Tim Howard

Neymar
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Burning question: Best player you’ve ever seen live

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We’ve all had the chance to have Lionel Messi, Mohamed Salah, and others blow our minds on television screens, but there’s something special about seeing the magic in living color.

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So we’re wondering: Who’s the best player you’ve ever seen live? Hit up the comments section with your takes, and allow me to walk you through mine.

International: It’s August 10, 2010 at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, and your United States men’s national team is taking the field for the first time since Ghana ended the World Cup dreams of Bob Bradley’s boys with a 2-1 defeat in Rustenberg.

The vibe at the AO tailgate is lively, friends from all over the country gathered in the Garden State to see the hosts welcome a Brazil side that blew a halftime lead against the Netherlands to bow out in the World Cup quarterfinals.

It’s fortunate that the AO seats that wound up in my hands were a few rows behind Tim Howard, because that was the end to see most of the first half.

Brazil left Kaka and Luis Fabiano at home, which begged what they might’ve done with those two pulling the strings. It’s not worth too much debate, because Mano Menezes’ Starting XI included Robinho, Ramires, David Luiz, Thiago Silva, Dani Alves, and Alexandre Pato and a kid making his international debut.

His name was Neymar, and any hopes of the youngster being humbled by the big crowd and his first cap were dashed immediately. While it wasn’t the virtuoso show we’d see so many times in Barcelona, PSG, and Brazil shirts moving forward, it was clear this kid had it.

The thumping header at the back post meant it took less than a half-hour for Neymar Jr. to show us his first of 61 senior goals and counting for Brazil. He was young, naive, unrefined… and electric.

Club: This one’s more difficult, if only because the majority of the senior action I’ve seen in person has been in Major League Soccer, with a few jaunts overseas. There’s always a ‘guy’ who stands out, though, per game, whether a young and gigantic Andy Carroll for Newcastle at Stoke in 2009, Niklas Dorsch running the midfield for Heidenheim in relegating Duisburg from the Bundesliga last Spring, or Frank Lampard and Kaka dueling in Orlando a few years earlier.

But the most dominant forces I’ve seen on a consistent basis have both had ties to Canada. On the MLS side, any chance to see Sebastian Giovinco for Toronto FC at BMO Field was a chance to catch a firefly, but in terms of sheer dominance I’m looking to the ladies.

Christine Sinclair was the best player on a loaded Western New York Flash roster when I was their play-by-play man during the 2011 WPS season. Now the all-time leading scorer amongst women, Sinclair punished teams that season and stood out despite a roster that included Marta, Alex Morgan, Caroline Seger, Ashlyn Harris, and McCall Zerboni amongst others.

Sinclair scored in regulation of a final against Philadelphia that went to penalty kicks, and converted her spot kick, too. If Zlatan is a lion, she’s part of the same pride. A force.

(Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

College/Amateur: Before my alma mater unceremoniously cut men’s soccer, the University at Buffalo played in the Mid American Conference and delivered all sorts of high drama. The highlight was usually the visit of Akron, a national champion who had been neck-and-neck with the Buffalo Bulls in the 2000s before putting a stranglehold on the rivalry. UB was the runner-up to Akron in 2015 and 2016 behind a brilliant team featuring now-USL player Russell Cicerone and a future New Zealand club captain in Fox Slotemaker. The 2016 season gives us our story.

The Zips had a freshman on the right side who was almost always in the right place, with mind-bending pace to help with the times he was caught astray. Jonathan Lewis had spent a season abroad with Bradford City before opting for school, and he was a one-and-done in Ohio after recording 12 assists, one in that game. I’ve seen some incredible college talents, but Lewis was the best by a good margin. He’s now earned six USMNT caps and 48 MLS appearances between NYCFC and Colorado at the age of 22.

