mexico City and the United States had won, the ceremony would not have been made in English. On June 7, 2014, in the buildup to the 2014 World Cup, Howard received his 100th cap for the United States in a 2–1 defeat of Nigeria. On June 22, Howard was named man of the match for his display during the United States’ 2–2 draw with Portugal; his most notable save was a reaction stop to deny Éder, having previously diverted Nani’s shot onto the post. On July 1, Howard was again awarded man of the match, despite the United States losing 2–1 to Belgium after extra time in the round of 16. During the match, he broke the record for most saves in a World Cup match with 15. After breaking this record, his performance was celebrated worldwide on the internet, with the hashtag #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave trending on Twitter and numerous viral meme photos.
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Howard was born in North Brunswick, New Jersey, to Matthew Howard, an African American, and Esther Howard (née Fekete), a native of Hungary. His father, a long-distance truck driver, “moved out before [Howard] formed [his] first memory”, and his parents divorced when Howard was three; Howard lived with his mother, who worked for a container packing distributor. Howard was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome when he was in the sixth grade. In 1991, before Howard was a teenager, Tim Mulqueen, a one-time assistant coach for the United States men’s national under-17 soccer team, saw Howard’s potential at a single, $25 soccer coaching session, and took Howard under his wing, offering him free soccer coaching. When Howard was 14 and 15 years old, Peter Mellor, the former professional goalkeeper who was coaching for the United States Soccer Federation and writing the curriculum for the first US Soccer National Goalkeeping License for coaches, saw the 14-year-old Howard in an Olympic Development Player camp, identified him as a star of the future, and placed him in the Olympic Development Program. Mellor also helped Howard obtain his work permit appeal after he joined Manchester United from the MetroStars in 2003. He attended North Brunswick Township High School. Howard proved a star not only in soccer as a midfielder, but also on the basketball court, where he averaged 15 points per game and helped bring his team to the state finals in his senior year. During high school, he played for Central Jersey Cosmos. In 1995, Howard was part of the U.S. under-17 squad. In 1997, Mulqueen became the coach of the North Jersey Imperials, a team in the United Systems of Independent Soccer Leagues (USISL), and served as the goalkeeping coach for Major League Soccer (MLS)’s MetroStars; he considered Howard for a position on the Imperials. Howard signed with the Imperials and played in his first professional game before graduating from high school.