By ALEC KLEYER
The Unites States Men's National Team's hero, Timmy Howard, recently brought up a topic no USA soccer fan wanted to hear. Howard, keeper for Everton FC, is considering retirement from international football after USA was eliminated from the World Cup Tuesday afternoon against Belgium.
If Howard were to end his international career today, that performance against Belgium will surely leave Howard feeling pleased, knowing he did all he could to help out his country against an extremely challenging opponent.
Howard recently fielded questions about his possible departure from the game:
"Everything's a bit raw at the moment. I don't think it's black and white to be honest."
"There's no doubt barring injury that I'll be fit and willing to keep going, but there's a lot more things that go into that decision than just my physical health, so it's something that in time I'll decide on."
Howard, who is currently 35 years old, will be 39 come the 2018 World Cup, which will be held in Russia. Russia is at the back of Howard's mind and he isn't concerned about his physical status.
In four years Howard will possibly end his professional career all together as his new contract has him playing for Everton FC until May of 2018. Considering the World Cup is held in June, Howard has some thinking to do.
At 35 years of age, many keepers are still benefiting from their prime, Howard is no exception. He proved to the world that he still has what it takes to compete with the world's best. Will he still have it in four years? Maybe not.
Howard told Mike and Mike on ESPN that he just wants to kick back, relax, and watch the World Cup from the other side of the T.V.
"I want to be at the bar, throwing beer around and jumping around when Jozy [Altidore] scores goals," Howard told ESPN's Mike and Mike. "That looks fun to me. I don't know. I need to kind of take stock of where I'm at."
If Howard were to retire, who could fill his shoes? Howard believes in fellow Premier League goalkeeper, and fellow friend, Brad Guzan.
"I would imagine at the moment the way things look, I think Brad Guzan," Howard said.
"He's a top Premier League goalkeeper, a dear friend and his talent is incredible."
Indeed Brad Guzan is a terrific goalkeeper, however, he has had minimal opportunities to display those skills as Howard had the starting spot nailed down in 2010 and 2014.
Guzan will be 33 before the World Cup in 2018 and should be entering his prime, perhaps that would even be a better option for the USMNT if Howard did indeed stay.
Heck, it's four years away ... we might not even see Howard, Guzan or Nick Rimando on the 23-man roster come Cup time. Might Sean Johnson, Bill Hamid or Zac MacMath take up on the opportunity? What about U-20 goalkeeper Cody Cropper? Anything can happen in the next four years.
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