MLS: Tim Howard returns

Jun 7, 2014; Jacksonville, FL, USA; United States goalkeeper Tim Howard (1) gets presented a jersey for 100th U.S. men
Jun 7, 2014; Jacksonville, FL, USA; United States goalkeeper Tim Howard (1) gets presented a jersey for 100th U.S. men /

After being away for nearly 13 years, the prodigal son has decided to make his return to the league that helped jump-start his career!

On Sunday, United States Men’s National Team goalkeeper Tim Howard signed a $2.5-2.8 million a year for three and a half years deal with the Colorado Rapids and the 37-year old will officially return to the MLS in July once his season in the English Premier League with Everton is finished and after he plays for the United States this summer in the Copa America Contenario.

After nearly 10 years in-goal for Everton, Howard lost his starting spot to Joel Robles, it comes as no surprise to fans that Howard would return to a league that guarantees him nearly immediate and regular playing time. Another big factor in Howard’s return has been his family. While playing over seas, Howard very rarely got opportunities to see his children who live in Memphis.

During the season, Howard has only been able to make day trips to see his family before having to fly back to England for training or matches, but moving back to the United States would mean seeing his family more often and participate more with the National Team without the persistent travel obligations that come with playing in the EPL.

Rumors spread in December that Howard may be thinking about making a return to the United States, but a true link wasn’t made with the Rapids until January when they acquired the top spot in the MLS’s player allocation order. With this, Colorado was able to take the first shot at getting their hands on international players and former MLS athletes, which they ultimately used to obtain Howard. The usually frugal Colorado Rapids paid a transfer fee of around $600,000 for the seasoned keeper.

With a young team and a young coach, it’ll be imperative for Colorado to completely utilize Howard’s experience and leadership between the sticks. With Howard, the Rapids have likely the most potential in a nearly unstoppable defense in the entire league despite already having a pretty solid defense to begin with.

More so, with Howard in the goal, I think fans can expect to see less shots attempted against their team. In 2015, the club allowed the second-fewest goals in the league, but where the defense dominated, the offense lacked and scored a league-low amount in goals at 33.

Is there a chance that Howard won’t quite deliver? At his age, it’s very possible, but also highly unlikely. The move back to the MLS doesn’t necessarily mean that his career is ending; in fact, I think if anything Howard is in his prime. His move back to the league means the exact opposite and I think fans will be able to see Howard playing more often and more aggressive than ever.

With Howard moving on to the next phase in his soccer career, I believe that not only will we be able to see him on the pitch more for the MLS, but we will also see him being able to play harder for the national team as they prepare their campaign of trying to qualify for another World Cup.

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In his career with Everton, Howard made 13th on the all-time appearances list at 400. With the national team, he has earned 106 caps and a spot on three World Cup rosters. While his career began in the MLS and will likely end in the MLS, I don’t think fans are anywhere close to seeing the end of Howard’s career. Welcome home, Tim Howard!