Howard to take year-long break from USMNT

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Photo by USA Today Sports Images

By FRANCO PANIZO

Tim Howard’s time with the U.S. Men’s National Team is not over yet, but he will not be playing alongside his American teammates any time soon.

U.S. Soccer announced on Thursday that Howard will be taking a year-long break from representing the U.S., but is not closing the book on his international career. Howard had extensive conversations with U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann prior to making the decision that will see the veteran goalkeeper miss next summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, but Howard plans to be available afterwards should Klinsmann decide to summon him.

For now, though, Howard intends to take some time away from the U.S. to be with his family and focus on his club responsibilities with Everton.

“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,” said Howard, who has 104 caps with the U.S., in a statement. “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.”

Howard’s absence will open the door for long-time backup Brad Guzan or third-choice goalkeeper Nick Rimando to claim the starting spot ahead the 2015 Gold Cup. Guzan, 29, might be the odds-on favorite, but it is an open competition as of now.

“This gives us a huge opportunity to see Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando going forward and fighting for the No. 1 spot,” said Klinsmann in the same statement. “We have young talented goalkeepers with Sean Johnson and Bill Hamid, who have been brought along the last couple years, so this may give them a chance here and there to get some game time. Always when somebody steps aside for a moment, it gives an opportunity for the next ones in line.”

The first-choice goalkeeper for the U.S. since 2007, Howard has started in the Americans’ last eight World Cup matches across the 2010 and 2014 tournaments. He shone most recently in Brazil, making a record 15 saves in a Round of 16 extra-time loss to Belgium.

That valiant performance made Howard a celebrity back home in the United States, but the 35-year-old netminder said in the aftermath of the 2-1 defeat that he needed some time to think about his international future.

After some lengthy discussions, the decision has been made.

“We had a very good and productive conversation,” said Klinsmann. “I totally understand Tim’s situation. He was very straightforward 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 re-evaluate.

“I told him as long as he is the same Tim Howard that we always see performing well, he will be welcome back with open arms and right back competing for a spot. He knows that he has to prove that he deserves to be back.”

Added Howard: “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.”

—–

What do you think of Howard deciding to take a break from the USMNT? Who do you see starting at next summer’s Gold Cup, Guzan or Rimando? Envision Howard coming back and making a run to start in Russia 2018?

Share your thoughts below.

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218 Responses to Howard to take year-long break from USMNT

  1. Iggy says:

    Legend.

    • Josh D says:

      Absolutely, and well deserved. The man is a brick wall, but his reflexes will change over the next four years. Taking time for himself while offering Guzan the chance to properly stake his claim after waiting for years is the captain-y thing to do. If he’s fit, I’m sure we’ll see him in 2018 if he so wishes.

      #Respect

  2. downintexas says:

    Lets see if he treats Timmy the same way he treated Landon

      • Josh D says:

        Really? Because Howard has ever left the US team? Because Howard has ever abandoned his club team to find himself? Because Howard has ever been known for mental fragility and stirring up trouble?

        Howard is twice the man Donovan is.

        • downintexas says:

          Yes I know you hate LD and no logic nor reason will ever change that.

          • whoop-whoop says:

            I am a fan of LD. Do hope we are reaching/advancing to a place where all stories do not have to be viewed through the prism of one player? Very different players, situations, conditions and completely unrelated stories.

            Congrats to Howard on a well earned NT break- sure it will serve him and his club well.

            • whoop-whoop says:

              Will add that it will serve the Nats as well. Getting to be time where some alternative Keepers need to get some time. Beginning of the cycle is ideal and we have some very capable options who need experience.

        • Ronniet says:

          Josh, stop it! When has LD ever stirred up trouble???? You usually have insightful and interesting perspectives with your post but this one is reaching and smells of straight up hate! It may not be exactly the same but it’s similar to what Landon did in that he’s putting the MNT on the back burner for right now because he’s tired and wants to spend more time with his family, which is what LD did! This summer’s Gold Cup is the important one, so in essence he’s leaving the USMNT behind when they’ll need all of their top players!

          • Mike says:

            And they will have their top players sans Howard. I am not worried in the least of having Guzan between the posts. Remember, won it 2 years ago with Rimando in net. We’ll be fine, well deserved break.

          • Josh D says:

            1. It was widely reported that Donovan’s presence would have cause a disruption. Also, Donovan’s constant comments about how weak he was, how unable he was to train day-in-and-out at the pace Klinsi set for the team causes disruptions. Finally, Donovan’s comments about the team during the World Cup were a distraction.

            2. This Gold Cup isn’t anymore important than the next because the new rules say the winners of both face off against each other for a place in the Confederations Cup.

            3. Thanks for the initial complement :)

            • Pete says:

              How Is this for a compliment . You are a joke!!!!!!!!!!!!!

              • Anthony says:

                Pretty insight there, Pete! I love how all the winners on this board can hide behind their screens and say whatever they want without repercussions.

        • Bo says:

          I think I lost brain cells after reading this. The LD hate is strong in you. LD is 1,000,000 the man you are.

        • Jordy says:

          Boom! Owned.

        • JAC50 says:

          I’m with ‘texas on this one . Relationship with club is irrelevant. This is about the USNMT. As to the mental stuff and stirring up trouble, I’ve not heard about this, but I do believe even if it exists, it did not hurt either the team’s performance or LD’s. Finally, Howard is leaving the Nats just like LD did, only for longer. He should be consistent in handling TH, with what he did with LD.
          I don’t think he will be.

          • Anthony says:

            It is different in that LD left during qualification when he was needed without any timeline if or when he was coming back. TH is leaving with a firm deadline for return, stated that he knows he has to win his position back and is not leaving during a critical qualification period.

            That being said, I am a LD fan. I have never heard that he was disruptive to the team. I actually think a lot of his teammates like him a lot. So…I don’t buy that. HOWEVER, this is not the LD of 4 years ago. He complained of not being able to do it 7 days in a row. He is not as good as he was against international level competition, and his heart was not in it (which is ok because he was burned out) so I would not have started him during WC, but I would have brought him off the bench (over Brad Davis). Additionally, his comments and behavior after being left off created a slightly bad taste in my month, so you don’t know how he would have reacted not playing during the world cup or only playing 2 games.

          • Diego's Maradoughnuts says:

            Ha. Here is what you are not getting:
            You guys are waiting around to see “What does Klinsmann do now that TH has ambushed him by declaring a break?!?”

            At this point, you’ve already missed the point. This is what Donovan did… Howard did the opposite. No ambush. Nothing unilateral. For all you know, the break may well have been JK’s idea (as opposed to outright retirement). Who knows? The answer: THEY DO! They had extensive discussions about it. Take a lesson.

        • Adam M. says:

          After Robin Williams, can we all just agree to lay off people when they need a mental break? Enough is enough already with this attack.

          • Paul says:

            That is a poor and, no offense, an ignorant analogy. Depression is mental state caused by an actual chemical imbalance. Sometimes results in anxiety ridden individuals or bi-polar personalities (in some cases). That is completely different from fatigue.

            • Adam M. says:

              Apt reference, and I am not in the least bit ignorant on the subject. Are you diagnosing Landon Donovan? I don’t believe he has released his medical records. My simple point is that mental issues can be just as serious as physical issues, sometimes more so, we shouldn’t berate people when they need to take a mental break, and we have no reason to believe that Donovan was being less than sincere in his public reasoning. Much of the negative reaction to Donovan’s break was (and is) disgusting and its time folks dropped it. Would you insist that he release his medical records publicly so we can all judge his decision? I sure hope not.

            • foooo says:

              Need to be careful here. Chemical imbalance has never been proven as the cause of depression. It was actually sold as a fact by Eli Lilly to sell Prozac.
              Research has shown that there is no correlation between low serotonin and depression.
              Now back to soccer.

        • solles says:

          youre gonna need to find a new straw man soon Josh

        • keithbabs79 says:

          Hard to be insightful when you are extremely bias. The answer to your first two questions are actually ‘yes’. The situations are identical. Howard will have to earn his spot back just like LD. The end result will depend on how Howard handles competition for the #1 spot once he returns. That’s the key factor in making these two situations different.

        • beachbum says:

          where do you get this BS Josh? seriously, I’d like to buy you a beer a teach some things grasshopper

        • Sister Act says:

          Lol no. Howard has only repped in two WCs and two Gold Cups, since 07 as a starter. Compare that to Landon’s resume and a year off for Landon seems pretty well deserved and even more appropriate now so with Howard and Kinsman’s comments

          I pray Jurgen’s kid never sees a senior men’s nats shirt

          • Anthony says:

            ah…no! TH has repped the US since ’02 (he has 14 appearances) and was on the ’06/’10/’14 World Cups and he was on the ’07/’09/’11 Gold Cup teams. Listen, if you are going to spew your hatred here, please try not to be so clueless as to use incorrect facts. But hey, for you to carry this much hate and take it personally, you must have a really sad and empty life…

    • Philip Pirrip says:

      Sigh.

