The Colorado Rapids introduced goalkeeper Tim Howard in a press conference at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Tuesday, June 28. Howard joins Major League Soccer via the Allocation Process after the Rapids secured the #1 spot in the Allocation Ranking Order in a trade with the Chicago Fire on January 14, 2016.
Howard has represented the USMNT in every year since 2002 and, during that time, has amassed 108 caps, including action in the 2006, 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups. Howard won the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup and was runner-up at the 2009 Confederations Cup. He was voted the CONCACAF Goalkeeper of the Year in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Read below for quotes from Howard, team president Tim Hinchey, VP of soccer operations and technical director Paul Bravo and head coach Pablo Mastroeni.
- DOCUMENTARY: Tim Howard: The Journey Home (Episodes 1-3)
Tim Howard, Secretary of Defense
"[This is] an incredible turnout, I didn’t expect so many people. It’s a wonderful day for me. As most of you know, I’ve been overseas for a long time. I won’t bore you with how difficult these deals are to get done, but I can assure you there were some very, very important people behind the scenes doing all the work.
I think as players, we get all the recognition, but certainly my agent Dan Segal and Everton Football Club working with Kroenke Sports & Entertainment. Josh Kroenke, Paul, Tim, I appreciate all of the long, hard conversations we had over the course of a few months to finally get this deal done. 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. 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."
On looking back on his career and what he’s accomplished…
I’ve always been someone who handles doors opening and closing very easily. Everton is always in my heart, it’s the club I spent ten years at. But it’s a new chapter, a new challenge, it’s something I’m hungry for here. 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 things 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.
On how excited he is to get on the field…
This will ultimately be an 18-month season for me. 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. As Paul was saying it was just great to get out there, pull that shirt on and be with the guys.
On being able to reach 100 appearances for the club…
I’m fitter at 37 than I was at 27. I hire my own physios, my own acupuncturists, I’ve got countless amounts of equipment in my house to make sure I’m fit and ready and able. What gives me my fire is competition. As soon as games come I can start yelling at people and yelling at myself, yelling at the referees and doing what I do best. This offseason will be great. It’ll be great to get away for four weeks and sit on the beach, but right now, physically there is no problem.
On what he has been told about this team to get him fired up and ready to play…
I mentioned when I first did some media back in March that this was a process. KSE has bought in, Transamerica has bought in. All of the players have bought in, the coaching staff, everyone has bought in to this project. When you don’t get the results in the last couple of years, of course it’s easy to downplay it, but I could see it. The promises that were made to me, the conversations that were had about bringing players in. Those players were brought in. The talk about having a good, solid core of young hungry American kids, that’s there. So I think a lot of the things we talked about on the inside were true, and unfortunately for people on the outside, you don’t get to see that when the results come.
On if someone specific convinced him to come to Colorado…
There were things about these discussions that felt right. I didn’t think they were selling me a bill of goods, it felt genuine. That was the biggest part of it for me. There’s no place I’d rather be. Once I finished having those discussions, it was Denver for sure.
On the difference in playing for Everton or the Rapids or the national team...
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.
Tim Hinchey, President
It is a special day to be here at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. It’s been—it seems like—a long journey, but we’re very excited that this day has finally arrived. With that, there are a few thank you’s I’d like to make. Some people that have made great contributions and obviously it starts with Tim choosing us which we appreciate. I also want to make sure I thank Transamerica. They’ve been a phenomenal shirt sponsor for us. It’s amazing to be around a company that has shared values, like values. They believe in our vision for the club.
Paul Bravo, VP of Soccer Operations and Technical Director
"Just to echo some of Tim Hinchey’s words, I want to thank ownership for their strong support from Day One. They’ve been behind us working to try and make this happen, certainly our executive leadership, my team with Pablo, with Pádraig [Smith], with Claudio [Lopez], with Tim [Hinchey] and our head scout—which, it doesn’t take much to scout Tim Howard. It truly is a great time, we believe, to be a part of this club.
Obviously where we sit in the standings is just one piece of it. And 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. 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.
The stature of the club continues to grow and we believe that we are an emerging club in this league. This is just a small step, but certainly all of the people behind the scenes make this happen along with the support of Transamerica. I was telling Tim earlier today that the relief that we felt walking out there yesterday and seeing Tim Howard training with the team, putting on the jersey… [It] certainly puts things in perspective from my end having been around this club for a long time, and it truly puts us into a new era that is MLS."
Pablo Mastroeni, Head Coach
What you’ve seen over the course of the last two years is these investments through our scouting, through Paul’s work and Tim and Pádraig and Claudio, continues to have a huge impact to our performances, especially this year. Last year was Kevin [Doyle], this year we brought in Shkelzen Gashi, we brought in Jermaine Jones, and now we have this mid-season gift in Tim Howard.
It’s funny because if you think about professional sports, you start a certain way and you get to a point and you feel like the expectations are the same. You’ve got to keep winning, but you can’t keep doing it from the same place, there’s got to be some type of ignition, something that’s going to bring a catalyst to the group, something that’s going to re-focus the group, re-energize the group. Initially when we talked about bringing Tim Howard to the team and we found out that it couldn’t be until mid-summer, I thought, ‘This is not good.’
I want us to start off the right way. And as the games kept going on, it was the best case scenario for the group. Now we have a guy that’s proven. We have a guy that’s an outstanding character off the field, on the field. 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.
Tim, I’m really excited to be working with you as a competitor, as a winner, and I think there are a lot of great moments ahead for this group. It’s a great moment to be part of this organization and a great time to be a head coach overlooking a lot of great players, a lot of great young men and guys that have a lot to achieve. Hopefully we get you out on the field quickly and get going, but we’re excited to have you.