Tim Howard says Colorado Rapids debut 'can't come soon enough'
New Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard said he's eager to continue his "18-month season" at his introductory news conference on Tuesday.
The 37-year-old star could make his Rapids debut as soon as Monday against the Portland Timbers after sealing his return to MLS from Everton in March.
Following a full Premier League season, Howard joined up with the U.S. national team for the Copa America this month, meaning he hasn't had an offseason since last summer.
But Howard said taking a break is the last thing on his mind as he joins coach Pablo Mastroeni's squad.
"This will ultimately be an 18-month season for me," Howard said. "Pablo and I spoke quite a lot over the last couple of weeks and I didn't really want a vacation. I just want to get out there.
"It's what I do, it's where I'm happiest. The sooner I can get on the field, the better. It's been a long time coming just because of the way the seasons are structured both here in MLS and abroad."
Howard left MLS in 2003 to join Manchester United, and then played at Everton for nearly a decade before losing his starting role to Joel Robles midway through last season.
"Everton is always in my heart, it's the club I spent 10 years at. But it's a new chapter, a new challenge, it's something I'm hungry for here," Howard said.
"England was great for me, it was hard work, but nothing good is every easy. I've got fond memories, great friends. It's where my children were born and there's a lot of great hings about what has happened over the last 13 years in England.
"I'll be retired for a lot longer, so I'll have time to look back. Right now, I'm hungry, I'm excited, I love to compete, I love to play and it can't come soon enough."
Asked what will motivate him to compete in MLS after so long spent at the game's highest level, Howard said: "I'm scared to death of failure.
"I represent myself when I go out there and what I mean to each team that I play for, and I'm just fearful of ever letting one of those teams down.
"That drives me, in reality I think that drives every player. It's not money, it's nothing else, it's the pressure to pull your own weight and be a good teammate and win games."
Howard formerly played alongside Mastroeni on the U.S. national team, but the keeper assured his new boss he would fall in line.
"Of course, coach Pablo who is a dear friend of mine and now he's a coach and I have to do everything he says," Howard said. "When we played together from 2002 to 2009, I didn't always listen, but I promise I'll be on my best behavior now.
"Pablo is a warrior. He's a guy who on countless occasions I stood next to in the tunnel with. We pumped each other up, we were teammates and we went out there to battle so I'm just so looking forward to lacing those boots up and getting on the field."
Mastroeni called the addition of Howard "a mid-season gift" as the Rapids chase a Western Conference title.
"Now we have a guy that's proven. We have a guy that's an outstanding character off the field, on the field," Mastroeni said. "He holds himself to the highest standard that you can in football, he embodies everything that we want here at this club from a drive perspective, a 'put your arm around a young guy' perspective. A guy that's going to push this group to where we want to go which is the playoffs and beyond this year."
With the addition of Jermaine Jones this winter, the Rapids have soared from worst to first in the Western Conference, a surge that occurred since Howard decided to join the club he previously saw as a "project."
"I can assure you that I did not guarantee Tim Howard that we would be in first place by the time he came and played his first game," vice president Paul Bravo said.
"It just so happened that Tim is the culmination of a very well-thought-out and well-executed plan during the offseason to put ourselves in a position to have success."
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