      Not the same situation AT ALL. Not even close.

      • Ryan in NYC by way of NC says:

        “Not even close.” – How so?

      • Jay says:

        Exactly not even the same. First he still playing for a possible champions league team, and he is still of the best keepers in the epl. While Landon still is one of the best players in mls he doesn’t get the breaks Tim gets because Everton v Galaxy is not even comparable. Besides Tim gave everything for country every year with no breaks. He has earned his leave and he did it after giving his all at the world cup.

        • Ronniet says:

          Hate to say his because I respect everyone’s opinions but you sound moronic and here is why….Landon never took a break to my knowledge, in all of his years playing professionally going from team to team domestically, with his loans abroad and definitely not with national team, so to infer that because TH has played abroad his whole career that he deserves some kind of break that no one else deserves is short sighted and just wrong! I’d rather you just come out and say that you despise LD thus your silly comment to prove it!

          • Kev says:

            Dude, Donovan did literally take a break from soccer – club and country in 2013. In my mind, playing for country is certainly a privilege, an honor, and should not be taken for granted. But the fact is these guys get burnt out by essentially playing for two teams all year round. I understand taking a break from country. But from your employer – LA Galaxy? That is a different story. That is taking things for granted. Last time I checked, if i told my employer that I am taking time off for a while to go to Cambodia, I would not be asked back.

            Howard and Donovan are two entirely different stories.

          • Jordy says:

            What are you talking about? Did you miss Donovan’s multiple month break when he went to Cambodia?

        • solles says:

          so landon didnt earn a break then?

          • Benjani Appleseed says:

            You’ve earned a break when the boss signs off on it. Otherwise you’ve just walked off the job and are waiting to be re-hired.

        • keithbabs79 says:

          Hmm, earning leave versus taking leave. Yes, totally not the same. AT ALL! And l’ll explain why: It’s different when you earn it. Because when you earn it, you’re simply leaving the team. But when you take leave, ohhh man, than you’re leaving the team. And it’s also about the timing. This is critical. When you’re qualifying for the world cup, and you leave the team, than you’re leaving the team. But right now, when games aren’t as important, you’re simply leaving the team. See, totally different.

    • slowleftarm says:

      Of course not, JK has different rules for everybody.

      • P says:

        This is one of the worst arguments about man management possible. What leader does not have favorites based on their personality, reliability, commitment, consistency, integrity – essentially their past performance and demonstrated character? Without even talking about LD and Howard specifically you can consider everyday life where you don’t just keep treating everybody the same because that is “fair.” That is a good way to continue getting mediocre work from employees, shoddy service from repairmen, overpaying on purchases, etc etc.

        If you don’t have different “rules” for your different relationships you’re a fool.

      • slowleftarm says:

        I’m continually surprised by the personal attacks on LD. Not sure why, but this is another silly example.

        • GW says:

          “I’m continually surprised by the personal attacks on LD.”

          The attack is on you, not LD

        • P says:

          I’m never surprised by lazy thinking in online commenting…

          Notice I specifically said that you don’t even have to consider LD or Howard to understand that your implied critique of JK, for having different rules for different players under his leadership, is simply not consistent with reality.

    • Luke says:

      Why would he? Landycakes left the team hanging in the most pivotal part of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup, the Hexagonal. Howard’s hiatus is perfectly timed so as not to miss ant qualifying matches if he decides to come back.

    • JJJ says:

      Howard is only missing friendlies. He is not missing World Cup qualifiers. Bog difference in the timing.

    • petro4ever says:

      Not really the same situation. Howard has timed his break to fall at a time when the team isn’t going through World Cup Qualifying. The only major tournament he will miss is the 2015 Gold Cup and since we won in 2013, the worst case scenario if we lose is a playoff for the 2017 Confed Cup. The pecking order at goalkeeper is also fully established and it is clear that Howard has at least 2 competent potential replacements ready to take over the job. Finally, Howard (unlike Donovan) isn’t taking time off from soccer entirely, just playing for the National Team, so should he decide to come back to the team in a year there shouldn’t be lingering fitness/match readiness concerns (a major factor in why Donovan wasn’t brought back right away after his “sabbatical”).

      I don’t begrudge Donovan for taking time off if his body and mind weren’t fully into it, but the reality is his break was pretty poorly-timed from U.S. Soccer’s perspective: He missed part of qualifying, the coaching staff was still figuring out its rotation, and at the time that he left, he represented a major part of our offense. Donovan have every right to take some time off, but it put the team in a bad spot and the team was forced to move on without him.

      All that said, honestly if Guzan and Rimando establish themselves as 1/2 on the goalkeeper depth chart and Sean Johnson or Hamid or another young keeper performs consistently at the club level, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Klinsmann cuts Howard and never looks back. So the short answer is that he’ll probably treat Timmy exactly the same way he treated Landon. Them’s the breaks…

      • Diego's Maradoughnuts says:

        Good points. Many seem to be forgetting that Tim Howard is not getting any younger, and may well start facing serious competition for his place at Everton soon. If he somehow loses his place there, he may well lose his starting place for the USMNT (count me among those who suspect this may be Howard’s last year with Everton. in which he may be seeking a move).

        He has talked to Klinsmann extensively and worked with him to understand how this will play out (LD did not and made his decision unilaterally). But it will be Guzan’s chance to shine and if he does so Timmy may well find himself waiting for an opening. It sounds like he gets this.

        I like the decision. Good for Tim Howard, a US legend no matter where things go from here.

        • Paul says:

          Agree with you on all points except this might TH’s last year at Everton. He has a contract with Everton through 2018, and he has consistently said that is his club and doesn’t see playing for another club ever or coming back to the MLS. He’ll be 39 when the contract ends, and I truly believe he will move on to broadcasting full-time, which is does part time now.

          As far as his break, you are right. It is night and day. His timing is better and he did not make the decision unilaterally.

          • Paul says:

            *plus he is still playing for Everton. LD made a unilateral decision (did not talk to JK), LD also took off at the wrong time. I respect LD, and I do not begrudge anyone for talking time off, but I really do not see how people cannot see that he left the team in bind.

          • Diego's Maradoughnuts says:

            No disagreements really– Certainly it’s a matter of opinion about Everton… a contract really means little for top European players other than to set the market.

            It guarantees TH a nice salary and a solid negotiating position in a transfer, but not a starting position. and I promise Everton do not plan on keeping TH on as an automatic choice until he is 39 and then seeing what happens.

            I get the sense that TH is not ready to go on the Brad Friedel plan just yet (he isn’t Brad’s age, of course). He wants to play, not be a backup or mentor to Robles, etc.

    • skyman says:

      He’s not taking a break from WC qualifying, settle down

    • ATXsportsguy says:

      If Tim Howard is back before the next WC qualifier (which is so far in the future it hasn’t even been scheduled) then the situations aren’t even remotely comparable. If you had any concept of timing you would know this. You are now excused to go make out with your LD drinking fountain poster.

      • Anthony says:

        Completely agree. It’s mind-boggling that people cannot see the difference. Plus LD stopped playing. TH is still going to be playing high-level soccer. He is taking off when it does not really matter. LD took off when it REALLY, REALLY matter.

    • Ali Dia says:

      Doubtful, because Timmy has not treated JK the same way. Howard has done the one thing LD should have done if he needed a break, which is include Klinsmann heavily in the conversation, so that everybody had some buy-in on the eventual decision. I wanted to see LD go to the WC but he could really have helped himself out a lot by simply doing what Howard has done.

      Tim has clearly gone to JK and said “Listen coach, I desperately need a break and am considering retirement… what do you think?” and has gotten copius feedback about when the USMNT might be able to live without him, what JK’s views on the GK depth chart are, and what the consequences of returning might be. LD seems to have simply said, “I’m going away now, you can call me at this number after this date”. Bad form, and almost absurd when dealing with a new boss. Would you do this?

      I think it’s possible that Tim really is gone. He may discover after one year that he is taxing himself to heavily, and/or that Guzan (or even somebody else) has put a death-grip on the position. I’m think it’s highly unlikley he will simply be handed the position back, unless everybody else has been totoally terrible (again, unlikely). He’ll have to earn it and he knows that, I’m sure.

      Howard is a fantastic keeper and obviously a true US Legend. I hope to see him again, but if we do not, it’s a massive congratulations and thank you from me, and obviously I wish similar success who whomever inherits the Superman cape next in the US goal.

  3. MIdwest Ref says:

    Good for Tim. While I think he is an elite keeper, he is usually not mentioned in the discussion with Neuer, Courtious and others (whose names I cannot spell). Maybe the “time off” will also give him the ability to concentrate only on his club team Everton and improve his status among the Euro critics.

    Second point, how will JK treat this sabbatical after Landon Donovan’s time away?

    • MS says:

      1) He’s taking time off of the USMNT, not soccer, so, no, this not a sabbatical.

