SAN SALVADOR—Tim Howard will not suit up for the US National Team when they take on El Salvador in their World Cup qualifier on Saturday. He is suspended due to yellow-card accumulation. But the US’s number one goalkeeper put in a star performance when on Friday afternoon he took part in a workshop for underprivileged schoolchildren here in the Central American nation’s capital. He was a big hit with the kids.
Howard, teammate Jose Francisco Torres and US head coach Bob Bradley all attended the clinic a day ahead of the game. The event was organized by the Futbol Forever Foundation (www.futbolforever.org), a nonprofit that runs the Futbol Forever Program, a series of educational events “whose objective is to use soccer to teach children a new model of learning,” according to the organization’s website.
It was a hot afternoon here, and the players broke a light sweat as they demonstrated some basic skills and generally had fun with the children.
For fans of the US team, Torres’s inclusion in Friday’s outing could be viewed as a hint that he won’t be involved in Saturday’s game. Or it could just be that the Pachuca midfielder has the most fluent Spanish of anyone on Bradley’s squad, and was best able to communicate with the children.
The US face El Salvador at the Estadio Cuscatlán on Saturday night with an overwhelming historical advantage on their hosts. The US is 4-0-2 alltime in World Cup qualifying against the Cuscatlecos, 1-0-1 in San Salvador. The Americans, in fact, have not lost to El Salvador in any competition since 1992, and have not conceded a goal since 1997, outscoring them 16-0.