LANDOVER, Md. – Whenever he's been asked about it of late, US national team star Clint Dempsey doesn't hesitate: He wants to play for a Champions League club in Europe.
He may have one year left on his Fulham contract, but Dempsey's ambition is public knowledge and he has repeated it on multiple occasions.
USMNT manager Jurgen Klinsmann applauds the ambition and encourages it from his players.
"I think every one of them, including this guy here, they have a chance to reach another level," said Klinsmann, who was seated alongside US goalkeeper Tim Howard during a Tuesday press conference. "For Tim, maybe it’s a Champions League team, for Clint Dempsey, it’s a Champions League team. For Michael Bradley, it’s a Champions League team. Because that's where the crème de la crème is playing in Europe. We want them to stay hungry and have those goals."
But Klinsmann will probably not be throwing Howard's name in those "Champions League" hopeful lists any time soon. And that's not just because Howard recently extended his contract with EPL side Everton through 2016.
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The 33-year-old had some strong words on the subject of players angling for moves to other clubs.
"I think too many players talk about other clubs and it’s disrespectful," Howard told MLSsoccer.com. "Everton is a big club. It matches my ambitions. We can win things there. We’re challenging for cups and we’re trying to push ourselves up the league.
Though he admitted he couldn't predict where the rest of his career would take him, he maintained that he was focused on his job with Everton for the time being.
"I don’t know what’s going to happen in my career," said Howard, who played in the UEFA Champions League with Manchester United prior to his Everton move. "I have a job to do. I have to work hard for that and I don’t know what’s around the corner. But I think it’s ultra-disresectful to speak about another club or wanting to move. I don’t want to move. I’m happy where I am. What’s around the corner for me is Everton right now until someone tells me different."