      2) If Timmy is playing at a high level in the EPL, as opposed to a low level in MLS, I would imagine he will treat Howard accordingly.

      • MIdwest Ref says:

        So what is Tim going to do next summer when the EPL is on break?

        LD started talking about a break before the MLS play-offs in 2012. LD didn’t miss any games. He played in the MLS Cup on 12/1/12. He returned to training with the Galaxy on 3/25/13. link to espnfc.com

        The only distinction in my book is the Hex started on 2/6/13 and 2015 is a gold cup year. .

        I am not an LD apologist, I just wonder how JK will treat Timmy’s absence, because I don’t think it is clear and simple.

        • Diego's Maradoughnuts says:

          The important thing is that JK and Howard actually DO have an idea how this will go down, even if we don’t, because they spoke extensively about it before the decision was made. This is the critical difference.

      • MIdwest Ref says:

        You can also state a huge difference on the physical toll between being a field player and a keeper. I am not saying that the keeper is not a physical position, but you cannot tell me that a keeper has the same wear and tear on his legs from in game runining and training as a midfielder.

        • Broadsthooligans says:

          As much as I want to agree with the logic there, I’ve never played on a team where the keeper wasn’t the most injured player. He’s the only one to get kicked in the face stomach and everywhere else and he’s not able to prepare for impact like field players. Every attack hits the keeper the hardest.

  4. "The TX 2 Stepper" says:

    This is probably the end of the USMNT and Timmy but I’m glad it’s happening this way.

    TH – I need a break
    JK – Please do and come back ready to compete

    I wish this narrative would have been clear with LD so all the BS would not have come up before the cup. Good management is learning from past failures and doing differently earning respect and loyalty along the way.

    • GW says:

      JK said more or less the same thing to LD when he took his break as he said to Timmy just now.

      JK , if we believe Timmy, is very clear to the players.

      LD may have read it another way but from what I saw the communication failure was on LD’s side. JK was clear early on that he was okay with going to Brazil w/o LD and it was up to LD to make his case.

      I’m not sure LD ever understood that.

      • Bo says:

        Say hi to your dad for us.

        • Anthony says:

          Grow up! LD and TH situations are night and day. TH has talked extensively with JK before the decision and LD did not do that. TH is still playing at a high level with Everton. LD was chilling on the beach in southeast Asia. Finally, LD’s was critical and horrible because it was during a critical qualification run. TH absence is great because it is a year before a meaningless Gold Cup. US won the 2013 Gold Cup so they can at least force the 2013/2015 playoff for the 2017 Confederations cup.

      • benjani appleseed says:

        Exactly correct. Landon awarded himself a break.

        • solles says:

          …and now so has Howard.,

          • Diego's Maradoughnuts says:

            Nope… he had a extensive conversations with Klinsmann and they made a decsion… think about it– how do you know the break wasn’t Klinsmann’s idea (rather than retirement)?

  5. MMV says:

    Good for Timmy! He’s earned a little break. We are in good hands. There is nothing wrong with concentrating and shifting your focus to your club and most importantly your family. Plus, if he’s bored he can always pick up a few more shifts here and there with NBC Sports.

    • Benjamin C. says:

      I would say Timmy having a career after his playing days are done is as good a bet as anything in sports right now.

  6. Philip Pirrip says:

    This choice by Tim Howard and Landon Donovan’s sabbatical are completely different.

    – Tim has coordinated this with both Jurgen Klinsmann and Roberto Martinez.
    – Tim is continuing to play club football.
    – Tim has communicated a specific duration for this break from the national team.

    – Landon did not seem to coordinate any of his sabbatical with JK, or the LA Galaxy (from what I remember). He just informed them that it was happening.
    – Landon did not play AT ALL
    – Landon’s sabbatical was completely open ended. No one knew when he might come back.

    • Josh D says:

      This.

      • Creige says:

        …is crap. They also spell their names differently and Timmy has a beard. It’s fundamentally the same thing. Only Donovan wasn’t allowed to earn his place back despite being the MVP of the Gold Cup.

        • homerica7 says:

          Not even close fundamentally. There is a big difference between playing NO soccer like Landon, and continuing to play club soccer like Tim Howard. Between missing qualifiers and missing friendlies and a B/C team Gold Cup.

          And it sounds like JK was pretty clear with Timmy. He will get a chance to come back, but if Guzan is better, then he will go with Guzan.

          Landon had his chance to earn his place, he played in the Gold Cup and he made the 30 member WC provisional squad. He was given plenty of chances.

          • Creige says:

            Two words: Timmy Chandler who turned down call ups and was altogether awful when he did play. Landon definitely earned his spot being the best player in the Gold Cup over the likes of Zusi for one. Scored against Mexico in qualifying. I’m not sure what more he could do.

            • Anthony says:

              OMG! Stop apologizing for LD. The two situations are completely different. I like LD, but he left the team in a bind. TH has talked extensively (as he noted) with JK before the decision, but LD did not do that. TH has a specific time-period, LD break was open-ended. LD’s absence was horrible because it was during a critical qualification run. LD was not still playing while TH is, so he was rusty when he returned.

              Honestly, it is black and white. Listen, I defend LD because I think he is the most accomplished USMNT (and most talented) the US has produced so far. That being said, as someone who has manage people and also answers to people in a professional setting, acting like TH is OK, but acting like LD did would get you reprimanded is not fired. If I am the best employee my firm has ever had and put in a lot of time and decided to take an open-ended time off during a critical period without talking to my senior partner, I would be reprimanded. TH put in the same amount of time, but talked to the senior partner. It is professionalism in that sense. Not completely the same, but I hope you see where I am going.

            • Seriously Dude says:

              Scoring a soliatry insurance goal against Mexico? Oh I assure you, there’s more he could do. Of course, you can’t do much when you’re in Cambodia, can you?

    • CG says:

      Each man removed himself form the game in part or in full for personal reasons (second time for emphasis: for personal reasons) and for a finite period of time. Who are you and I to say what is different and what is similar?

      Some support LD, some don’t. Meh.

      • Philip Pirrip says:

        Differences that are not debatable:

        – LD completely left the game. TH will still play club football
        – When LD left there was not a specific amount of time that he had told the USMNT and Galaxy he would be gone. TH has specified that he will not play for the USMNT for 1 year.

        • CG says:

          What difference do those differences make?

          Most of Donovan’s sabbatical took place in the offseason. He missed three of the Galaxy’s games that year. Hardly as if he didn’t play club ball.

          So he didn’t handle his conversations with the coaches well (in your expert opinion). You say that’s not debatable… OK, I guess.

          Again, what difference does it make? At the end of the day LD made a decision about his life and the weight of the expectation he had been carrying for years. It’s his call, man. Just like it’s yours not to like him. So what?

          Some people like, have rooted for, will continue to root for, and are grateful for all that LD has done for the game in the US. Accept it. Get over it. Move on. You won’t prove them wrong any more than they will you.

          TH wants to spend more time with his family. What a friggin’ softy. I can’t believe that man even calls himself a warrior.

          • KingGoogleyEye says:

            Sorry, CG, but when you write “meh” in one of your comments, then that’s the only comment you’re allowed to make. Might seem harsh, but them’s the rules.

          • Maykol says:

            Lol what? Based on just his comments, you cant say he dosent like Donovan, hes just pointing out the differences in his and Howard’s situation. And

            “Some people like, have rooted for, will continue to root for, and are grateful for all that LD has done for the game in the US. Accept it. Get over it. Move on. You won’t prove them wrong any more than they will you.”

            Oh my god lol come on, i guarantee you his goal with the comment was not to get people to say Landon Donovan is a bad guy.

        • KingGoogleyEye says:

          Also:

          LD: I’m taking a break because I don’t know if I have the desire to play the game anymore.

          TH: I’m taking a break to care for my kids.

      • James says:

        What are you talking about? How on earth is Tim Horward “removing himself from the game”? He’s still grinding it out in the EPL every week.

        “Who are you and I to say what is different and what is similar” – There are objective differences between the two that require zero interpretation. TH is not leaving soccer, he’s leaving the NT (hopefully temporarily). Donovan left all soccer, not just the NT.

      • Luke says:

        Landon left the team with the most important part of WC2014 Qualification, the Hexagonal.

        Timmy is taking a year break from friendlies and the Gold Cup.

        You really can’t see the difference…?

        • CG says:

          Not my argument. I’m asking what difference it makes?

          Look, there wasn’t anyone more disappointed to see LD out of the game and struggling mentally than the FANS OF LD. It’s easy for us to sit here and say this or say that, but we act as if we know what it’s like to be LD or Howard or Lebron James. We don’t. No single player has impacted the game in their time here more than LD. That’s my opinion and you can argue against it, but you certainly can’t have that argument without him as a candidate in the discussion. That takes a toll on people in different ways.

          I’ve got no beef with what TH is doing. Love it. Did the same thing with my family albeit a totally different occupation. I had no beef with what LD did either.

