Tim Howard is good at blocking everything that comes his way—including soccer controversies.
The USMNT World Cup 2014 star was in New York City on Thursday to promote the $1million #TakeOnTim fan challenge—five lucky participants will be flown to Las Vegas to take a shot at a penalty kick against Howard—and during his press event, he tiptoed around everything FIFA.
Is FIFA's decision to stage the Women's World Cup on artificial turf sexist, a charge leveled against the organization by more than 40 international players in a since-dropped lawsuit? Howard's answer was equivocal. "I've had to play on turf and I didn't have a choice," he said. "With all the money being put into these big tournaments surely they should have been playing on real grass (but) it's too late to make any changes now." Howard did concede that it's unfortunate that female players have to deal with playing on turf, despite the health concerns voiced by American star Sydney Leroux and others.
Howard also avoided taking a hard stance on the international corruption scandal and U.S. Justice Department investigation and indictments engulfing FIFA. "Look, I'm just a spectator. I'm very interested to see where it's going," he said. "FIFA at the highest level is political like any other organization but I can assure you the game on the field is pure."
Howard did state that Sepp Blatter's decision to step down as FIFA President was a bold move and a good thing for the game, but also offered a line of praise for Blatter and how he was able to grow international soccer. "Sometimes organizations need to take stock and clean themselves up if need be," Howard said.
"That's why our President gets only two terms."