In Brazil, the shoe is on the other foot for Nick Rimando.
He’s the undisputed No. 1 goalkeeper with Real Salt Lake, and has been for the past eight years. But with the U.S. national team at the World Cup, he’s No. 3 on the depth chart behind Tim Howard and Brad Guzan.
Barring injuries to the other two, Rimando will be a spectator from the bench in Brazil. It’s a role he’s comfortable with, and one he takes great responsibility in.
“(I’ll) be there for my team, be there for the guys, be ready if my opportunity does come and I have to be there on the field,” said Rimando in an interview last month. “If it doesn’t come, it’s preparing Timmy and Brad.”
As the clear backup, one of Rimando’s biggest roles will be keeping his teammates relaxed and in good spirits. Whether it’s at the hotel or the training ground, he said he’ll make sure everybody has a smile on their face despite the intense scrutiny they’re facing.
When the United States plays its first game against Ghana this Monday, Rimando admits he’ll probably shed a tear hearing the national anthem. It’ll be the moment he realizes his lifelong dream has come true.