BRIAN SCIARETTA - Thursday, August 21, 2014
As the U.S. national team gets set to start the new cycle, it will have to do without goalkeeper Tim Howard who is taking a one year hiatus from international soccer.
Howard, 35, is coming off an exceptional World Cup campaign where he helped the U.S. team advance to the round of 16. In the team's 2-1 loss to Belgium in the final game, Howard put on one of the best performances in U.S. national team history keeping the Americans in the game and giving them a chance to win it.
"Having played overseas for the last 12 years and missing out on spending time with my family, making this commitment to my family is very important at this time," Howard announced on U.S. Soccer's web site. "I am grateful for the willingness of both Jurgen Klinsmann and Everton manager Roberto Martinez to afford me the opportunity to spend time with my kids. It's the right decision at the right time. Jurgen has always been up front with all the players in saying you have to earn your place, which is something I agree with, so I look forward to coming back next fall and competing for a spot."
The decision to take a break came after a long series of discussions the New Jersey native had with head coach Jurgen Klinsmann who respected the decision.
"We had a very good and productive conversation," said Klinsmann. "I totally understand Tim's situation. He was very straight forward and honest in his approach, and I admire him for that. He has a wish to take a step back to take care of his family, and we came to the conclusion that it's absolutely fine that he takes time off from international soccer until after next summer's Gold Cup, and then we reevaluate.
For now, the burden will likely fall on Aston Villa's Brad Guzan who has been the team's backup keeper for over six years. He will likely be the team's starting goalkeeper for the 2015 Gold Cup where he will hope to make a case to be the full-time starter once Tim Howard returns