Miami, FL, United States (4E Sports) – Goalkeeper Tim Howard announced that will take a one-year break from the United States national team to spend more time with his family.
“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,” Howard said in a statement released by U.S. Soccer.
“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,” added Howard, who will miss next summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.
However, the 35-year-old Howard clarified that he’s not retiring from international competition and will continue to play for Everton in the English Premier League.
Since 2002, Howard has appeared in 104 games for the Americans, the most of any goalkeeper. He has been the first-choice keeper since 2007, and has played every minute of the Americans’ matches at the previous two World Cups in 2010 and 2014.
During the World Cup, Howard named man of the match twice in matches against Portugal and Belgium. He gained international attention in the U.S.’ 2-1 defeat in the round of 16 after posting a World Cup-record 15 saves.
U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said he supported Howard’s decision.
“We had a very good and productive conversation,” Klinsmann said in the statement. “I totally understand Tim’s situation. He was very straight forward and honest in his approach, and I admire him for that.”