Monday, July 14, 2003
SECAUCUS, NJ -- The Metrostars of Major League Soccer annnounced today the transfer of goalkeeper Tim Howard to Manchester United of the English Premier League, financial details undisclosed. Howard played in USL for the North Jersey Imperials in 1997 in the third division D3 Pro League, posting a 0.99 goals-against average, which ranked seventh in the league, in 16 games (1,459 minutes). He joined the Metrostars the following season.
The two-time MLS Best XI goalkeeper will leave the Metros for the prestigious club, as the team begins preseason training for the upcoming Premier League season, which kicks-off with Manchester United taking on Bolton Wanderers on Saturday, August 16 at Old Trafford in Manchester, England.
“I just feel blessed,” said the 24-year-old Howard. “I feel fortunate. Not many people are given this opportunity, which has been given to me. I am just so happy. It was nice to see a lot of MetroStars fans at my last game on Saturday. They were just awesome. I have so many great memories from here and so many ups and downs. I have grown as a person and as a goalkeeper and am just thankful for this opportunity.”
"This is a dream move for Tim and one that he has earned since Tim exemplifies class, both on and off the field," said Dan Segal, Principal of SportsNet, LLC and Howard's representation. "Not only is this an exciting day for Tim, but it is for everyone connected with American soccer since Tim will be representing the U.S. at the highest profile club in the world. I have no doubt that Tim will represent both himself and US Soccer extremely well at Manchester United."
The 24-year-old Howard has quickly ascended to the top of the MLS goalkeeping class and is widely recognized as one of the future goalkeepers for the U.S. National Team. Howard has posted a 37-36-10 record with a 1.45 goals against average and 15 shutouts in his 84-game MLS career. He leaves the Metros with the highest winning percentage of any goalkeeper in team history (50.6%).
“Ideally, Timmy would have finished the season with the MetroStars and moved onto Manchester United, but the timing is out of our control and we recognize that this is a well-deserved opportunity in his career,” said MetroStars Head Coach Bob Bradley. “We will miss his terrific goalkeeping and his presence in our locker room. Timmy has done a great deal for the MetroStars and we all wish him only the best.”
The North Brunswick, New Jersey native joined the Metros prior to the start of the 1998 season as a Nike Project-40 player. His development continued in the understudy role at the international level behind current Premier League Goalkeeper of the Year Brad Friedel as both were members of the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team for the Sydney Games. The U.S. shocked the field and finished fourth after finishing first in Group C with Cameroon, Czech Republic, and Kuwait.
“Timmy has grown up with our club and its always hard to see a player like him leave,” said MetroStars President/GM Nick Sakiewicz. “But we’ve always known he is a very special player and this day would come. To Tim’s credit, this day has come sooner than expected and we wish him all the best.”
The 6’3” shot-stopper served as back-up to 1994 U.S. World Cup star Tony Meola in 1998, and in 1999 and 2000 to MLS All-Star Mike Ammann. As the young goalkeeper bided his time, he was inserted as the MetroStars starter for the 2001 season. Immediately, the energetic ‘keeper found himself rising to the top of the goalkeeping class in the U.S. earning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year and MLS Best XI honors, after posting a league-high 146 saves and a 1.33 goals against average. His breakthrough season also earned him MetroStars/Honda MVP, Defender of the Year, and MetroStars.com MVP (voted by the fans) accolades.
Howard caught the eye of U.S. National Team Head Coach Bruce Arena and earned his first appearance with for the nation on March 10, 2002, in a 1-0 win over Ecuador in Birmingham, Alabama. Arena has thrust Howard between the pipes for the national team on nine occasions including three games during the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup. Howard started and played all three games for the U.S. team that posted a 0-2-1 record in the tournament. He registered 14 saves over the three contests, and was also named the Chevrolet’s U.S. Man of the Match in the first two games against Turkey and Brazil. He then posted a shutout against a powerful Cameroon team, making three saves.
The athletic Howard continued to improve on his performances by leading the league in saves again in 2002, with 140 and becoming the first goalkeeper in league history to be named to the MLS Best XI multiple times and first to repeat. His team honors continued as Howard won MetroStars.com Player of the Year (voted by fans) and ADT Defender of the Year.
The three-time MLS All-Star (2001-2003) was born with a condition called Tourette's Syndrome, a neurological disorder characterized by rapid and involuntary tics and vocalizations, Howard is now active in creating awareness for TS and on November 12, 2001, was named to the Board of Directors of the Tourette Syndrome Association of New Jersey (TSANJ). His efforts to create awareness for the syndrom earned him the 2001 MLS Humanitarian of the Year award.