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The Importance of Tim Howard

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Not sure if you knew this, but Tim Howard is in town

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Editor's Note (so I guess this is my note): Tim Howard is being introduced today at 2:00 PM at Dick's Sporting Goods Park and it is being shown live on coloradorapids.com and on Altitude Sports Television.

*****

Let me tell you about my Sunday.

I was expecting it to be a nice and quiet afternoon watching footy.  The Colorado Rapids were not on the telly which means a lighter weekend for me.  And then my buddy called and needed some help:

So I went over there to help him out and take care of a pretty interesting tree situation.  When it was all done we headed over to some neighbors for some celebratory beers and we got to talking about what I do for a living.  My day job is working for a financial institution in Denver Metro, but these folks are soccer fans who were way more interested in my *side gig* covering the Rapids.  They had heard that Tim Howard was signed by the Rapids and that they were finally ready to go see a game.  Obviously, I spoke highly of the team and the direction they were going, but for these folks they were finally going to go to a game.

They were going to go to see Tim Howard.

The Fourth of July game is coming up and it is the (historically) largest crowd that the Rapids get in the season.  I am once again a season ticket holder and I am unable to make it to the game as a fan (I will be in the press box) so I gave my tickets away and for one of the people who took the tickets was excited about seeing Tim Howard.  It didn't matter that the Rapids have Kevin Doyle or Dillon Serna or Jermaine Jones.  Howard was the reason they were going.

So let that sink in for a minute:  The Rapids have a player that people are paying money to see.

QUICK: how many other times has that happened?

(crickets, crickets, crickets)

For the longest time the Rapids Front Office would advertise when opposing players were the draw.   How many times did we see the team advertise that the Rapids were playing:

the Montreal Impact featuring Didier Drogba

the LA Galaxy featuring Landon Donovan and David Beckham

the Seattle Sounders featuring Clint Dempsey.

the New York Red Bulls featuring Thierry Henry

Sweet Jeepers I hate when the Rapids do that.  I mean, I am not going to see other players, but to see the Burgundy Boys.  But I get it.  You need to do that to get the crowds out for a team, and let's be honest here, that has been bad.

But now we have that type of player in Tim Howard.  People are going to come and see him play.

And that is OK.

Sure, there are those out there who think that we are just doing that to put butts in the seats and it is not about the quality of the soccer or the quality of the goalkeeper.

Yeah, and?

Look, we have been critical of the Front Office this past off-season.  They were navigating a sinking ship and they were systematically pulling board by board off the ship to see how far they could take it before it sunk.  We have not been the most kind publication out there that covers the Rapids and at times this has pissed folks off.  Whether it was the FO or fans, we know we upset some out there because of our, at times, negative and dark view of the club.

But the Rapids Front Office deserves our praise and our kudos for turning this around and creating a team that is now first in all of Major League Soccer.  And the signing of Howard may be the biggest of some damn major moves this off-season.

Because you see, Tim Howard has made the Rapids relevant to the average sports fan in the United States.  That average fan knows who Howard is.  They probably don't know who Eric Miller or Axel Sjoberg or Micheal Azira are and while that is a shame, it is also the reality of the sport in the United States.  Soccer in America is still in its infancy when it comes to importance in the mind of the American sporting public.

Maybe for some, that is fine.  Maybe folks don't care that Soccer is not that popular in the USA, but if we are ever going to become a mainstream sport that captures the national media and is in the consciousness of the American people: we need to be important and relevant.

And that is why Tim Howard is so bloody important.

He is a figure that the American Sports fan knows.  They remember him from his time as the USMNT keeper.  They remember him as the "Secretary of Defense" after the 2014 World Cup.

There are not many soccer players, in US Soccer history, that the average American knows of.

But they know Howard.

And Tim Howard plays for the Colorado Rapids.

Certainly the amazing start to the season has helped get the Rapids back into the thoughts of the soccer public, but getting Tim Howard has gotten people talking about the Burgundy Boys.

Again:

PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE COLORADO RAPIDS.

And if Tim Howard does nothing else while he is in Burgundy he has done something so critical:

He has folks talking about the Colorado Rapids.

And that is what makes him so very important to this club, this fanbase, this league.

So to you Mr. Howard: welcome to Colorado and we can't wait to see you get going.