Howard discusses differences between past, present USMNTs

Tim Howard

photo by John Todd/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

Tim Howard has been with the U.S. Men’s National Team for more than a decade, and he has witnessed firsthand just how much it has grown during that span.

Howard recently touched on some of the stark differences between the current crop of U.S. players and those of years past, discussing things like increased competition in the talent pool and magnified media attention. The veteran goalkeeper also made it clear that the United States as a whole has grown as a soccer nation, with last week’s highly-debated World Cup roster announcement serving as just the latest reminder.

“I don’t think we had enough players to make up a 23-man squad. Good players anyway,” said Howard of U.S. World Cup teams in past cycles. “This country has grown leaps and bounds when it comes to (soccer). We’ve got talent and we’ve got competition. Everyone’s competing for spots and our talent at every position is really good. We’ve got guys that play at a multitude of positions and that play around the world. This is easily the deepest team.”

With improved players have come improved results and an increase in fans’ desire for more coverage. That has become extremely apparent in recent years and also with the recent debut of an ESPN documentary series covering the U.S. as it prepares for this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.

More coverage means more responsibility and more professionalism from the players, but it’s all part of continued growth of soccer in the United States.

“It’s been okay. Obviously, it was a little bit of a concern for us players at first because we didn’t really want that type of access,” said Howard of having cameras around the team on an around-the-clock basis for the documentary series titled Inside: U.S. Soccer’s March to Brazil. “It’s a lot easier when you can let your hair down, but they’ve been really good. They’ve been great about being up front with us and we’re up front with them with letting them know where our concerns were. It’s not been a problem yet. Hopefully, it turns out well.”

Differences aside, the Americans’ focus as they prepare to head into Brazil remains the same as it did in any of the previous run-ups to the prestigious tournament and that is enjoying a strong showing at the World Cup.

“Now the fun begins,” said Howard ahead of the U.S.’s first send-off series vs. Azerbaijan on Tuesday. “We can play games and we can start to recover and rest and travel and play another game, so we’ll only have two or three sessions.

“We’ve only got three (friendlies) to get it right. Hopefully, we’ll pick up some momentum in the games and put some good performances in. That way, when we get down there we can feel like the work’s been worth it and we’re ready.”

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81 Responses to Howard discusses differences between past, present USMNTs

  1. Dinho says:

    “I don’t think we had enough players to make up a 23-man squad. Good players anyway,” said Howard of U.S. World Cup teams in past cycles.

    Wow. That’s quite the slight on the latter half of the past rosters…..

    • Brett says:

      Glares at Ricardo Clark

      • IgnerAnt says:

        You win the thread.

        Well, you would win the thread, but Clark just gave it away on an inexplicable turnover.

      • quozzel says:

        And Edson Buddle. And Robbie Findley. And whoever our #3 and #4 outside backs were, who somehow couldn’t force Johnny Bornstein off the field. Oh, yes, now I remember…our #3 was Jonathan Spector, and we didn’t carry a fourth outside back.

        Also carried Jose Torres, got zip out of him as well.

        We had some gaping holes on that squad. Fo’ sure.

    • KingGoogleyEye says:

      That’s what I thought. I’m guessing Timmy gets a few less xmas cards this year….

      Still, it’s true. It’s so rare to have any pro athelete say anything true about his team.

  2. Jompo says:

    Why didn’t he just say “Donovan”?

  3. Alex says:

    The fact guys like Jonathan Bornstein and Robbie Findley not only made the last roster but actually started some games tells you how far we’ve come.

    • JayAre says:

      Robbie Findley!!!! Don’t remind me.

    • Roy says:

      2006 had Chris Albright, Jimmy Conrad, Bobby Convey (I remember him missing an open goal in a non-World Cup game), and Ben Olsen (post-injury and not the same player). They were strong MLS players but not world quality.

