American Exports: Tim Howard says he won't return to MLS after Everton deal

Everton's Tim Howard

Photo Credit: 
Reuters

Major League Soccer fans hoping to one day see Tim Howard back in the league where he started are out of luck.

In a report posted on Friday on ESPNFC.com, the longtime US national team goalkeeper said he will not play after his current deal with Everton expires in 2018.

Howard, 35, signed a contract extension with Everton last week that will carry him until after his 39th birthday, and apparently the new deal came at the expense of any MLS teams courting his favor.

"Up until last week it was a possibility," Howard told ESPNFC of a potential MLS return. "But I think that ship has sailed for me now. I think MLS had its chance, if I'm being honest, but now I'll finish my career with Everton and be a happy man."

Howard began his career with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars in 1998 and eventually left the club in 2003 for a deal with Manchester United. He joined Everton in 2007 and has been one of the English Premier League’s steadiest goalkeepers ever since, prompting Everton boss Roberto Martinez to dub him “the best goalkeeper in the league” at the news of his new contract with the club last week.

Despite that praise, however, Howard insisted that he won’t trudge on past 2018, which would mark his 15th season in the EPL.

"I'll be on a beach somewhere when I'm 40," Howard said. "I would pretty much take that to the bank that I won't be playing past 40. There are other things I want to achieve in life, other things that I want to do."

For now, however, Howard is the de facto starting goalkeeper for the US when they open the World Cup in June, marking his second straight cycle as the man to beat in net. The USMNT is expected to convene its camp in Palo Alto, Calif., in mid-May.