          That man does not owe me a thing. Nothing. Zip, zilch, nada. I love rooting for him. Think he’s a fantastic player and really wish the petty crap between him and JK could have been put aside for him to be in Brazil, but such is life. He made his call. JK made his.

          What is the point in the anti-LD sentiment? That’s what I don’t get?

          I see differences, yes. I just don’t see why they are a big deal. I think Donovan was treated unfairly, but that wasn’t my call and I don’t have all of the inside info that JK and LD had together, so I moved on. I don’t think TH should be eliminated from the USMNT either, but that’s not my call. We’ll see what JK decides.

          • KingGoogleyEye says:

            CG, thanks for clarifying your point. I don’t see the anti-LD sentiment in the comments that you see, but I can at least understand your comments better now.

            • CG says:

              Another fair point. I’m not sure where that bias comes from to be honest. There was a time when I didn’t really care too much for LD, so why I feel the need to respond on his behalf is not totally clear to me.

              I do really, really hate though the dismissal of mental health in his case as some sort of manly deficiency. Maybe that’s why the circumstantial arguments about his sabbatical that ignore that piece irk me. I have no doubt that if Donovan could have chosen not to be burned out at all (or burned out at a less critical time) he would have. The brave thing to do was to leave. Not the opposite.

              • GW says:

                Mr. G,

                Donovan might have been better served if he had taken his break at a better time for everyone else concerned.

                However, with these things you take them when you finally have to, so I don’t believe he had a lot of choice in the timing.

                The timing messed up a lot of people and for that LD was always going to pay because a guy like him has a lot of people relying on him and he let them down when they needed him. So if it upset a lot of people that is understandable. That is what happens. The sabbatical was necessary and had to be for Donovan’s well being but to expect LD to not suffer the consequences is unrealistic and insane.

                As for the USMNT, his time away from them at such a critical juncture meant they had to move on so they did.

                After that happened, LD never made a convincing case for why folding him back into the A team picture was better than what JK had planned.

                LD’s many violent supporters wanted JK to find a way because they wanted to see LD in Brazil as did I, but in the end I don’t really think LD’s heart was in it. I would characterize his attempts at re-integrating into the team as half-hearted, same old, same old.
                You’d have to ask JK why he did not go out of his way to re-integrate LD but in my view, once you move on, it’s hard to double back especially when LD wasn’t exactly making the greatest case for himself.

                And because so much of the argument FOR LD relied on expecting a guy who wasn’t really sure he wanted to be there to decide he wanted to be there and then defy all logic and come up with a rolling back the years performance. He had not done anything like that in some time.
                Ironically the late game spark LD was being counted on by his fans to produce came from the much maligned Brooks, the much maligned fake American Green and the much underrated Yedlin, a defender of all things. Those guys might never have gotten a chance to shine had LD around and who knows if LD would have done better than they did?

                So now, for example, Deandre appears to have a bright future ahead of him and who knows if that happens if LD is in Brazil? One door closes and another door opens.

                In the end Donovan did the right thing taking the break because it was the right thing for him to do for himself. Maybe he will be happier in the long run with the way things turned out but time will tell.

                In the meantime JK haters will always find something else to criticise him for so everyone should behappy.

            • CG says:

              one more thing about the argument itself to clarify… the personal decision was meant to be my point all along. I don’t think TH or LD made the decisions they made for soccer reasons. They made them for personal reasons, so to argue using playing reasons didn’t make sense to me.

              That being said, downintexas simply asked about how JK would respond and JK’s job is related to playing reasons, so perhaps I was out of line to begin with. If so, I apologize on record to Phillip.

              Also for the record, over easy >>> over hard, especially between two pieces of toast and a slice a cheese.

              • KingGoogleyEye says:

                CG, that’s all well said. I think that you’re right, for the most part, that JK shouldn’t consider personal reasons; it’s not his job.

                There is some gray area though, because soccer performance has a large psychological aspect to it. A coach has to ask—guess, really—about a player’s mentality: Is his mind in it? Thus, a player’s personal reasons for playing, resting, semi-retiring, transferring, etc. are all relevant to the coach’s decisions.

                P.S. Over hard is a tragedy.

              • Ali Dia says:

                Over medium, boys. Catch the fever.

              • KingGoogleyEye says:

                Ali Dia, you disgust me.

                ;)

              • Ali Dia says:

                Oh Googs… if you tell us how to do the bold lettering trick you sometimes use, I will make sure to tell you how to realize the glory of over-medium properly, and you will never go back.

              • KingGoogleyEye says:

                the bold lettering trick

                It’s not a trick, it just comes naturally.

              • Ali Dia says:

                Oh dear…. and was that a footnote I saw elsewhere?!?

                Hey Ives!!! Get in here please… KGE is cheating!

          • eric lane says:

            Excellent points and you’re correct on the anti LD stuff but I think it shows the growth of the MLS IMHO. A lot of the haters, not all, have disdain for him because of what he’s done against their team in the league. Just like Lakers fans hate on Lebron. I think its healthy competition. If all of our national team players played in other leagues, I don’t think there’d be as much animosity.

        • Ronniet says:

          People were for a long time so caught up in how we were going to replace LD when he left the game so his absence from those couple of games in the hexagonal gave others a chance to be that player and we actually didn’t need LD if you look at the results and the impending comments from many saying as much! For people to say LD has a soft attitude and didn’t try hard enough to make it abroad thus this deep hatred, is silly and petty! Yeah, he may have been soft and comfortable with the LA life but you can never question the heart and work he put in with the MNT(and Everton by the way) his whole career and leadership role he took in growing the game domestically! I think it’s a shame that people try to diminish everything he’s done for the sport and our NT because he didn’t play out his career the way OTHERS saw fit!

          • GW says:

            “I think it’s a shame that people try to diminish everything he’s done for the sport and our NT because he didn’t play out his career the way OTHERS saw fit!”

            Yet you try to diminish JK for running the USMNT , his job by the way, the way he sees fit.

            Very hippo-critical of you, Ronniet. I know hippos kill a lot of people in Africa but still.

            • beachbum says:

              nothing diminished for JK…he didn’t take one of if not the most talented players in the pool on a team lacking talent for his own personal reasons, and it cost us!

              he held a grudge like a teenager would, and made a horrible decision, and the only guy who would have had a problem with LD in the locker room would have been Jurgen’s ego

              • GW says:

                What grudge?

                Explain that grudge for us please and what it was about and then maybe you can make some sense.

                JK may not think much of LD personally and he may have a lower opinion of his ability than you do but that does not mean he has a grudge.

      • KingGoogleyEye says:

        “Who are you and I to say what is different and what is similar?”

        Right. And by that logic, this move by Tim Howard should remind you of:

        – Michael Jordan retiring from basketball
        – Carlos Vela refusing to play for Mexico
        – Oprah retiring from television
        – Elle Driver beating up Bride
        – Suarez biting Chiellini
        – fried eggs that were supposed to be over easy but ended up with cooked yolks

        Any supposed differences are not debatable.

        • GW says:

          Elle Driver did not beat up the Bride.

          The only definite assailant on the Bride’s person during the massacre was BIll who shot her in the head. She was also beaten and wounded in other areas but it was never made clear who did that.

          Elle most likely would have poisoned her, and tried to do so as her “nurse” before Bill called her off, if she had had a chance.

          Another thing left unclear by the movie is what happened to the now eyeless Elle.

          Perhaps the Black Mamba, the real one who killed Bud, killed her but we don’t really know.

          Or maybe she now works for Landon.

          • KingGoogleyEye says:

            GW,

            Not true. Around 1:07 in Volume 1, Bride has a flashback while eavesdropping on Sophie’s telephone conversation. Elle Driver clearly backhands Bride across the face, sending the pregnant former-assassin backwards to the ground.

            • GW says:

              KGE,

              The Bride went through a lot after her violent separation from Bill’s team.

              Imagine if LD had done to the Deadly Viper Squad what he did to the USMNT?

              The point is can you trust her flashbacks?

              After all being the best assassin and the face of the DVS for such a long time is a lot of pressure.

              She needed the break to have her baby but went about taking it the wrong way. making her decision unilaterally, having any return open ended and leaving Bill hanging with contracts to be filled and w/o his best killer. The extreme lack of communication and selfishness was very unprofessional.

              I’m sure that if Elle, a much more professional and politically aware employee had a similar situation she would have had extensive talks with Bill leading to a much better outcome for her than a bullet to the head. It is all about communication.

              • KingGoogleyEye says:

                GW,

                The entire story is told by Beatrix; if you can’t trust her flashbacks, then there is little else you can trust.

                If we could hear the story from the others involved then we might have a better picture, but they’re not talking anymore. (Well, not yet: Tarantino hinted that Elle survived and, should a sequel be made, would be seen helping Sophie to train Vernita’s daughter for revenge.)

