United States national team goalkeeper Tim Howard will leave Premier League club Everton at the end of the season to join Colorado Rapids as one of their three designated players, the Major League Soccer (MLS) team said on Sunday.
Howard, 37, has spent the last 13 years in English soccer, including 10 seasons with Everton for whom he has made a club-record 352 top-flight appearances.
“Tim is exceptional, both as a player and a person,” Paul Bravo, technical director and vice-president of soccer operations for the Rapids, said in a statement.
“He proved it at the last World Cup for the US national team and he has been proving it for the last decade in the English Premier League.
“He has experience at the very pinnacle of the sport but we feel he has much still to offer on the pitch. We believe this is a pivotal signing for the Colorado Rapids.”
Howard, who has earned 106 caps since making his international debut in 2002, will join the Rapids in MLS’s secondary transfer window on July 4.
“I will remain an Evertonian for life,” Howard was quoted as saying on Everton’s official website (www.evertonfc.com). “This will always be my team, my club.
“I sacrificed so much to play the amount of games I have over a 10-year period, so I will continue to support this club that I love,” added Howard, who will assume an informal ambassadorial role for Everton after his departure.
“And because this is home of course I will miss it but I’m excited about my move to Colorado Rapids and continuing my career with them.”
The designated player rule allows MLS teams to sign up to three players whose total compensation and acquisition costs exceed the maximum budget charge, with the club responsible for finding the money to cover the difference.
Howard has represented the US at three World Cups (2006, 2010 and 2014) and was voted goalkeeper of the year in 2013, 2014 and 2015 by CONCACAF, the soccer confederation for North and Central America and the Caribbean.