United States goalkeeper Tim Howard first made a name for himself in MLS, earning a transfer to Manchester United. ((Alastair Grant/Associated Press))


Born: March 6, 1979, in North Brunswick, N.J.

Position: Goalkeeper

Nickname: T-Ho

Clubs played for: Howard was a star goalkeeper with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars, making his Major League Soccer debut in 1998. Howard was named MLS goalkeeper of the year in 2001, and two years later he earned a high-profile move to Manchester United. Howard took the Premiership by storm in his first season, but was eventually replaced by Dutch veteran Edwin van der Sar and joined Everton in 2006.

International career: Howard started out with the U.S. junior team at the 1999 World Youth Championship and was a member of the 2000 Olympic squad before making his debut with the senior side in 2002. Since then, he has become the first choice goalkeeper for the U.S., backstopping the Americans to victory in the final of the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Why is he so special? Howard is another in a long line of excellent American goalkeepers, who combines great shot-blocking skills with the ability to make athletic, highlight reel saves.

His most famous moment: Howard earned his 16th shutout of the 2008-09 Premier League campaign on May 9 against Tottenham to eclipse the Everton single-season record set by Neville Southall in 1996.

He said it: "A goalkeeper is only as good as his back four and I've been very lucky [at Everton]. The guys in front of me have been amazing and have been making it easy for me."

What they're saying about him: "When you have a reliable keeper, your chances of success improve dramatically and in Tim Howard, Everton have got one of the best in the business." - Nigel Martyn, former Everton goalkeeper

Here's an interesting fact: Howard suffers from Tourette's syndrome, a neurological disorder that causes nervous tics and uncontrolled verbal outbursts.