                But we could imagine the other Deadly Vipers telling a different story—one where Bill is tough but fair, harsh but straightforward. One where Budd and O-Ren peacefully negotiated their retirements. One where Bill brings out the best in others, uses his connections to help his students land prestigious training gigs with the world’s top martial artists, and takes smart risks with young, untested talent. One where Beatrix grew complacent and proud after being the favorite for so long and thought she could get away with anything.

                As for Elle making a different decision: we can’t know. Up until her pregnancy test, Beatrix was every bit as professional and aware as Elle—probably more so (she did not, for example, make the stupid mistake of angering Pai Mei). But seeing that blue strip changed her immediately. It wasn’t just a break to have her baby, it was a break to keep her baby away from Bill.

              • GW says:

                KGE,

                Flashbacks in movies are always unreliable because they show you what the person believes happened. The Bride is not Commander Data and her flashbacks are not actual video recordings that can be submitted in court as evidence. Taking them as a literal recording of actual events is always a matter of faith.

                For example, why should anyone trust Elle’s account of how it went down with Pai Mei? The master of the greatest assassins and murderers of our time lets Elle get the drop on him so easily?

                Hard to buy that; unless Pai Mei was meant to serve as an example of what happens to those who have been on top for so long they get complacent and entitled and assume they are better than everyone else and don’t need to prove themselves to anyone anymore.

                Pai Mei was stupid to let Elle poison him.

    • James says:

      Yea, I agree 100% (although it’s ok to call it “soccer” – no one will think less of you). Those who are still bitter about LD omission will try to equivocate the two, but really they’re entirely separate situations, as you detail. (For the record, I was disappointed with LD’s omission, but its time to move on)

    • Brain Guy says:

      This kind of cogent, logical thinking is sure to get you into trouble here.

    • ATXsportsguy says:

      Thank God there’s at least one soul capable of reason. PP nailed it with this comment.
      +infinity landy cakes

    • beachbum says:

      LD coordinated with the Galaxy, who btw supported him all the way.

  7. SBI TroII says:

    Bradley Guzan, next man up.

  8. Todd says:

    Dark house to replace Timmy Howard is Bill Hamid, who is playing lights out this year for DC United. Hamid is a beast.

    • josh says:

      Beast yes, but nowhere near ready. Still has an average of 1-2 shaky decisions every game I have seen. He makes some of the greatest saves I have seen, especially 1v1, but he still needs to tighten up his positioning and improve his decision making. Guzan is light-years ahead of him on those fronts, and makes some pretty crazy saves of his own.

    • Tom_in_So_IL says:

      I think Hamid would be perfect to replace Howard at Everton.

  9. Strider257 says:

    A well-deserved rest for a faithful servant. Hopefully, Timmy recharges his batteries a bit and comes back strong late next year. This will also be a good opportunity for Brad, and perhaps others, to show what they can do for the team.

  10. AC says:

    Well earned. Hopefully, the other goalkeepers keep up the great work. Luckily, there’s a good group.

  11. Matt says:

    So its well deserved for Howard but not Donovan? Give me a freaking break. Both players are removing themselves from soccer for personal reason. Everton Vs LA Galaxy? Do we forget that Donovan was on loan in the EPL EVERY CHANCE HE HAD in the past 4 years?

    My god are people on this site hippo-critical. Donovan has done more for this team than Howards, and thats a fact. Howards 2nd in Guzan is not much of a drop off but we saw that happens when you try to replace donovon with a Wondo or Green or Davis etc.

    • wfrw07 says:

      One did it three months before the Hex, and wasn’t back for it, one did it about 21 months before World Cup qualifying starts, with a clear indication to come back well before it starts.

      • beachbum says:

        still personal reasons, and LD came back, got INVITED to play by Jurgen the Great, and played great for the USMNT…and Jurgen held his petty grudge anyway

    • James says:

      How are you ignoring that Tim Howard is still playing at the highest level every single week, while LD left the game entirely during his sabbatical?

      • Matt says:

        Howard wasn’t playing near as much as LD during the past 4 years. Howard never went on Loan, LD always did. That makes a HUGE difference in psychological health

        • Luke says:

          What are you talking about!?!? In the 2009-10 season, in MLS, Cup competitions and his loan to Everton, LD played in 42 games. Howard that same year played in 51 games.

        • James says:

          I’m not judging (nor does it seem like anyone else is) the merit of either taking a break. Personally, I didn’t have a problem with LD’s sabbatical, like you say, he had been playing non-stop for a couple years.

          The point is that they’re different situations, and trying to say they’re the same is disingenuous, at best.

        • KingGoogleyEye says:

          Why would a top-flight keeper go on loan? You’re really stretching here, Matt.

          • Matt says:

            No im not. Im talking about actual time spent playing. In terms of time alone, and LD has a significant amount more than Howards over the same period of years due to the loans. This is in no way stretching its pure fact.

            • Luke says:

              Wrong again! Howard in his MSL and EPL career has played 513 games to LD’s 448 games played. LD has played more games for the USMNT 156 to 104 for Howard.

    • Del Griffin says:

      Leave those hippos alone!

    • josh says:

      I have never criticized a hippo.

      • GW says:

        hippos are very clear in their decisions.

        They go where they want and do what they want. If you don’t like it and try to do something about it, you will probably wind up dead.

    • Anthony says:

      Where do you see the major slight, Matt? Are you one of those people that see a conspiracy in everything? No one is saying either is wrong for taking some time off. HOWEVER, the two situations are completely different in virtually every manner. I like LD, but the way he did it (timing (during world cup qualifying), unilateral nature (didn’t discuss it with Jurgen like TH did), open ended nature (unlike TH finite 1 year period), fact that TH is still playing VERY high level with Everton vs LD ceasing playing) make it very different. That being said, JK approved it, but still told him that his position upon return in not guaranteed, which Howard seems ok with.

  12. Del Griffin says:

    Doesn’t matter, the torch has been passed anyway.

    Thanks for Belgium Timmy!

  13. GTV says:

    Sorry, but Hamid us overrated. It’s Guzan, Rimando, then probably younger guys in the USMNT system, aka Klinsi jr.

    • Del Griffin says:

      Klinsmann Jr? Are you kidding?

      • Increase0 says:

        Not Even close to bald.

        But seriously, I bet we see Cropper(because it’s in Europe and maybe Hamid.)

    • Anthony says:

      Klinsi Jr??????????? Are you on crack? Hamid is not overrated! You also still have Cody Cropper, Clint Irwin, MacMath, Sean Johnson, Luis Robles,

      Guzan is there, but Rimando will also be phased out over the next couple years (he and howard are the same age)

  14. bryan says:

    Timmy not doing it right before the Hex. not comparable to LD. granted, i didn’t hate on LD for his break either. but total apples and oranges.

    in other news, FJ just assisted on ‘Gladbach’s 3rd goal in their Europe League game.

  15. Alex H says:

    This is a perfect time to take a break. With the new Confed Cup qualification rules the 2015 Gold Cup is no longer a must win so why not step aside and let the youngsters show their stuff? I think that other older players should do the same (or have JK do it for them) and let 2014 and 2015 be for development than then pick the best people for Copa America 2016.

    • AMPhibian says:

      good point, but i think that would create serious chemistry/morale issues.

      • Diego's Maradoughnuts says:

        Only if somebody performs at an extremely high level, and then has the job handed back to Howard without Howard earning it. I don’t see any way this would happen.

  16. beto says:

    well deserved but surprised he doesn’t want to be part of the Gold Cup team.. but doesn’t want to rule out Copa America 2016

    anyways ready for the Brad Guzan 2015 Gold Cup!

    after Howard (1) and Guzan (2) whats the depth chart?
    3. Nick Rimando
    4. Bill Hamid
    5. Steve Clark? Busch? Kennedy? Kronberg? Cropper? Sean Johnson?

  17. Quit Whining About Soccer in the US says:

    Even those that correctly say LD should have been on the World Cup roster have to admit this is a perfect time for a ‘break” ( in quotes, because that may be all for him ).

    If you were to chose a time, wouldn’t this be it ?

  18. argh says:

    JUST RETIRE MAN

    focus on Everton and make that $$$$$$ Your contract ends 2018. Quit the NT and you could probably maintain your talent and focus at Everton until 2020-2022.

    Guzan is an ideal no 1 with Hamid/Johnson/Cropper fighting for the no.2 spot

    • Diego's Maradoughnuts says:

      This actually brings up an interesting point… from the information we have, it would seem entirely possible to me that JK actually talked him into the idea of a one-year break instead of retirement…. can anybody say otherwise?

  19. NATO says:

    when are Hamid or Johnson going to go abroad?

    They seem to have spent too much time in MLS or am I wrong?

    i wanna see them both in Europe in the next 16 months

  20. so who knows says:

    how good is Howard? Compared to Neuer or the Belgian keeper or Cech?

    Is Howard a top 10 keeper or top 20?

    • Increase0 says:

      Top 5 in EPL when on form.

