Number 11: Tim Howard Position: Goalkeeper Country: United States of America Club Team: Everton, English Premier League American Based Professional Athlete “Soulmate”: Brian Urlacher, Linebacker, Chicago Bears Let’s face it – we all knew that another American was going to make this list of 32 players to watch. Some considered Landon as the obvious next choice, but all American soccer fans will be watching the USMNT poster boy regardless of his inclusion on this list. Tim
Howard is a player to watch this summer in South Africa because of how easy he makes his job look. For a few days now Jon, Neil and I have been trying to describe Timmy. By no means is he the greatest goalkeeper in the world; that title currently belongs to Mr. Scarf Buffon. However, Timmy is not far away from the bar set by our previous member of the players to watch series. While he is not the best goalkeeper currently on the planet, he is regarded worldwide as a member of the upper echelon of international goalkeeping. His eight save clean sheet against the then world number one during the Confederations Cup proved his potential to dominate a game. That game, as well as excellent performances against Egypt and Brazil won him the Golden Gloves Award. Howard has carried on the long tradition of excellent American goalkeeping that includes both Kasey Keller and Brad Friedel. How does Timmy make all these saves look so easy? Any goalkeeper in any sport will tell you it all comes down to one thing, positioning. As a former lacrosse goalkeeper for over a decade, (different sport I know, but the same principles apply) I have some understanding of the importance of front of the goal positioning. Having perfect positioning can make difficult saves look routine, and more importantly, it gives you the opportunity to make the freakishly shocking saves against balls bound for the back of the net. Another important aspect of Howard’s game is his total domination of the 18-yard box. During the run of play, he is the only big swinging dick running the show – follow Timmy’s directions to get the hell out of his way. The majority of people will not be watching Timmy for the little goalkeeping intricacies that some soccer dorks (like us here at TYAC) will be doing. They will watch our favorite bald man for the, “Holy shit! I am real glad we brought that guy” moments during
the group stages. Mark my words, Timmy Howard will make at least one miraculous save that will keep us in, or win a game for the USA this June. Choosing an American Sports Soulmate for Timmy was a bit of a difficult task. The first instinct was to find some athlete with Tourette’s Syndrome, but that just seemed cheap and lazy. The next option was going with another hockey net minder, but that has been done before. Then it hit me, Brian Urlacher. At list point, Jon and Amy S. should try and contain their hard-ons. Why Urlacher? Glad you asked. First of all, he is considered to be one of the best linebackers in football,
and debatably one of the best ever. Urlacher also comes from a long line of Chicago Bears linebackers including, but certainly not limited to, Mike Singletary and Dick Butkus. Behind the defensive line, he runs to show. Just like Tim Howard, get out of his way, or you will get hurt. But why do we all love Brian Urlacher? Again, it’s for those moments when we jump up off the couch as say, “Fuck! I think he killed that guy.” For the Bears sake and Jon’s sanity, here is to hoping for a great return from injury for Urlacher, and the continued domination of Tim Howard. While this is one of my more serious posts, I do feel like it needs to end in true Puck fashion. I am going to try out a new little segment, something I like to call, Puck’s Free Advice: Never fry bacon naked. Sorry for partying. Puck is the pop culture guru for The Yanks Are Coming. He can be reached at email@example.com.