Tim Howard’s good year got better Thursday when he received the highest praise from the U.S. Soccer Federation.
Howard was named U.S. Soccer’s 2014 Male Athlete of the Year in recognition of his fine performances with the United States men’s national soccer team this year. Howard won the award by vote, as players, coaches and select media chose him over runners-up Jermaine Jones and Kyle Beckerman by a healthy margin, according to USSoccer.com.
“It’s an honor,” Howard said on ESPN “SportsCenter. “I know the winners on the list who have come before me, so it’s special to have my name up there. The whole ride with the team for about a month and a half, when we got together for training camp and we flew down to Brazil, we had a really good time and that made 2014 so special to me.”
Howard claimed U.S. Soccer’s Athlete of the Year award for the second time in his career (he previously won in 2008), joining Marcelo Balboa, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan and Kasey Keller as multi-year award winners.
Howard earned 64 percent of the votes. Jones finished second with 19 percent, and Beckerman was third with 11 percent.
Howard broke records for a U.S. national team goalkeeper in 2014, passing overtaking Kasey Keller for first place on the career wins (55) and appearances (102) lists. Howard’s stellar performances at the 2014 FIFA World Cup also made him a national figure in the United States.
After the tournament, Howard announced that he would take a one-year sabbatical from national-team duty. Howard remains the starting goalkeeper for Premier League club Everton.