USA goalkeeper Tim Howard (pictured) appeared in four matches at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. (Photo: Mexsport)
NEW YORK – The professional career of United States goalkeeper Tim Howard began in Major League Soccer. He is quite certain that it won’t end there.
When Howard's contract with Everton in the English Premier League runs out in 2018, he’ll be nearing 40-years-old and would be ready to hang up his gloves for good.
"At this point, yeah. I will be 39 when that contract finishes," he said. "I can't see that (a return to MLS)."
And don't count on him trying to join the staff of New York Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke. Howard, who roomed with Petke in his rookie season, played for the MetroStars, who were sold to Red Bull in 2006.
"I will be going home to Memphis to watch football on TV and drink some beers, enjoy some downtime," said Howard.
So Brazil 2014 could very well be his final World Cup. The North Brunswick, New Jersey native was the USA's third keeper in the 2006 competition and played every minute of South Africa 2010.
Of course, if Howard is still at the top of his game, he could be back for Russia in 2018. There have been many goalkeepers who have played internationally into their late thirties and even early forties.
"Four years?" Howard said before he laughed. "I've got a four-contract at Everton now. I will be finished playing when that contract runs out. We'll see. It's so hard to figure out what's going to happen next week. So I honestly don't know."
Howard played for MetroStars from 1998-2003, before joining Manchester United.
He is at an age in which a number of milestones have or will be reached.
After Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Turkey, the former North Jersey Imperials netminder surpassed Kasey Keller on the USA's all-time list for most wins with 54.
"He was a guy I looked up to," Howard said. "He taught me so many things. He's been critical in my learning curve, both in the Premier League and with the national team. So, I know how talented he is. I know how great he has been for our country."
Howard also is one cap shy from 100 international appearances, which he could get when the Americans play Nigeria in Jacksonville, Florida, on Saturday.
"That's a huge milestone for any player," expressed Howard. "It's certainly not lost on me. I'll enjoy the moment if it comes. Hopefully, when it comes, I'll enjoy it with the kids and put it behind me. It's something that's special, that every player who gets 100 it's probably the biggest moment in their career."