What we love about Everton

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This week at ProSoccerTalk we will be detailing what we love about each Premier League club competing in the 2019-20 season and next up is Everton.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Each day we will release details on why who adore each team in particular as we remind ourselves just how awesome the PL is as we await its return following the suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

We head to the blue side of Liverpool for this post.


(Almost) All The Way Up: The Toffees are one of six teams to have not been relegated in the Premier League era, and the club feels like its brimming with potential at the beginning of so many seasons. The fits and starts of late have only served to fuel hope for a return to glory; Remember: Everton won the league twice in the 1980s and claimed a Cup Winners’ Cup, too, when they outlasted Dublin, Internacional Bratislava, Fortuna Sittard, Bayern Munich, and finally Rapid Vienna to lift the silverware in 1985 at Feyenoord Stadium in Rotterdam. With a young local brood — Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Mason Holgate — coming into its own alongside Richarlison and Lucas Digne, can the Toffees ride back into Europe?

Commitment to Community: This club puts a special stamp on being a part of its community through Everton in the Community. We especially love “The Goodison Sleepout,” where the Toffees’ U-23s join members of the communities in spending the night at stadium to raise money for young people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. It’s an incredible organization and an inspiration for community-based clubs around the world.

Everton
(Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images)

 


The Merseyside Derby: No club feels right without its top villain, and Liverpool and Everton wage at least two intense battles a year between Anfield and Goodison Park. This part of the post feels a little goofy at the moment given the Reds dominance over the derby — The Reds have 11 wins and 10 draws since Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta keyed a 2010 win at Goodison — but make no mistake about the atmosphere between these two. The potential is there for it to stand alone as the most important derby on a league calendar.

Tim Howard: Yeah, this fellas hasn’t been with the Toffees for some time, but he left Goodison with the third-most appearances in club history. Leighton Baines has since past Howard’s 413 appearances but the American goalkeeper is safely in the Toffees’ top four unless Phil Jagielka transfers back (Seamus Coleman is 103 behind). Howard was so, so good.

Everton
(Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images)

Howard comes out of retirement to play for Memphis

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Owner. Sporting director. And now, player.

Memphis 901 FC made a shocking announcement on Wednesday that Tim Howard ended his brief retirement and signed a contract to play the upcoming USL Championship season. Howard is a minority owner with Memphis 901 and was named sporting director for the team in the offseason, as he had been involved in scouting and signing players for this season’s roster.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

At almost 41-years old, Howard will be one of the oldest professionals still playing in the U.S. However, there’s no doubt that he can add a lot to the young players for Memphis who are on the way up, and he’ll get to enjoy one more season in net against a slightly lower level of competition. In addition, he links up with head coach Tim Mulqueen, who originally discovered Howard as a pre-teen when Mulqueen was the goalkeeper coach for the Metrostars in the mid-to-late 1990s and Howard was a pre-teen.

“Since my retirement in October, my obsession for football has grown,” Howard said in a statement. “The desire to win continues to drive me. I love to play and I love to compete, this gives me the opportunity to do both.”

The U.S. Men’s National Team legend announced before the start of the 2019 season that it would be his final season as a professional, while he was a Designated Player for the struggling Colorado Rapids. However, it appears that he had the itch to play after spending some time working with the club this offseason.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Although he hails from New Jersey, Tim Howard made Memphis his offseason base for nearly the past decade, as his family lives in the area. Now, Howard has the opportunity to play in front of his closest fans at home. Howard became a part-owner of the club in 2018 and the club made its debut in USL in 2019.

USMNT legend Tim Howard joins Memphis soccer franchise

USMNT legend Tim Howard joins Memphis soccer franchise
Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images
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Memphis, Tenn. (AP) Former U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard is taking a job with Memphis, the United Soccer League team in which he already has a stake as a part owner.

Memphis announced the move Wednesday. It is unclear Howard will take a paycheck.

