Photo by ISIphotos.com
Four days. Two games. Two shutouts vs. Manchester United and Chelsea. Such is life for Tim Howard.
The U.S. national team goalkeeper posted another shutout on Wednesday, this time blanking Chelsea at Stamford Bridge to put a dent in the Blues' title hopes and adding another point to Everton's account. The draw came just four days after Howard helped guide Everton to the FA Cup final with a penalty kick victory vs. Manchester United.
Playing in England for a top teams means that matches such as those are a common occurrence for the 30-year-old New Jersey native, but that doesn't make gaining positive results any less thrilling.
As tough as Howard's schedule has been, he knows an especially tough stretch awaits beginning in late May. He will play for Everton in an FA Cup final on May 30th before joining the U.S. national team in Costa Rica for the first of two World Cup qualifiers in a week. He will then join the national team in South Africa, where the Americans will face Brazil, Italy and Egypt in the Confederations Cup. That stretch of matches will take place over the course of three weeks and provide just the latest series of tests for the former MetroStars standout.
Howard took time out to answer your questions in the latest installment of The SBI Questions. Here is Part Two of Howard's answers (Here is Part One):
PCFC-What's your favorite restaurant abroad?
Besides soccer, what sport do you find most entertaining in England (non-American)?
TIM HOWARD- There's a lot of Rugby on TV here so I've actually gotten into watching that. I haven't gone to games, but if there's a big game on I'll watch it.
As for restaurants, there's one called Piccolino's in South Manchester, where we live.
MENSREA JIM- How long do you think you'll continue your international career?
What other leagues would you like to play in?
TIM HOWARD- It's hard to say. I think for me, after every cycle, every World Cup cycle, you have probably have to re-evaluate where you want to go and where the team is going. After this World Cup I'll still be young for a goalkeeper, I'll be 31, so it's tough for me to say. Also, it's not completely in my hand either. I'd like to have a long career and playing for your contry is an amazing thing. I don't really want to play until I'm 38 or 40, but you never know.
(As for what other league he'd consider playing in) Italy, definitely. Growing up in Jersey, back in the day, Sunday mornings at 10 o'clock you had RAI Uno. That was the only soccer we saw in the late 80s, early 90s. I really love Italian football. The teams, the culture, everything about it, so I think I'd enjoy it. Maybe later on in my career I'd like to do it. I've always say it and I think it's true, if I could stay at Everton my whole career I'd be pretty blessed. I do love England so I don't really know, but hypothetically England.
SEAN MONAGHAN- This is a random one, but did you ever have a european team you loved watching (or supported) when you were growing up as a kid?
TIM HOWARD- AC Milan. I don't really remember specific Milan players when I was a kid but In 1998 I went over for a training stint, that team was amazing so I had fond memories of that team and training with them. I was there like three or four weeks. Capello was the coach at the time and the team was amazing. Desailly, Leonardo, George Weah, (Zvanomir) Boban, Oliver Bierhoff.
Q- Everton seems pretty set at most positions, and with David Moyes as your manager you can't go wrong, but are there any Americans that you would like to get a look (as a fan, a Lescott/Gooch middle defense would excite me!)?
TIM HOWARD- Everton has a good foothold in the American scouting scene. Our chief scout who brought me to Everton really, really knows the American market well. Joe-Max Moore was there. Brian McBride was was there. I think there's a few players on the U.S. national team who could fit the bill. It's no secret that Everton liked Michael Bradley, I thought he'd be a great player for us, but that didn't work out. There are a few who could fit the bill, but you'd have to come here and roll your sleeves up and do the dirty work.
BLAKE- Even though you're at the highest level, was there ever a player (maybe a childhood idol) who you were starstruck upon meeting?
TIM HOWARD- Probably (Paolo) Maldini. He's one of my all-time favorite players ever. To be around him when we went in 1998, and to be able to say hello to him, was surreal.
At United, Sir Bobby Charlton. For me, he's so amazing because he's a legend in the history of the game. He's such a gentle soul. I wasn't so much starstruck as opposed to just taken aback at how genuine and gentle he was.