      • Seriously says:

        Don’t be talkin’ about Conradinho… he’ll find you

      • 1st Time Caller says:

        And this cycle has Brad Davis, Chris Wondolowski, Kyle Beckerman, DeAndre Yedlin, and Omar Gonzalez?? PROVEN World Class Players All… What’s your point? The “we’ve progressed” argument is Null when you watch this team. Go back and rewatch 2002… That team was on a different level than we are at present. Don’t believe me? Go back and watch US-Germany start to finish, and we LOST that game… Anyone who watched US-Aze and saw a team anywhere near the level of quality and composure of that 2002 team should really take a sobering look in the mirror and prepare for impending disappointment.

    • shockedandawed says:

      Very true. No way players like kljeistan, agudelo, Boyd, goodson, Donovan…etc get cut 8 years ago.

    • user222 says:

      hahaha.. Robbie Finley…. aka ” WTF inley….”

    • Good Jeremy says:

      To be fair, Bornstein played well in the World Cup.
      Friendlies, qualification, Mexico, MLS are a different matter.

    • beto says:

      I want to agree with that but not really sure that Yedlin and Wondo (2014) are that much better the Bornstein and Buddle (2010)

      I agree that the pool’s median & mean have improved alot but neither the top or bottom of the roster have improved; its just higher competetion – more players of similar levels

  4. KingGoogleyEye says:

    “It’s a lot easier when you can let your hair down.”

    So that’s what the beard is all about!

  5. w says:

    Evans, Parkhurst, Goodson and Donovan had no place going to Brazil no matter the roles they played in qualifying.

    do you see Boyd or Edu complaining? No. Move on. Complain once the tourney is over.

    • Jompo says:

      Poor Terrence Boyd. I bet he took it harder than the rest of them. The dude just loves America and has the tattoos to prove it.

      • CCJC says:

        +1 I’m with you on that statement. Boyd was probably gutted the most and didn’t complain. He wished the boys well and stated he would work harder than anyone else to make sure he has a place next cycle.

        • les T says:

          The Boyd will light up Brazil. 1st he needs to get out of Austria

          • quozzel says:

            If I’m an MLS expansion team, I’m staring very, very hard at Terrence Boyd right now for a DP slot. Heck, if I’m a lot of teams in MLS, I’m staring very hard at Terrence Boyd for a DP spot.

            Big huge hold-up forward, young, nose for the goal, lets you play a lot of 4-3-3 or single-striker systems? He’ll be on a lot of teams’ wish lists, I think.

    • Roy says:

      So Evans and Goodson (we’ll leave out Donovan and Parkhurst for now) declined so much, because we haven’t seen Brooks or Yedlin improve for the Nats? Based on what?

    • Lalas's says:

      And you have no place here you bum!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope LD pokes you’re woman!!!!!!

    • Chris says:

      How was this comment pertinent?

    • Randall H. says:

      How can you say Donovan and Goodson have no place going to Brazil? And you feel that John Brooks does over Goodson? Brooks has had two disastrous national outings, started only half the games in the Bundesligue. If he wasn’t German he would never be on the plane. His own coach at Hertha Berlin has said he’s not ready. Goodson has been effective and reliable and is a way better back up at center back.

      As far as Donovan is concerned, Green is green and hasn’t proven anything. Brad Davis, Mix Diskerud over Donovan. Really? Donovan has vision, intelligence and has been there before. I know everyone likes to see the brand new toys, but world cup teams that advance rely on experience. The German team that Klinnsman coached had a lot of youth, but they all had experience at major clubs.

      Klinnsman created a toxic environment in the locker room 15 months ago, and he’s doing it again with the way he cut Donovan and the German American favoritism. He wants players that don’t question his autocracy. Green and Brad Davis (who really has no right to going to Brazil) will not do this.

      I am a huge national team supporter. But I will never be a supporter of Jurgen Klinnsman. The sooner he is gone, the better.