      Keepers are hard to rate but… in relation to other top keepers:

      I say better than Hart and Szczesny as both have extremely questionable decision making on a regular basis. I’m not actually sure they are better at anything really. Example: Joe Hart had a 50% save rate during the WC.(I think out of 8 shots on target. Howard had 81.8%)

      De Gea: I can’t tell.
      Courtois: Youth and Talent probably have Courtois ahead.
      Cech: At this point in time, about the same. 3 years ago Cech was better.
      Lloris: Howard is better

    • Maykol says:

      Top 10 is debateable. Goalies who are clear better options though are Navas, Buffon, Diego Lopez, Neur, Sirigu, Weidenfellar, Curtoise. A lot of the other top guys are iffy on whether they are better than Howard or not, hes in my top 15 but not top 10

      • GW says:

        Keepers are very difficult to compare. Their value in almost totally dependent on how they integrate with the team.

        In any given game where Howard keeps a clean sheet I would expect Navas, Buffon, Diego Lopez, Neur, Sirigu, Weidenfellar, Curtoise to also keep a clean sheet.

        And if that happens then who cares who is “better”? It boils down to how a given keeper fits in to the overall scheme and that will vary.

  21. KingGoogleyEye says:

    Exclusive eavesdropping report:

    Timmy: Hey Coach, I’m thinking of taking a break next year from the USMNT. I know that will mean that I miss the Gold Cup….

    Jurgen: You’re not missing anything: I wasn’t going to take you to the Gold Cup anyway.

    • quozzel says:

      That’s kind of my take too.

      I think Jurgen’s going to build up the next wave…call them U-27’s, certainly through the next year. When he sees where the holes are there, I think he’ll re-integrate the older guys on an as-can-contribute basis.

      • Jack says:

        Klinsmann could have used the last Gold Cup to do the same, but instead had Donovan win it for him. If anything the last Gold Cup was the time to do it, this will be others sides A sides.

        • KingGoogleyEye says:

          There’s no “could have,” JK actually did use the last Gold Cup to integrate/test the “U-27s” and backups. The presence of some veterans is what makes it “integration.”

          • Jack says:

            You mean like Herc, Wondo, LD, Beasley, Rimando, Beckerman, Oguchi, Goodson, Parkhurst, Holden. Sure I guess they were backups but that many would have made the U27 cut.

            • KingGoogleyEye says:

              Maybe we’re talking past each other, but I don’t see your point.

              • Jack says:

                My point is the team was old. Shea Diskerud and Corona were really the only guys under 25 that played much at all.

              • KingGoogleyEye says:

                Jack, okay I can see what you’re saying.

                The way I see it, the team was a mix of:

                a) USMNT veterans (over 27-yrs old); e.g., Donovan, Herc, Goodson

                b) veteran players (over 27-yrs old) still somewhat new to USMNT; e.g., Beckerman, Wondo

                c) U-27s; i.e., the next two World Cups*

                Of that third group, Corona, Shea, Torres, Mix, Bedoya, and Besler all saw regular minutes—either as starts (e.g., Mix) or as regular subs (e.g., Shea). Beltran and Castillo got starts in the first match, but weren’t used again. (If I remember right, both played rather poorly, but it’s not like JK didn’t try to give them a chance.) Sean Johnson started and played one whole match.

                That’s nine U-27s tested by JK—a pretty solid chunk of the team.

                ___________
                * I realize that in your comment, you referred to “guys under 25.” I’m sticking to age 27 though because a) that agrees with quozzel’s original comment and b) they are still young enough to be expected to play in WC 2014 and 2018.

  22. dude1 says:

    Family time, I’m sure. But Howard also wants to qualify Everton for the Champions League, and probably wants to focus on that goal exclusively. It sounds like a pipe dream, but Liverpool and Manchester United are not guaranteed to be in the top four this year. They’ve got enough talent to challenge.

  23. Fast Eddie says:

    I wonder why U.S.Soccer is saying this about Tim Howard. Also why they said Tim had “extensive conversations” with Klinsmann prior to his new decision.

    It was only a few days after the U.S. lost to Belgium that Howard said he is done with international soccer but he will still play our his contract with Everton (thru 2018) if he remains fit. In saying he was done playing for the usmnt he also said something about how the team was structured which I took as Tim didn’t care so much for it.

    Sounds to me like U.S. Soccer is trying to gloss over it.

    • wfrw07 says:

      After Belgium I seem to remember Howard saying he had made no decision and was going to give it some thought before making a decision.

    • GW says:

      So Eddie, are you saying there is more to the story, some negative take off Timmy’s on JK perhaps, that US soccer is glossing over? What, you think he is waiting and hoping JK gets fired so he can come back and play for Hackworth, the former manager of the Philadelphia Union when he takes over for JK? That way at least you know Adu will never come back to the USMNT.

      Because, every interview I’ve seen and read with Timmy post WC is that he is seriously interested in a media career, then Everton and then the USMNT. Since his media career is directly tied to his playing then I would have rated his post WC priorities thus:

      Everton’s new found respectability
      Media opportunities
      USMNT

      In fact, I don’t expect him to ever play for the USMNT again. Rather than LD the guy to compare this to is Friedel, who retired but said he would come back in an emergency but “only to start, not back up Kasey Keller”. Of course, he never returned. But he could have because up until very recently, I felt Freidel was better than Howard. And if Howard keeps playing at a high level for Everton and he does want to come back for Russia (assuming we are not at war with them) in 2018, that will remain a viable, realistic possibility.

      This is a “soft landing” retirement designed to give all parties an easy way out. I fully expect Guzan to make everyone forget Timmy by the time Howard is “eligible” to come back and I fully expect Timmy’s career to be going so well he won’t want or need to come back.

      The difference between LD’s break and Timmy’s is so huge you’d have to be blind not to see.

      Timmy left all the bases covered. Anyone with an interest in him playing for the USMMNT knows exactly what the situation is. His long term successor, Guzan has been in place for some time and so is the emergency back up ( Rimando) should anything happen to Guzan.
      And there should be a long list of keepers fighting for the third keeper spot.

      Plus this all happens with a lot of time before the World Cup , Copa America, a possible Confederations Cup and the Gold Cup.

      In contrast LD’s break happened when JK was just starting out and had very little time to assemble a team for the Qualifiers. People forget that giving BB that extra year to get fired in the Gold Cup took one year away from JK in terms on prepping for the WC qualifiers. So JK and USMNT were hamstring a bit by LD’s rather badly timed break. And that break was open ended so the USMNT had no idea what to prep for and obviously chose the logical route, prep for life w/o LD and move on.

      My criticism of LD’s break was that it was he should have taken it right after South Africa ( I thought he looked burnt in the games I saw him in immediately after the 2010 WC) and he should have stayed away longer like six months or even a year. In retrospect, perhaps he should have retired for playing all together after the 2010 WC but only he will ever know about that.

      • Fast Eddie says:

        Don’t know GW, I only have my speculations. Timmy did say he was done with the usmnt though and he did say something about the team, he used the word “structure”.

        But I still say Klinsi is a terrible coach (and if anyone would know, it would be Tim Howard) and I think he will not be on the field in Copa 2016. If I am right I would not be surprised to see a lot of “glossing over”.

        And I agree, Tim Howard will not come back, even if Klinsi is “promoted” to more important duties. It’s a good decision on his part.

        • GW says:

          Timmy Howard has never said or hinted anything to the effect that JK was a terrible coach. He has disagreed with him on a number of things but that is not the same as Timmy saying JK is a terrible coach.

          You are grasping at straws there. You want JK fired so what you have to hope for is that the USMNT craps out in Copa America.

          The Gold Cup can be messed up because by winning the 2013 Gold Cup, the US qualified for a playoff match against the champion of the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, to decide which team will represent CONCACAF in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.

          So JK has a little leeway there.

          Don’t you find it a little weird rooting for the USMNT to screw up just because you don’t like the coach? And they would have to really flame out for you to get your wish. I never much cared for Arena, who believes the solid emissions from his posterior are not malodorous but I always rooted for his teams but maybe that is because I loved Frankie Hejduk and Eddie Lewis so I give Arena a pass.

          I think Timmy won’t come back because there is no real incentive to at this time and right now I expect his other career interests won’t wait on him to decide. He is already moving on from just being a player.

          He has a whole range of possibilities opening up for him now and I expect his head to be in another universe by 2018.

          I could be wrong though.

          • Fast Eddie says:

            You are reading much more into what I posted GW. I only stated what Tim Howard said only a few days after the Belgium game. Then I said Klinsi is a bad coach and I don’t believe he will be coaching in 1016.

            I never said I am hoping the usmnt does badly nor did I say Howard ever said anything bad about Klinsman.

            Please, tell me where you got the idea that I am “rooting for the usmnt team to screw up….”.