A ROACH- 1. What piece of advice would you give to a youth (high school) goalkeeper?
TIM HOWARD- Goalkeeping is a tough, demanding and unforgiving position. It's one of those positions that takes a very long time to perfect. You never perfect it. Now that I get older, and they say goalkeepers get better with age I always wondered what people meant, but now I see it coming together. Patience is the most important thing for a young goalkeeper. Things eventually do start to click and you do start to realize the nuances of the position.
Obviously you want to work hard, and learn your trade, be the hardest worker on your team, but you have to have some patience, which I'm not very good at.
BRANT- This probably a bit silly and/or mundane, but what other sports do you play for fun and did you ever consider taking a shot at the pros in any of them?
Oh, and what's on your iPod right now?
TIM HOWARD- I'd love to be in the NBA somewhere, that would be my dream, but I don't see that happening. That was my first pick, the only sport I could only go pro in. (When asked if he was the best basketball player at Everton, Howard joked) "I'd do it with my left hand and be the best players."
(And what's on his IPod). What isn't on my IPod? Toby Keith, Akon, Kanye West, Allen Jackson. There's a big mix of hip-hop and country, I'm not sure how it works but that's it.
NICO- Which, non-USA, CONCACAF player have you been most impressed with?
TIM HOWARD- Palacios from Honduras, (Rafael) Marquez, I think (Giovani) Dos Santos is a very good player. It's a tough league for him to come into but I think he's a very good player. Kenwyne Jones is a very good player. Obviously David Suazo is up there. He was in Italy forever.
MICHAEL VANN- First, off I just want to thank you for all that you have done on and off the pitch. You are first class individual that is a perfect representative for US Soccer and Everton. With that said, you have been played a part in two big derbies, the Manchester Derby and the Merseyside Derby, how do they compare? What is the typical week like leading up to those matches?
TIM HOWARD- They don't really compare. The Liverpool-Everton derby, for me, is head and shoulders above the Manchester Derby. I don't know why. That's the way I feel it. The city is really on fire. Everyone's knows its Derby Week with all the radio chat shows, televisions, more jerseys come out and flags. There's just so much hype around it.
RYAN- Tim, What is your most memorable game with the USMNT that you played in? And what player do you think has the hardest shot who has shot on you?
TIM HOWARD- My most memorable game, aside from the Gold Cup final, would probably have to be my debut against Ecuador down in Alabama. Eddie Lewis scored and it was 1-0. That was the beginning of it all. I remember being really nervous. I was young, maybe 22, on a team with a lot of big players. I got the word a couple of days ahead of time and it was pretty crazy. I remember being real nervous, but if you're not nervous you're not ready.
Cristiano Ronaldo or Paul Scholes. Cristiano's has more movement, but I don't know what it is about Scholesy, but he hits a heck of a ball that's just so heavy.
EVAN- I know that Everton is a close knit team, so I was wandering which of your team mates are closest to and hang out with away from the pitch?
TIM HOWARD- Probably Jolean Lescott and Phil Jagielka.
REKRO- Me and my fellow movie enthusiasts where wondering, what type of cinema you're into.
Comedy??? Action??? Chick Flicks Maybe???
What movies does Tim Howard have next to his DVD player????
TIM HOWARD- Anything with Denzel Washington I'm watching, guaranteed. Outside of that, I love like crime thrillers.
NICK CALI- What is your favorite save of all time?
TIM HOWARD- It would have been one against Frank Lampard at Chelsea, maybe last year. It was at Stamford Bridge. It was a pullback, and speaking of hard shots, he and Drogba have hard shots as well, wickedly hard shots. He was a pullback from the endline, got across my goal and he smashed it back to where I came from and I just kind of kicked my feet up and laid out for it.
In MLS, the Diego Serna one down in Miami. It was a header down, and I saved it somehow with my shinpad and it went over the goal.
THA DEUCE- What is your most emotional victory? Mexico?
TIM HOWARD- Mexico is always a big one. Whether it's Mexico, Liverpool or like the one on Sunday against Manchester United, those are all going to be emotional because there's so much passion in those games so it's hard to separate them.