But president Craig Unger says Howard brings knowledge and experience to the job that can’t be replicated.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Howard played 13 years in the Premier League and also had 121 appearances with the U.S. national team. He will work full-time helping pick players, while also developing approaches for both the club and technical staff. Memphis has nine players returning from its inaugural season.

“As a minority owner it’s nice to sit up there in a suite,” Howard said in a release “(But) by the nature of who I am, my competitive spirit, the goalkeeper in me, this role has given me an excitement that mimics playing.”

[ MORE: MLS discussing DP rule change ]

Memphis also named James Roeling as assistant sporting director. He spent the past six seasons with the Colorado Rapids as senior manager of team operations.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Best USMNT and USWNT moments of the 2010s

Top USMNT USWNT moments of decade
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The United States men’s national team had some dynamite moments in a dreary decade.

The USWNT had just a few dreary ones in a dynamite one.

But what were the best moments of the 2010s for the top teams of U.S. Soccer? And what’s a bigger challenge: deciding what moment is No. 3 or choosing between Nos. 1 an 2.

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Isn’t it wonderful that the USWNT  makes it so we have to choose which World Cup title is most delightful and impactful?

5. USWNT, Canada in seven-goal Olympic festival of soccer and officiating ridiculousness

Maybe it’s myopic and biased to call this the peak of the USWNT-Canada rivalry, but holy cow was this one a beauty. A guaranteed medal and a spot in the 2012 Olympic final was on the line when the U.S. fell behind not once, not twice, but three times at Old Trafford.

Christine Sinclair, arguably the greatest scorer in women’s history, had a giant-killing, nation-lifting day in attack, scoring in the 22nd, 67th, and 73rd minutes. The Yanks only equalized the third time because of a controversial handball penalty which was given after an indirect free kick was awarded for time-wasting.

An indirect free kick awarded for time-wasting. Abby Wambach was possibly given a second gold medal for intimidating the referee.

4. “And Donovan has scored. Oh can you believe this? Go, go, USA!”

The 1990s and 2000s each had their gateway moment for new fans of the U.S. men’s national team, the 90s being a whole tournament in the United States. Eight years later, it was beating rivals Mexico in the group stage.

The 2010s? Look no further than the current manager of San Diego Loyal FC.

3. Tim Howard goes Spiderman in memorable loss to Belgium

The Yanks have a decent history of putting up fine shows in World Cup knockout round exits, Ghana excluded. There was 1-0 to Brazil on home soil. Then, the 1-0 handball-aided loss to Germany in Korea.

But this was something else. The American goalkeeping position had always been a strength, but Tim Howard took it to the next level with a performance which inspired comparisons to Marvel Superheroes and Neo from the Matrix.

The U.S. lineup was good, but Belgium’s XI went like this: Courtois, Kompany, Van Buyten, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Witsel, Fellaini, De Bruyne, Hazard, Mertens, and Origi. The guys who came into the game? Lukaku, Mirallas, Chadli. Mousa Dembele couldn’t get on the pitch.

It was a performance big enough to earn this from Kompany after the game:

And Howard followed it up with an incredibly emotional post-match press conference. A U.S. Soccer icon.


[ MORE: USMNT Best XI of the 2010s ]


2. Megan Rapinoe caps World Cup title defense in iconic fashion

Megan Rapinoe was everywhere as the USWNT allowed just three goals in seven matches, ruffling plenty of feathers by scoring a ton of goals and celebrating them with vigor.

No recency bias here: A World Cup crown is a World Cup crown, but you’re nuts if you think this finale was as fun as our No. 1. The parade, however, looked on the level.

1. Carli Lloyd goes off in 2015 World Cup Final

Believe it or not, there was a three-tournament run where the Yanks missed two World Cup finals and lost a third.

So the relief of watching Jill Ellis lead the Yanks to a 5-2 rout against Japan was delicious

Carli Lloyd cashed in a midfield goal to cap a hat trick in the 16th minute, and… well… yeah. She had a rarefied day and year.