To be a world class goalkeeper, you must possess three traits: composure, flexibility and, above everything else, precision. US international and MLS star Tim Howard ticks all three boxes and then some.
Tim Howard is a veteran of the US international team, having made over 100 appearances for the squad since first lacing up his boots for them in 2002. He has become arguably the most recognizable figure of the team in the process, with his entertaining style of goalkeeping garnering him fans worldwide. Now he has aptly been named as the brand ambassador of TAG Heuer, the celebrated Swiss watchmaker that shares the same dedication to precision as the ‘keeper’.
After recently leading the US soccer team to victory in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, nearly two decades after his debut appearance for the squad, like TAG Heuer, Howard knows what it takes to remain reliable, making him the perfect fit as the new face of the brand. To celebrate Howard’s precision and his dedication to his craft, let’s take a look at the goalkeeper’s most legendary saves:
Everton vs Southampton
In the early stages of Everton’s match against Southampton in the 2014-15 Premier League season, Tim Howard pulled off one of the best saves of his career after diving backwards into the mouth of his goal, denying a volleyed effort from Graziano Pelle. With Pelle’s shot looping above him, Howard looked like he was going to be left standing in its wake, though the US international slapped the ball back into play just before it crossed the line. Everton went on to win 1-0, with Howard’s confident performance earning him a clean sheet.
France vs USA
Friendly or not, Howard was on his A game during USA’s match against France. With the formidable figure of Karim Benzema in front of him, Howard remained composed and somehow managed to stretch far enough to prevent the Real Madrid talisman from launching his free kick into the goal. “My goodness me, how did he do that?!” commentator Clive Tyldesley exclaimed, with everyone watching the wonder save thinking exactly the same thing.
Everton vs Aston Villa
There’s nothing more nerve-wracking for a goalkeeper than being tasked with defending a penalty, but Tim Howard showcased his pinpoint precision when up against Aston Villa back in 2013. In the opening 10 minutes of Everton’s match against the West Midlands club, Howard soared to his right and successfully palmed Christian Benteke’s penalty kick above the crossbar with his left hand. The save proved vital, completely deflating the hopes of their rival team, including fellow US ‘keeper Brad Guzan. As Everton marched to a 2-0 win, it was clear who was the victor in the goalies’ all-American clash.
USA vs Belgium
There’s no definitive Tim Howard save from the World Cup 2014 that belongs on this list, because the entire event was a masterful performance from the ‘keeper. Howard’s showing on the grand stage made him a household name, with him deflecting shot after shot in order to keep the US in the tournament. However, his greatest showing came during his team’s match against Belgium, in which he broke a World Cup record by saving 16 shots made over the course of the 90 minutes and change, earning Man of the Match in the process.
Though the US were ultimately knocked out by their Belgian rivals, eventually losing 2-1, Howard’s performance during this match transformed the goalie into something of a meme. Despite him exiting the World Cup, “things Tim Howard could save” began trending with fans Photoshopping images of him coming to the rescue during pivotal moments in history, including saving the dinosaurs from extinction (pictured, above). The World Cup remains the pinnacle of Howard’s career, and was emblematic of the steely resolve that has defined his career.
Chicago Fire vs Colorado Rapids
Even if you’ve already made a spectacular save as a goalkeeper, you must remain immediately prepared for how your rival team will respond. Tim Howard showcased his ability to do just that in the Colorado Rapids’ match against Chicago Fire, in which he deflected David Accam’s shot from the center of the box, before going on to slide in and save a further two attempts on goal.
Arsenal vs Everton
Throughout his career, Tim Howard became known for his incredible reflexes when it came to reaching seemingly impossible shots, deflecting them away from his net with his hands, feet, and just about every other body part that he had at his disposal. However, tucked among these wonder saves are examples of him making the difficult look easy, like this save against Arsenal in the Premier League. Responding to a headed shot destined to go into the Everton goal, Howard coolly snatches it from out of the air, keeping his team in the game in the process.
New York Red Bulls vs Colorado Rapids
With him having enjoyed a lengthy career that most soccer players could only dream of, Tim Howard is still pulling off game-changing saves in the MLS. Back in March of this year, the ‘keeper made full use of his body when defending a shot from New York Red Bulls’ Bradley Wright-Phillips, preventing what looked to be a certain goal by knocking the ball away with his foot.
Everton vs Bolton
Tim Howard’s precision wasn’t only evidenced by his legendary saves. During a match against Bolton back in 2012, Howard scored a freak goal from Everton’s penalty box, with his wind-assisted goal kick effortlessly bouncing into his opponents’ net. Howard’s goal made him one of very few goalscoring goalkeepers in Premier League history, cementing him in the record books yet again.