Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard reiterated that he wants to return to the U.S. men’s national team in September as he looks toward competing for a spot on coach Jurgen Klinsmann's 2018 World Cup squad in Russia.
Howard told SI.com in March that he would be available to compete for the squad during World Cup qualifying as long as Klinsmann wanted him on the team.
The U.S. is preparing for the 2015 Gold Cup with a pair of friendlies, the first coming against the Netherlands on Friday and a June 10 match against Germany.
Howard said he took time off after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil to spend more time with his family and children.
”After I spoke with Jurgen, I just decided to take this year off and then come back into the fold if I was fit, healthy and playing next September,” Howard said, according to Everton's website. “I’ll integrate myself back into the team if they will still have me and go from there and see what happens."
Howard, 36, played in 42 games across all competitions for Everton this season.
Howard says he is pleased with the way soccer is progressing in the United States.
“It's not easy in America as soccer is not the number one sport as it is everywhere else in the world," he said, according to Everton's website. "But it's come on leaps and bounds and I think what people appreciate about the US team is we're never really out of any game. We're a bunch of guys who graft, work hard and don't understand the meaning of the word 'no.'"
- Scooby Axson