            • GW says:

              Eddie,

              I don’t read minds. Just to be clear:

              Definition:

              “Imply and infer are opposites, like a throw and a catch. To imply is to hint at something, but to infer is to make an educated guess. The speaker does the implying, and the listener does the inferring.
              To imply is to suggest something indirectly. If you hand your friend a stack of napkins during dinner, you imply that she needs them. Things can imply, too, like a chimney that implies a fireplace.”

              So I am inferring from what you implied in your posts.

              You wrote:

              “But I still say Klinsi is a terrible coach (and if anyone would know, it would be Tim Howard) and I think he will not be on the field in Copa 2016.”

              Reading that it is easy to infer that you believe Howard may have a negative attitude about JK’s coaching abilities.

              JK has stated he wants to coach the USMNT in the 2018 WC. Therefore, he will have to be fired to not be coaching the team in 2016.

              it is easy to infer from what you wrote that you think and hope he will be fired before 2016 and the only realistic hope for that to happen is if the team does badly.

              For you to get what you want, unless JK changes his mind or something unforeseen happens, you have to root against the USMNT.

              You won’t be alone. A lot of JK haters subscribe to the destroying the village in order to save it from the bad guys theory.

              • Fast Eddie says:

                Thank you for the tutorial on infer/imply. Why, I don’t have a clue.
                btw, I don’t believe the presence of a chimney “implies” a fireplace. Maybe “indicate” would be better.

                You claim that the fact that Klinsmann said he wants to coach the USMNT in 2018 means that the only way he will not be coaching in 2016 is if he is fired. Really? Don’t you think there can other ways for this to come about?

                You do remember that in 2006, only a month after the world cup, Klinsmann resigned.

                I do have a question however. Is it possible for one to infer something when there was no implication?

              • GW says:

                Fast Eddie,:

                “I don’t believe the presence of a chimney “implies” a fireplace. Maybe “indicate” would be better.”

                Indicate sounds more apt but the point is chimneys, w/o mentioning them, make you think of fireplaces.

                “You claim that the fact that Klinsmann said he wants to coach the USMNT in 2018 means that the only way he will not be coaching in 2016 is if he is fired. Really? Don’t you think there can other ways for this to come about?”

                Sure. There are any number of tragic events such as JK’s death which would give you want you want. But those ways are mostly unpredictable to most of us at this time. I believe I covered that when I wrote:“unless JK changes his mind or something unforeseen happens”.

                “You do remember that in 2006, only a month after the world cup, Klinsmann resigned.”

                I would refer you to a post below from Paul on that topic. The Germany gig was a one shot deal initially, JK did not even move his family from California. Eight years down the road, the situation is drastically different. JK works in in his hometown, a place where it seems where he and his family are likely to live out their lives.
                I can’t see any other manager job giving him the kind of power and freedom and the kind of challenge he has here.

                The USSF has been very supportive and the USMNT is now about as solid as I have ever seen it. Before JK if Landon was not on the field for a tough, important game I would have rated the team’s chances of getting a result at less than 50/50. Today, in the same situation the USMNT is no longer so dependent on one or two individuals. Everyone wondered how the USMNT was going to get to that point and now they are there.

                In spite of what SBI says, JK is about as secure in his post as is possible for any manager,

                “I do have a question however. Is it possible for one to infer something when there was no implication?”

                Yes. You may not have realized you were implying something or you may not have intended to imply something. However , the inference is drawn from the sentence structure and content of what you wrote ( remember you are not standing there explaining yourself) not from some invisible intent, positive or negative on your part.

                I don’t read minds. I read your sentence as you constructed it and draw from that.

                If you speed down a back country road late at night you may not have intended to hit some kid but if you hit a kid, he is still hit.

  24. jb says:

    This is a gentle farewell. I think Timmy is ready to be done with the USMNT, but wants to leave the door open this cycle in case some kind of nightmare scenario unfolds at the GK position (Guzan has major injury + Rimando retires + everyone else that gets a shot craps the bed) and we desperately need him to compete at the Confed Cup and World Cup.

  25. Large Lion says:

    Name 10 goalkeepers better than Howard.

    Honestly he’s underrated because he plays for Everton. Arguably he could be playing for a bigger club in the CL but he’s so devoted to the Blues

    • GW says:

      “Arguably he could be playing for a bigger club in the CL but he’s so devoted to the Blues”

      Then it doesn’t matter if he is better does it?

  26. Joseph D'Hippolito says:

    To those who think that Donovan abandoned the national team during qualifying to take his break, let me ask you something: Suppose Donovan did play in those qualifiers but was not at 100 per cent, mentally or emotionally. Do you think he would have been an asset or a liability? Donovan knows himself better than anybody else — certainly better than any of you know him — and he probably realized he would be a liability.

    I covered the Galaxy for years and one of the things that Donovan made a point of addressing was the possibility of permanent injury when he publicly discussed the idea before the 2012 MLS Cup. He saw David Beckham try to recover from numerous injuries at super-human pace, only to lose something, in the end. It wouldn’t surprise me if Donovan thought to himself, “I don’t want to end up being a physical wreck before I’m 40.”

    Besides, there’s another reason why Klinsmann did not pick Donovan. Donovan was the only player in the national pool who had played for Klinsmann as a club coach when Donovan was on loan to Bayern Munich. Donovan saw firsthand all the nonsense that Phillip Lahm wrote about in his autobiography — the excessive emphasis on training, the lack of sophisticated technical analysis, the loss of respect that quickly permeated the locker room — and Klinsmann knew it. Cutting Donovan was tantamount to the Mafia burying a body before the feds could find out.

    Klinsmann is such a phony that it’s disgusting. He told Sunil Gulati that the didn’t want to play in MLS because he didn’t want to risk cross-country flying (which means that Robbie Keane, Thiery Henry, Tim Cahill, Roberto Donadoni and even Lothar Mattaeus were tougher than Klinsmann). He quit his job as Germany’s coach within days of the 2006 World Cup because of “burnout” and the need to spend time with his family.

    As far as Howard goes, let’s not forget that if Howard made only half of the saves he did against Belgium (which, by any measure, would be an abnormally high number for a goalkeeper), we would be talking about Klinsmann as the former coach of the national team.

    • Maykol says:

      Yes because only Donovan knows the real Klinsmann, not the other US players who have been working under Klinsmann for THREE years

    • jb says:

      Interesting conspiracy theory. Definitely a lot of holes though. For one thing, pretty much anyone could’ve read the Philip Lahm book and come to these conclusions, so not sure what Donovan having played one brief spell under JK in Germany adds.

      The bigger issue, which no one seems to point out, is how out of form LD appeared leading up to the world cup camp. Maybe he was fighting some nagging injuries, or some other reason for being out of shape, but if you covered the Galaxy then you saw it firsthand. For my part, I would have taken LD anyway, counting on him to round into form. But I can certainly see how, at the time, the other choices looked better so JK took them based on merit. Was he making a point to the other players?, who knows. But here’s the fact: if Donovan had looked like his usual dominant self, there is no way JK leaves him home going into the biggest tourney in 4 yrs, regardless of any ill will.

      • Matt says:

        So you “covered” the Galaxy yet fail to mention the formation and position shift that led directly to Donovan not scoring as often as he should? strange

      • beachbum says:

        not out of form leading up to it, not true.

        more than that, he’s been killing it on the left wing, a position the USMNT struggled with, even though many of the ‘experts’ here said he couldn’t play that position anymore, and those of us who KNEW he could, got roasted by the ‘experts’ here for simply making realty based comments on LD’s abilities

    • Paul says:

      Joseph D’Hippolito, you are making me lose respect for US soccer writers if you are making such broad assumptions. I lived in Germany and I know people who were involved with the Nurnberg Football Club. Klinsmann is held in high regard as a player and as a coach (admitted higher as a coach). Additionally, while Lahm is considered to a great player, he also considered to be an arrogant, egotistical big mouth who MAY have some beef with JK. Very few people take this tell all books that seriously. Philip Lahm is the same guy who insists on playing midfield when is more valuable and better as a fullback.

      People wanted him to stay as the mannscahft manager. His time there was viewed as a success. If you do any proper research in the time as manager at Bayern or simply read some other reporters there, you would know that he walked into a power struggle and was never really supported there. There was also some talk that his move for LD was used as an excuse to remove him. It was just a messy situation where he did not belong nor was he really happy because his family STAYED in California while he worked in Germany (as when he was with the national team).

      When did JK ever seriously consider playing in the MLS? What proof do you have for your ludicrous statements? He retired from professional football in ’98. Gulati did not become head of USSF until 2006, so I highly doubt a conversation about playing occurred. I also doubt he wanted to play in ’98 (knowing the quality of the league then, why would he).

      I am going to stop right, but I could really go on and on.

  27. Mikey K says:

    Howard is a great player. I hope we see him again.

  28. BrianK says:

    Double standard. It is silly to argue otherwise. What kills me about the Donovan leave of absence is that he came back rejuvenated,…and DOMINATED the Gold Cup. It was boys against one man. And he was ridiculed for it. Now Howard needs a break and its all good.

