Goalkeeper Howard to Take Break From U.S. Soccer Team

Goalkeeper Tim Howard is taking at least a year off from playing with the U.S. national soccer team, citing a desire to spend more time with his family.

Howard, 35, who made a World Cup-record 15 saves in the U.S. team’s 2-1 loss to Belgium last month in Brazil, just started his ninth consecutive season with British club Everton. The English Premier League season runs from August to May.

“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,” Howard said yesterday in an e-mailed release. “It’s the right decision at the right time.”

Howard has helped the U.S. to more wins than any other goalkeeper and played every minute in the team’s last two World Cups.

Howard made the decision after speaking with U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

“He was very straightforward and honest in his approach, and I admire him for that,” Klinsmann said in the release. “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.”

Howard will be 39 at the start of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The break gives Klinsmann an opportunity to work more extensively with young American goalies including Bill Hamid and Sean Johnson.

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