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ESPN FC  By ESPN

MLS not a retirement league - U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard

Colorado Rapids target Tim Howard has been demoted to backup goalkeeper at Everton.
Tim Howard said he expects to play in a different MLS than the one he left 13 years ago.

United States goalkeeper Tim Howard told NBC Sports that he expects to play in a much-improved league when he leaves Everton and returns to Major League Soccer on July 8 after 13 years in the Premier League.

Howard, 37, who was under contract with the Toffees until 2018, was cleared by Everton to move to Colorado for a transfer fee of about $600,000, sources told ESPN.

He began his career in 1998 with the MetroStars -- now the New York Red Bulls -- and on Monday was part of an NBC sideline analysis team for Tottenham's 4-0 win over Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium.

Howard is already shifting his focus to Denver, where he will make his home after representing his country in the Copa America Centenario, and insisted that the MLS is no place for old men.

The Rapids and Red Bulls square off in snowy Denver.
MLS Review: Watch all goals and highlights from Week 7
Go behind the scenes with Tim Howard during his appearance on Good Morning America.

"I think the quality of play has gotten better. The fan-base has grown and is more knowledgeable," Howard told NBC Sports. "Some of the players that have gone back over, this ain't a retirement league. Now you have players going over like [Sebastian] Giovinco, he is incredible.

"Giovani dos Santos, probably one of the top Mexican players of all time who is playing there in his prime. That's exciting because for me, when I was a 21-year-old in MLS, that wasn't the case."

Howard last played in MLS in 2003 before moving to Manchester United. He started at Old Trafford until the club bought Edwin van der Sar in 2005, and United loaned him to Everton the following year.

He completed a permanent deal to Everton in 2007 and started there for nearly a decade until this February, when a brief knee injury allowed Joel Robles to replace him. And he acknowledged that the summer will be busy.

"It is one thing after another," he said. "I finish here, then go to training camp with the national team and obviously we have a huge tournament which is important for us. When that finishes I will go out to Denver and start life."

The Americans, one of four seeded teams as host of the June competition that marks the 100th anniversary of South America's championship -- the world's oldest international football tournament -- will open the event with their first Group A match against Colombia on June 3 in Santa Clara, California. (Argentina, Brazil and Mexico are the other seeds.)

Jurgen Klinsmann's squad then travels to Chicago to face CONCACAF rival Costa Rica on June 7, before concluding its first-round slate June 11 against Paraguay in Philadelphia.

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