    Wow! Klinsi,…I love you. I was calling for your appointment as USMNT when you first relocated to Cali and playing amateur soccer as Alexander Nevermind or whatever the hell you called yourself. But,…I will never understand your treatment of Landon Donovan.

    • Jack says:

      I think that’s what bothers me most about it all. After the break Landon jumped through every hoop Klinsmann wanted him to. Played in the Gold Cup, started in qualifiers after, did the January camp with a trip to train in Brazil. Even after that camp he named Landon captain for the friendly against South Korea. Looking back it really appears Klinsmann just strung him along knowing very well he would then cut him at the end. It just seemed rather vindictive from Klinsmann.

      • Joseph D'Hippolito says:

        +1,000, Jack. Read my comment above. That says it all.

      • Nani Appleseed says:

        Sounds like you realize the problem then… he wouldn’t have found himself lost at sea, trying to jump through hoops… if he hadn’t plunged into the water without asking permission like Tim has.

        Understand that NOBODY CARES that he dominated a very, very weak Gold Cup, in which even Wondo was picking up hat tricks. Had he done something more challenging (such as participate in the ealry portion of the hex, or score any goals at all in MLS) he might well have been selected

        LD made his own rules and flunked his own test.

        • Matt says:

          The Same Waondo that was heading the team and doing absolutely nothing until Donovan moved up top with him? That Wondo? clueless much?

        • beachbum says:

          convenient amnesia…how about the dos a cero win over Mexico? a goal and an assist…that game happened after the Gold Cup

          • GW says:

            beachbum,

            The opposition in that 2-0 game was underwhelming in the extreme.

            That was one of the worst Mexican teams the US had faced in recent memory. The fork sticking out of their backs just needed a little turning. They were in the middle of one of the worst slumps I’ve seen from a Mexican team. The US might as well have been playing Chivas USA.

            LD’s performance in that game was fine but it was nothing he had not done many, many times before. There was nothing remarkable about Landon’s performance in it.

            As for the Gold Cup, same thing.
            If anyone else performed as Landon did in the Gold Cup the first words out of everyone’s mouth would have been, “It’s the Gold Cup, B teams, weak CONCACAF opposition.” That is what everyone said about Wondo’s good performance in the Gold Cup. We already knew that Landon would show well in the Gold Cup. Interestingly, as well as LD played the most remarkable thing about it was that he did not do well until he was moved centrally.

            • Matt says:

              Wondo DID NOT have a good performance in the Gold cup. He was absolutely useless until Donovan moved up to be his partner. The US produced nothing until Donovan was put in the forward spot.

              • bryan says:

                yeah, i’m with you. two good games against Belize and Cuba is nothing. he then didn’t perform when put up against competition that was a bit better, despite him being capable, so JK brought in EJ and put him into the starting XI in place of Wondo for the final rounds of that tournament.

      • beachbum says:

        + 1

    • quozzel says:

      Double standard…maybe. But keepers are different animals too, akin to placekickers. Their career paths don’t move along the same tracks, the physical requirements aren’t the same. They’re specialists…and specialists get special treatment. Nature of the beast.

      My feeling is, once Guzan gets in, Howard won’t get him out. See Oliver Kahn in Germany. (There was much gnashing of teeth in Germany about how Klinsmann was doing the legendary Kahn dirty as well, see Donovan, Landon, for how that went over in Krautland.) On the other hand…keepers get hurt, too, and it’d be stupid of Klinsmann to alienate Howard in case the USMNT ever needs him again…you think Friedel wouldn’t have come if called, if something had happened to Howard and Guzan?

      Like his treatment of Donovan or not, let’s look at what got established because of that decision:
      1) Don’t refuse USMNT call-ups. It might bite you.
      2) The US Soccer setup is bigger than any one player…even the face of American soccer in the 2000’s.
      3) Klinsmann doesn’t care who you are, or what your reputation or standing is…he’ll cut you if he wants to. There will be no France-style mutinies in the USMNT locker room, and the USA, unlike, say, Portugal with Ronaldo, or Sweden with Zlatan, or Brazil with Neymar, will not have their fortunes dictated by the health and form (or lack thereof) of any one player. I think this is healthy. Germany lost their own best player, Reus, right before Brazil…and it didn’t even slow them down.

      You might also notice, nobody is now talking about “whatever will we do when player so-and-so leaves”. We already know what Klinsmann is going to do: grab 19, 20, and 21-year-old players like Green, Brooks, and Yedlin, maybe dust some older guys he likes, like DaMarcus Beasley or Kyle Beckerman, off the scrap heap, plug ‘em in, and keep right on keeping on.

      Consider the incredibly sorry state the USMNT was in after the Gold Cup in 2011, and we’re worlds ahead, right now. Literally, other than Dempsey, Bradley, Howard, and Guzan, there were 19 question marks on who the other members of the USMNT were going to be for Brazil and there weren’t many obvious answers in sight…mostly because Donovan, Dempsey, and Howard’s generation, for whatever reason, was far more talented than the 20-30-year-old generation after them…though, thankfully, if the current crop of U23’s, U20’s, and U17’s are any indication, that talent blight looks like it’s over. (Be interesting to see what exactly did cause that VERY notable dip in talent after Donovan/Dempsey’s age group…because it was way, way down.)

      • GW says:

        “ See Oliver Kahn in Germany. (There was much gnashing of teeth in Germany about how Klinsmann was doing the legendary Kahn dirty as well, see Donovan, Landon, for how that went over in Krautland.)”

        That does not seem to square with what was reported.

        Comparing Kahn vs Lehmann to the Donovan situation is something of a stretch.

        Kahn was outstanding in the 2002 WC. Lehmann was his long term understudy, his Guzan. By the time JK took over Lehmann was catching up. In the 2005-2006 season Lehmann helped lead Arsenal to the final. He had ten consecutive clean sheets in the Champions League, a record at that point. And he was named Champions League Keeper of the Year.

        JK rotated the two in the run up to the World Cup and Lehmann won the competition.

        Kahn took it well publicly and played the good sport, good teammate, cheerleader role with class and dignity.as Lehmann went on to have a very good World Cup. It may have been phony on Kahn’s part but it was very supportive of his teammates.

  29. AMPhibian says:

    I got through almost all of the comments, before I became weary of the LD-Howard bickering. It’s no big deal though, really, I think that the LD-Timmy arguments make for an interesting philosophical debate, but it’s so obvious and pointless already.
    I like the comments that try to expand on the practical implications of this decision, even if imaginary.
    I want to hear more people debate things similar to, but not actually:
    Doesn’t that long of an international break at Timmy’s age put him as a long shot to regain his former role on the USMNT? Besides his stated reasons, could Timmy be wanting to focus on the EPL with eyes on a new contract at Everton or elsewhere? Did JK breathe any life into this idea of Howards, and regardless, might this become a template for USMNT vets in the future? I guess that last question would depend on how this hiatus works out for Howard.

    • Ali Dia says:

      “I want to hear more people debate things similar to, but not actually:” is an expression I intend to incorporate into my professoinal career. Outstanding stuff,

    • GW says:

      Mr. Phibian,

      See Freidel, Brad, career after USMNT “retirement”.

      Timmy’s not coming back. Guzan was close to dethroning him anyway until Timmy decided he wanted to make up for his putrid 2010 WC and also make sure his Everton job was safe with the new manager coming in. Timmy knows how to act with a new manager. He went on to have maybe his best overall year ever.

      Unless absolutely everyone is completely wrong about Guzan once he gets bedded in as the USMNT number one starter I don’t see any reason to think Howard will beat him out assuming he even wants to

      Some managers like to rotate keepers, some like to stick with one. JK seems more like the “stick with one keeper” type.

      Timmy, God bless him, will be having a fine life elsewhere and will serve as the USMNT emergency super keeper, should aliens abduct Brad.

      This is unique to keepers since they have a much longer shelf life than outfield players so don’t expect Mikey, Jones, and Dempsey for example. However, Dempsey may be the exception since he was never particularly fast and quick and his goal scoring ability seems closer to what Klose, who played at a high level for a very long time, has. So I would not be surprised to see Clint keep his form longer than most people expect.

  30. Joamiq says:

    I have a feeling Guzan will take charge of the #1 spot from here. We definitely haven’t seen the last of Timmy, but I have a feeling that by the time he comes back to the team, the #1 spot will be Guzan’s to lose.

    • Diego's Maradoughnuts says:

      +1 And this is how it should be. Guzan has earned his look, and this is only proper that he should get his chance (and earn it… ain’t nothing free in the US goal).

    • Chris says:

      I agree, and I think Timmy is a professional enough person to know he should let the other guys get a look.

      If you actually think about it, wouldn’t it have been smart of Klinsi to play Guzan in the next Gold Cup anyway?

  31. AcidBurn says:

    We all know the real reason that Timmy needs this time off…he’s going to teach Ted Lasso offsides and relegation and that’s going to take some time. (Ted’s a visual learner, you know.)