      • Lost in Space says:

        Randall H…..arguably the best USMNT was the 2002 Squad which had major contributions from 3 relative unknowns….Landon Donovan (BL reserve), DMB (Chicago Fire), and Pablo Mastrioni (Rapids). All 3 had limited international experience and little to no part in WC qualification.
        Green has nearly the same experience as Donovan did in 2002. Diskerud has more experience than Donovan, Beasley, or Pablo did in 2002. Diskerud, in significantly less time, has shown that he has great vision….see the goals he’s set up for Donovan against Mexico…Bradley against Russia…Agudelo against SA, or the Goals he’s scored this past summer in the GC (granted against week opponents).
        Brooks….well if we’re ever down to our 4th CB option we’re in more trouble than Goodson could save us from.
        Davis & Wando….These 2 I will give you. IMO Landon should have been selected over Davis or Wando. But not knowing what potentially happened in camp or in the April camp between JK & LD, we really don’t know what is behind JK’s decision.
        What I will say is that just because Green & Diskerud are young and inexperienced does not mean that they can’t or wont contribute in Brazil. I’ll reserve judgement of their inclusion until after the cup, and I suggest you do the same.

        • Randall H. says:

          I do think Diskerud has his pluses I agree, I just wouldn’t take him over Donovan. I think he will be muscled off the ball and isn’t strong enough against the likes of Ghana and Germany. In 2002, we didn’t have the depth that we have now and had no choice but to go with those young untested players.

          I’m sure that Green will be a great player, it’s just that he has done nothing to merit inclusion. But as you say, we shall see.

          As far as Brooks is concerned this is a total head scratcher, and you haven’t provided a very good rationale for this decision. Every choice should be someone who could see the field. Either he’s a good choice or he isn’t. Based on what I’ve seen in US games, he definitely isn’t. Goodson and Parkhurst are, in my opinion. Unfortunately, they don’t have German passports.

          • Anthony says:

            Will you stop it with the German passport conspiracy non-sense! It’s old and just plain in accurate. Goodson is not that good and would not displace Cameron, Beasler or a healthy Gonzalez. Brooks got his cobwebs out playing poorly in Cyprus with another CB that he has no clue who to work with. However, he plays CB well against many of the attacking players we will see in Germany. He finished the season well..so yeah I take him over Goodson. Parkhurst??? He could even make the bench for a relegated Bundesliga side and you want him over a guy who starts regularly for a better team in the same league????

        • tw says:

          Sorry, Donovan was by no means a “relative unknown” in 2002, despite his age. He had won the golden ball at the U-17 world cup in 99, had helped lead the Earthquakes to MLS cup in 2001 and had scored 4 goals in the MLS all-star game the year before. All US fans knew it wasn’t a matter of if but when with Donovan, as he had begun working his way into the US lineup.

          One young player I wish Klinsman had integrated more is Luis Gil. I would have been just fine with bringing him into camp and possibly to Brazil for the experience.

          • Anthony says:

            First of all, you need to see the list of who won the Golden Ball (DMB won the Silver at the same tournament) at all those tournaments. With a few exceptions, they are lucky if the panned out to be mediocre players (I know because I checked the list out). For every Cesc and Toni Kroos, there are 5 busts.

            Second, did you watch MLS back then? I did from 96 onwards when a couple friends on the college team considered trying out (didn’t make it and their full time job offers paid more — seriously). The quality was VERY VERY poor. I would venture that the quality of the Bundesliga IV teams is higher than MLS back then. Furthermore, this is supported by the fact that Landon had no significant impact on Bayer Leverkusen’s team 20+ appearances in 3 or 4 years, and came back and was an all-star in MLS. Green dominated the division. He was the leading scorer on his team and among the leading scorers in the division AT 17 YEARS OLD playing against grown professionals. He impressed so much he signed a professional contract for the best German team in about 30 years!!! Sorry Green is better now than Donovan was at the same age.

            • Nate says:

              Well, the US team, made up primarily of guys who either got their starts or were playing in MLS during that period, outplayed the German first team players in the World Cup quartefinals, so…I’m pretty sure you didnt watch MLS in those days. Otherwise, you wouldnt be claiming that the Bundesliga reserve division is better.

            • White Kix says:

              lol, that was a funny post.

        • Nate says:

          Donovan had 7 goals in a full season of MLS prior to 2002…DMB had a full season of MLS as well. and both had featured at the U17 World up in 1999, winning the golden and bronze balls as best and third best players in the tournament…Green has none of that experience. He’s never played a first team professional match.

