Tim Howard, Soccer Superstar
If there’s one thing that United States football fans can take comfort in following their World Cup exit, it’s that they got further than England. (And if you don’t believe me, the headline “USA Wins 1-1” headline from their draw four years ago should be all the proof you need.)
July 2nd, 2014
If there’s two, then surely the heroic exploits of goalkeeper Tim Howard against Belgium last night will be enough to give the game a significant Stateside boost. His tally of 15 saves during the match is the most ever made in a single World Cup game, and will surely fire him into whatever Soccer Hall of Fame they’ll be setting up as a result.
However, Tim Howard’s life and career to date has been filled with other incidents which have only served to prove his quality and dedication to the sport. For the benefit of anyone who had never heard of him until last night – ie non-Premier League fans who haven’t seen him play in England for the last decade – here are five things you might not know about Tim Howard.
He was drafted by the Harlem Globetrotters
Despite teenage Tim’s preference for and excellence in goal, Howard was also a keen basketball player in high school, where he averaged 15 points a game and played in the New Jersey state finals. Howard also played in the school soccer team – at one point as a midfielder! In 2009 Howard was recognised in a ‘draft’ by the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters team to award his efforts in charity work; Howard and Lionel Messi are the only two footballers to receive this honour.
He’s scored a goal
Howard joins a very small list of goalkeepers who have scored a goal during a Premier League game; a strong gust of wind claims the ‘assist’ stat which the press is so big on reporting these days when, during what turned out to be a 2-1 loss to Bolton in January 2012, he cleared the ball out of his penalty area and saw it bounce once before dropping over his opposite number in the Wanderers goal. Howard declined to celebrate out of respect.
He’s played through the pain
On three different occasions Howard has been hurt during a match but continued to play; the first of these came in 2007 during a friendly against Brazil when Howard dislocated a finger. During an FA Cup replay against Oldham Athletic last year, Howard’s legs were swept out from under him during a challenge and he landed awkwardly, breaking two bones in his back and missing several matches – though he completed that one. Then there’s the painkilling injection he took at half-time of the 1-1 draw against England in 2010 after a nasty punt to the ribs by Emile Heskey. Tim Howard is tough!
He kept a clean sheet against Spain
Not many players can have claimed this feat during Spain’s run of dominance in the late 2000s but Howard and his fellow Americans were able to inflict an unanswered defeat at the 2009 Confederations Cup. The Yanks won 2-0 with goals from Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey, while Howard himself put in a fine performance…
He’s been diagnosed with Tourette’s
…the likes of which have been made all the more significant as Howard has struggled with the affliction since his diagnosis at high school.