photo by Matt West/ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
Tim Howard has been a staple for Everton for much of the past decade, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.
Everton announced Thursday that Howard has signed a contract extension with the club that will run through the end of the 2017-18 season. The standout, 35-year-old goalkeeper’s initial deal was set to expire in 2016, but the Toffees were keen on securing his services for longer due to his quality as a player and role model.
“He has been vital to our overall achievements. It’s not just about his performances,” Everton head coach Roberto Martinez told EvertonTV. “As a goalkeeper, you have a big say about what happens in your own goal and to keep the amount of clean sheets that we have this season – which is already two more than last season when we had very good numbers defensively – is impressive.
“Then you see his human values and the way he affects youngsters; he is the perfect role model for out football club. We have a good group of young goalkeepers who can follow that sort of example, and that is why it’s so significant he has agreed to stay with Everton for a long, long period.”
The two-year extension likely assures that the impressive and acrobatic Howard – who initially joined Everton on loan from Manchester United in 2006 before signing a permanent deal in 2007 – will become one of the club’s all-time leaders in appearances. The veteran is currently in 22nd in that category, but it seems probable that his new contract will see him reach the prestigious 500-appearance mark that only three players have accomplished in Everton’s history.
The U.S. Men’s National Team’s starting goalkeeper has recorded 116 cleansheets in the Premiership, giving him the 10th-highest total in the league’s history. He has posted 13 shutouts this season, and been a big part of the reason why the Toffees are currently in the hunt for a place in next season’s UEFA Champions League.
Howard is also set to be included in the U.S.’s World Cup roster for a third straight tournament. He backed up Kasey Keller in Germany in 2006, but was the starter in 2010 as the Americans reached the Round of 16 in South Africa.
Howard has 97 caps with the United States.
What do you think of Howard signing an extension with Everton through 2018? Happy to see him make the decision to stick around with the club or would you have preferred to see him return to MLS? Think he and Everton will reach next season’s UEFA Champions League?
Share your thoughts below.