          Mastroeni was only included because Chris Armas tore his ACL on the eve of the tournament.

          Even then, none of those guys were selected at the expense of the best US player at that time. The guys from the 1994, 1998 cycle had retired by then. Totally different decision making process. We took all of our best guys to Korea that year.

          • Micronesia Justin says:

            He, technically, has played a first team professional match. Champions League appearance for Bayern.

      • user222 says:

        you sound like a democrat… always hating Bush no matter what…:)

        • Edmondo says:

          Where did that moronic statement come from????

          This is a soccer site. If you want to make that type of comment, go jump on some yahoo board or Fox board. I come here to read, argue and discuss soccer, period.

    • Randall H. says:

      How can you say Donovan and Goodson have no place going to Brazil? And you feel that John Brooks does over Goodson? Brooks has had two disastrous national outings, started only half the games in the Bundesligue. If he wasn’t German he would never be on the plane. His own coach at Hertha Berlin has said he’s not ready. Goodson has been effective and reliable and is a way better back up at center back.

      As far as Donovan is concerned, Green is green and hasn’t proven anything. Brad Davis, Mix Diskerud over Donovan. Really? Donovan has vision, intelligence and has been there before. I know everyone likes to see the brand new toys, but world cup teams that advance rely on experience. The German team that Klinnsman coached had a lot of youth, but they all had experience at major clubs.

      Klinnsman created a toxic environment in the locker room 15 months ago, and he’s doing it again with the way he cut Donovan and the German American favoritism. He wants players that don’t question his autocracy. Green and Brad Davis (who really has no right to going to Brazil) will not do this.

      I am a huge national team supporter. But I will never be a supporter of Jurgen Klinsman. The sooner he is gone, the better.

      • Cal says:

        Huge mistake to take Brooks over Goodson. Does Brooks even speak passable English? (In the ESPN documentary, he does his interview in German.) Scary to think of what happens in Brazil when Ronaldo makes his run while Howard or Besler are yelling instructions that Brooks doesn’t even understand.

        • Good Jeremy says:

          Brooks’ English is fine.
          You do realize that English is not a prerequisite for citizenship, no?

          The idea of him in Brasil scares me.

          • Cal says:

            I’m not questioning anyone’s citizenship, sheesh. Just saying it’s important to understand what your teammates are saying to you on the pitch, even more so if you’re in central defense.

        • Brian says:

          Yes, yes he does speak very “passable” English.

  6. les T says:

    is this the tournament where Howard proves he’s 1 of the top 10 keepers in the world. I recall in 2009 around the time of the FA Cup Final and the Confed Cup he had to be 1 of the top 5 during the summer. no doubt about it.

    Keller was man of the match against Italy in 2006. Friedel got Man of the Match against Korea in 2002 and had a record for stopping Penalty Kicks. Howard got a man of the match against england in the last tournament. i wanna also see Guzan get a chance in Brazil.

    • soccerhorn says:

      If Tim “I really don’t give a rat’s *ss about this team or this country” Chandler gets playing time on the back line, after sitting out almost all of the qualifying because he just couldn’t be bothered, and because JK told him “no problem, I am taking you to Brazil anyway,” then yes, Howard should shine, because he’ll be facing shots a-plenty.

      • Maykol says:

        So if arguably the best fullback in the US pool gets playing time, the defense will be worst? ok buddy. And if he didnt care about the US team, then guess what? he wouldnt be on the world cup squad

        • BookNerd says:

          I’ve been lurking for a while on this board and I’m still surprised to see people who think like this. Even after Chandler was interviewed throughout the season he wanted to come into camp, but wasn’t called in.Also, the man cried when he got hurt because he thought he missed his chance. Things are not so black and white, and if that’s how people see things it scares me.

