Podcast: Olympic goalie Tim Howard on living with Tourettes, being an honorary Globetrotter and the growth of MLS
Nov 23, 2011, 4:35 PM EDT
U.S. Olympic soccer team goaltender and all around nice (and funny!) guy Tim Howard was nice enough to take a few minutes to speak on the first ever Off the Bench podcast, Harassing the Pros With Josiah Schlatter. For the audio haters out there, we’ve included some highlights below. Link to the podcast HERE.
Do you miss America now that you have to go and make all of that money in Europe?
I enjoy my life in Manchester. I’ve got a nice mix. I’ve been here for nine years. Will I be back in the states? Absolutely.
You have Jurgen Klinsmann as your new national team coach. You guys have started off a little shaky, but that’s to be expected with a new coach and system. When do you guys think it’ll come together and you’ll start playing to your full potential?
Like you pointed out, there’s a new coach and system and new young players and quite frankly, U.S. soccer has scheduled a bunch of games that aren’t pushovers, that will be very difficult for us. He’s made no secret about the fact that he wants us to go into these big arenas against very difficult opponents. We’ll go through those growing pains, those learning curves. We’re going to get there.
You’ve been living in Europe for the past nine years. Feel changed at all?
Saying this as an American, the pacing in Europe is a little bit slower. It’s been good. It’s made me well rounded as a soccer player but it’s made me gain perspective as a person. I think when you travel and you realize the world isn’t that little comfort zone of home. It’s a big place.
You were a very good high school basketball player. Did you ever imagine yourself in the NBA or was soccer always the goal?
I think my ultimate dream was to play in the NBA but I think it’s passed me by. I’ve had aspirations to play on the national team at the highest level for soccer as well, and I’m doing that. More realistic. I love basketball, of course.
What was your position?
Probably more of a 2-guard, or a small forward.
You won the Humanitarian of the Year award in 2001 for Tourette’s research. Can you tell me a little bit about growing up with Tourettes and how you overcame it to be where you are now?
Yeah, it’s well documented, my life with Tourettes. It’s all about having a strong family, being strong minded and having a good support system behind you. My family’s been great, always been there for me to push me to my limits and beyond. It’s just a part of who I am. It’s not really an issue in my life. I deal with it, I make people aware of it and it’s important to me.
I heard you got elected to be a Globetrotter, why’d you turn that down?
I actually didn’t, I’m an honorary member and one of these days I’ll join them for a game or two. I have a jersey they made for me so one day I’ll have that framed up on my wall.
What is going to be your special talent when you play for them? A crazy backflip? Anything soccer related?
Maybe a header into the basket, but we’ll see. Halfcourt shot is my specialty.
MLS is growing and growing, but the Euro soccer leagues are much bigger and more popular. Do you ever see a day when MLS rivals the European soccer leagues in attendance and popularity?
I do, I do. It seems far fetched but at the moment it’s growing and it’s going to take some time. some European teams are 100 years old, and MLS teams are 20, or less. It’ll take some time. Americans love winners. If you’re exciting and fun to watch and winning they’ll come out, and it’s ten times better now then when I was in the league eight or nine years ago so I’m looking forward to coming back one day. Everyone will have their own stadiums with big and nasty fan bases, and I’m sure it can rival some of the Euro leagues, without question.
Have you ever asked a coach to stick you in at midfield or striker just for fun?
No, no! You have to be careful what you wish for at this level. Quite honestly, I don’t think I’m good enough anymore.
Next week’s podcast: Doug Flutie.
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