A big part of Major League Soccer is finding out which big name players join the league from abroad during the transfer windows. On Sunday morning a long-rumored name from that category became official.
American goalkeeper Tim Howard, arguably the most widely known currently active American soccer player following his standout showing in the 2014 World Cup, will join the Colorado Rapids in the summer. Howard is currently with Everton in the Barclays Premier League and the Rapids had to pay a transfer fee to acquire him.
Howard, 37, will finish Everton's season and join the Rapids following the opening of the summer transfer window on July 4, according to the Rapids' release. Howard began his career in MLS with the New York/New Jersey Metrostars (now the New York Red Bulls), where he played for six seasons. He has since spent the past 13 years in England, initially joining Manchester United before heading to Everton in 2006. He has more than 300 appearances for Everton, but lost his starting job in the middle of this season.
Howard was called into the U.S. National Team's roster, which was also announced on Sunday, for the two qualifiers against Guatemala on March 25 and 29.
Jermaine Jones, another starter from that 2014 World Cup team, also recently signed with the Rapids. Jones signed just before the start of the MLS season and is currently serving a six-game suspension for an outburst at a referee in the 2015 MLS playoffs.
For a local connection, this move puts the Chicago Fire back in the No. 1 spot in the allocation order. The Fire, which had the No. 1 spot entering the offseason after finishing last in the league in 2015, had traded with the Rapids on draft day. The Fire swapped spots in the allocation order with the Rapids, who held the No. 2 spot, and moved up from picks Nos. 15 and 33 to Nos. 12 and 22 in the draft.
At the time, the trade looked like the Fire moved up in the draft for free and it has played out that way. Howard will join the Rapids as a Designated Player and the Fire do not have an open DP slot at the moment so they wouldn't have been able to acquire Howard anyway. Now, the Fire will be back at the top spot in the allocation order just like before.