MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis 901 FC minority owner Tim Howard is taking on a new role with the team.
On Wednesday, principal owner Peter Freund and club president Craig Unger named Howard the new sporting director.
“There is no one who cares more deeply about this organization,” said Freund.
Howard was America’s goalkeeper with Team USA in World Cup competition. He spent 13 years in English Premier League at Manchester United and Everton.
Howard retired this past summer, but he says he didn’t want to step away from the game entirely.
"Everything I know and that I have in my life that is good is because of futbol,” Howard said. “It's in direct relation to futbol, and so I never wanted to retire and go too far away from the game. It was important that I gave back."
Howard says he knows the new role comes with new challenges, but he’s looking forward to growing as a sports executives.
Another thing he’s looking forward to: being the boss of his former coach and current Memphis 901FC head coach Tim Mulqueen.
"I'm now firmly the boss just so you know,” Howard said jokingly. "Tim Mulqueen and I go back to when I was 10 years old. He was a coach to me and became a mentor, and then I saw him grow with the U.S. National team, youth teams, MLS teams, he's won championships."
Mulqueen says he believes Howard will attack the job with the same vigor he had as a player.
“For me it’s twofold. One, I get to work with my best friend every day, but two I get to work with a guy who has his PHD in soccer and soccer clubs," said Mulqueen.
Memphis 901 FC is preparing for its second season, which kicks off March 7. Unger said the club’s inaugural season saw more than 150,000 attendees and ranked in the top 10 in attendance, season tickets and merchandise sales.
Freund said he and Unger began discussing bringing professional soccer to Memphis more than three years ago, and two years ago to the day they announced it would become a reality.
Freund says Howard reached out early and said he wanted to be a part of the organization.