[USA MEN]Ahead of Jurgen Klinsmann's first roster announcement since the World Cup, star goalkeeper Tim Howard has asked to not be considered for selection on the U.S. national team until September 2015. The news is not a surprise as the 35-year-old Everton star expressed a desire to spend more time with his children. The decision moves Aston Villa's Brad Guzan, Howard's longtime backup, into the likely starting role on the national team, but Klinsmann stressed it would also present a huge opportunity for other keepers.
Howard has 104 caps and is the USA's all-time leader for goalkeepers in appearances. He became a national celebrity with his performance in the USA's 2-1 loss to Belgium in the second round of the World Cup.
"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. "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. 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."
The recent offseasons have been dominated by national team commitments -- Gold Cup in 2011, World Cup qualifying in 2012 and 2013 and World Cup in 2014 -- and Howard will be able to spend more time with his children next summer when he'd otherwise be committed to playing in the Gold Cup, which the USA will host.
Howard's children ages 8 and 7 live with his former wife, who is remarried and resides in the Memphis suburb of Germantown. He is committed with Everton through the 2017-18 season. He will again this season do TV work for NBC Sport Group on its EPL coverage during off days.
"This gives us a huge opportunity to see Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando going forward and fighting for the No. 1 spot," said Klinsmann. "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."