          • Bac says:

            Once a narrative is created, it is perpetuated.
            People forget the things you mentioned
            People forget that he started under Bradley
            People forget he’s got 10 caps
            People forget he once said he couldn’t sleep on a plane, and that turned into a fear of flying

            He’s on our team, I’m rooting for his success

            • JH says:

              Exactly. He is a quality fullback and we are lucky to have him on the team. Let’s hope our defense gels in these next three games.

            • Chris says:

              There is a reason Johnson is moving from LB to take Chandler’s spot and Beasley is playing LB. He’s not as good as people make him out to be and had a poor season.

              • Anthony says:

                The same Chandler who got excellent reviews before he got injured and is SO BAD, he is being pursued by a BETTER team (Eintracht Frankfurt) than the one he played for this season???

              • QuakerOtis says:

                Johnson is moving because he is better than Chandler, but that does not make Chandler bad.

    • soccerhorn says:

      Guzan will get a chance if we enter the Germany game with zero points. A grim possibility.

  7. or2 says:

    why does Guzan even accept NT call ups?

    he’s been no.2 for like 5 years and still barely plays even when Howard should rest or take a break. He’s been a keeper for 2 years at AV. i’d demand a reason from JK or retire following this WC ala Brad Friedel

    • Jompo says:

      Would you say no?

    • scurvy says:

      Guzan is a clear number 2 against Howard, unlike Keller and Friedel, who were comparable in their form for both club and country. It’s hard to beat Howard with regards to club form and he’s lights out this year. Guzan is still setting himself up for success in the future; he’s five years younger than Howard and will be well primed next time out.

      We don’t have to worry about keepers, never have. Him ‘demanding’ Howard step aside would be foolish at best.

      Howard is our guy. Especially with a green back line we want his leadership back there.

    • Roy says:

      Guzan? Because he has a good chance of being the starter in 2018.

    • Bac says:

      Why would he NOT?

    • Yogi says:

      Guzan is to Howard what Lehmann was to Kahn a few years ago…. A solid 2nd option that drove the top dog to do better. We should be so lucky to even have this dilemma.

    • Jim says:

      So he can shut out Mexico in Azteca and gain only the second point ever in WC qualifying?

  8. shorembo says:

    “I don’t think we had enough players to make up a 23-man squad. Good players anyway,” said Howard of U.S. World Cup teams in past cycles. “This country has grown leaps and bounds when it comes to (soccer). We’ve got talent and we’ve got competition. Everyone’s competing for spots and our talent at every position is really good. We’ve got guys that play at a multitude of positions and that play around the world. This is easily the deepest team.”

    So it sounds like our recent success is due to the players versus….

  9. Alex says:

    Does anyone else find it hilarious that Tim Howard, of all people, said that “It’s a lot easier when you can let your hair down”?

  10. Fredrick says:

    One hour till the start. Onward to Brazil.

  11. Dan says:

    US starting lineup out: 4-4-2 diamond (as predicted)

    —–Dempsey——-Altidore——–
    ————–Bradley—————–
    ——-Zusi————-Bedoya——
    —————Jones——————
    Beasley—Besler—-Cameron—-FJ
    —————Howard—————-

  12. JakeTheSnake says:

    Oh come on! Jonathan Bornstein and Ricardo Clark could have been such dark horse selections for this year!!

  13. futbol lover says:

    AFter watching last night’s friendly… i’m even more inclined to pull my hair out….

    LD has proven he can score, and was a scoring machine just last summer for us in the Gold Cup….and I agree Discaroo has great potential but i agree with the person who said he will just get pushed off the ball in the World Cup… it’s true… that kid looks young and weak with any serious pressure and high level defense he will crumble….

    and WTF is up with Wando starting?!?!??!?!?!?!

    how can disgarude OR Wando even start to compare to LD in the slgihtest?

    I’m all for putting younger players who are better over the old but serioulsy these guys don’t seem like they can hold a torch to LD at all….

    i was such a huge Klindsman fan up until this roster release… -_-

    but if we advance out of the group stage he is a genius of course but especially without LD i don’t think we have a chance in hell of getting out now unless Germany puts on there 2nd team for us if they have already secured advancing to next round and we get a lucky win somehow.

    either way though…. GO USA!!!!!!!