Tim Howard bid Goodison Park an emotional farewell on Sunday. Howard, bound for the Colorado Rapids in MLS, played over 400 matches for Everton dating back to 2006 when he was on loan from Manchester United. Over the past decade, Howard became a fan favorite for the Toffees and was in goal for most of the clubs biggest successes since he arrived.
Howard has also achieved plenty of personal accolades during his time in England, maybe none more important than being an ambassador for his country during a time when more and more Americans began heading to Europe. Now that he’s headed back to the USA, it’s time for a look back at Howard’s most memorable moments for Everton.
1. His clean sheet record
The measure of any goalie usually comes down to the number of goals conceded, and Howard has been a reliable shot stopper for Everton for a decade. With Everton’s 3-0 win Sunday against Norwich City Howard reached 132 clean sheets in the Premier League. That ties fellow countryman Brad Friedel with the most by an American in England. But 132 clean sheets also puts Howard in the top ten of all Premier League keepers, one place ahead of Peter Schmeichel. Not the worst company be in.
2. His goal
He may have been great at keeping the ball out of the net, but that didn’t stop him from firing one in from distance back in 2012. Ok, that is a bit of an exaggeration, it was a windy night and the ball took a large bounce over the Bolton’s Adam Bogdan, who was well off his line. Nevertheless, it was a memorable moment. Howard even showed some class by not celebrating, because as he later said “For our goal I was disappointed from a goalkeepers’ union standpoint. You never want to see that happen. It’s not nice, it’s embarrassing, so I felt for Adam but you have to move on from it.”
3. His 100th clean sheet
Back in May 2013, Everton was on the cusp of doing something they hadn’t done since 1937, which was finish ahead of local rivals Liverpool in consecutive seasons. That month was the Merseyside Derby and Liverpool needed to win if they hoped to pass Everton in the table. Howard, sitting on 99 clean sheets, kept the Reds from scoring at Anfield and he reached his milestone. If not for a disallowed goal, the visitors would have won, giving Everton their first win at Anfield since 1999. They would have to settle for the draw, however, but Howard’s clean sheet meant they would once again finish above Liverpool. Everton ended the season in fifth place.
4. His matches played streak
Starting in September of 2007, and running until a finger injury kept him out of a match against Reading, Howard amassed 210 consecutive Premier League appearances. Slightly unfortunate, however, because it meant he was just two starts shy of Neville Southall’s club record. But regardless, the 210 matches that Howard started was a testament to his consistency. Never being dropped because of form or injury, Howard became an automatic choice for his manager. He was in his 20s when his streak began, and when it ended he was in his mid-30s. An impressive feat in any sport.
5. His FA cup heroics
In the 2009 FA Cup semi-final at Wembley Stadium, Tim Howard faced his former club Manchester United. In the end, Howard would come out on top as he made two crucial saves when the match went to penalties. Howard had kept things scoreless for 120 minutes, and when Dimitar Berbatov and Rio Ferdinand stepped up to take United’s first two penalties, the American goalkeeper was there to stop them. Phil Jagielka converted the winning penalty and the club mobbed Howard. Everton would go on to lose in the Final to Chelsea, but Howard’s heroics on such a big stage began to put him on the map. It was a reputation that would only grow in the future especially in the next two World Cups.
As he was given a guard of honor Sunday at Goodison Park the Evertonians began chanting U-S-A, in honor of their long-time keeper. If that doesn’t sum up what Howard has meant for the Everton fans, nothing will. There are surely a lot more Colorado Rapids fans in Liverpool now.