The 27-year-old Ethan Horvath has made the United States Men’s National Soccer Team ( USMNT) World Cup Tournament roster. The tall and amiable custodian of my goal boxes throughout his steadily rising career will soon become the first Colorado native to represent the United States at a Men’s World Cup
The kid who once played soccer in metro Denver’s Highlands Ranch neighborhood joins the likes of Coloradoan’s Mallory Pugh and Lindsey Horan who have represented the state and country in Women’s World Cup play.
Team USA’s skipper, Gregg Berhalter said the decision to select Horvath over fellow goalkeeper Zach Steffen was not easy. “Really difficult. There’s a lot of emotion involved for both him and me. Me and Zack go way back, and Zack’s been there for me a bunch of times.”
Berhalter said during a meeting with members of the media. “And to tell him he’s not going to be part of the World Cup team was heartbreaking for me.
Berhalter named goalkeepers - Matt Turner, Sean Johnson and Horvath to his FIFA 16th ranked roster.
It is fair to say Steffen not being named to team comes as a shock to him and his fans.
Berhalter explained his rational. “You know, it’s more about what we have with the three goalkeepers listed on the roster where we feel great. You feel really good about Matt Turner in these last six months. We know Ethan Horvath has been competing at a good level in the Championship.”
He continued, “And Sean Johnson has been a mainstay in this group since day one. So we’re comfortable with that.”
He went on to add, “I think it’s more about who we do have and the comfort level with the guys that are on the roster. We felt really comfortable with Turner, Horvath and Johnson, and that’s the direction we decided to go. Those are decisions that we made as a staff and we move forward and now it’s about... well, who do we have in camp and how are we going to be successful?’”
Horvath will depart his EPL Championship club, Luton Town to join up with the rest of the Yanks shortly.
The U.S. are set to face Wales, England and Iran in Qatar in Group B play in just a matter of a few weeks. Their opener against Wales is set for November 21.
Horvath is on loan from Nottingham Forest, and has amassed eight shutouts the Sky Bet Championship play.
“Ethan is a guy that always responds when his number’s called. Let’s not forget, this is a guy that got subbed into the Championship final last year and was able to hold on and get the team to victory,” Berhalter said at his media roundtable.
“He subbed on to our Nations League final, if you guys remember that, and ended up saving the penalty kick. He’s a guy that’s Johnny on the spot – if you need him, he’s ready. And I think that’s valuable in a World Cup type of competition.”
Horvath came up huge in Denver’s Mile High Stadium on the evening of June 6, 2021.
The senior Yanks were hosting a testy Mexico side in the CONCACAF Nations League tournament finale, and the 6’ 4” keeper, with arms as long as branches on a Maple tree, made the save of his international career in the 124th minute of play.
Before a patriotic home town crowd that was roaring to near defining heights, Horvath entered the game in the second half to replace injured starter Zack Steffen. He held his own through stoppage time and again in the penalty kick rounds.
The ever focused focused Horvath stared down Mexico’s national team captain, Andrés Guardado, who was standing tall at the larger-than-life penalty spot during the game’s second overtime penalty shootout.
Seconds after the referee’s whistle blew, the left-footed Guardado swatted the ball low and to his left side. Horvath dove down to his right and slapped the ball high away.
In that grand minute of U.S. Soccer national team play, another American soccer icon was made, lion heart- Ethan Shea Horvath.
Hometown hero came up .— U.S. Men's National Soccer Team (@USMNT) June 7, 2021
Ethan Horvath was INCREDIBLE last night. pic.twitter.com/v2IwRkIQYU
When the final whistle sounded, the determined, in-your-face Yanks defied the odds by downing Team Mexico, again.
Fireworks flew, confetti spewed, and the lingering crowd roared when Horvath was awarded a champions’ medallion on the team’s makeshift awards ceremony stage.
Perhaps Horvath will bring good luck to the Yanks during their World Cup play. The Stars and Stripes are considered to be in the most competitive group by virtue of their opponents rank in the FIFA table.
They will face No. 19 Wales first, then a very strong No. 5 England, and conclude the opening round against No. 20 Iran.