SAO PAULO — One day when Nick Rimando was at World Cup training camp last month in Northern California, his two children opened a lemonade stand back home in Salt Lake City to support their father and U.S. soccer.
Jett Nicholas and little sister Benny Rose were thrilled about getting ready to watch the tournament. And, barring injuries, that’s all their dad will do, too — though he has zero complaints.
Rimando has good-naturedly accepted and relished his role as a No. 3 goalkeeper counted upon to stay motivated and ready while pushing the Americans’ first two, Tim Howard and Brad Guzan.
Rimando, one of Major League Soccer’s top goalies in recent years, knows he will be a spectator in uniform for the Americans unless there’s a catastrophe. No team has used three goalies in a World Cup since Greece in 1994.
“Just completely honored, and I take a lot of pride being on this team,” said Rimando, who’s now with Real Salt Lake. “I’m taking it all in and doing my part. My role is a different role than other players, and also a role that I need to be prepared if called upon. I’ve seen a lot of things go down where three goalkeepers play in one game.”
It’s rare, indeed.
In the 1994 World Cup in the U.S., each of the three Greece goalies played an entire game in the group stage, according to STATS. Greece was outscored 10-0 by Argentina, Bulgaria and Nigeria.
Rimando is hardly unknown. The former UCLA Bruin got a shoutout Friday night from Dodgers star Yasiel Puig, who posted a photo on Twitter of himself in a Rimando jersey while wishing the goalie and his team luck.
During training scrimmages, Rimando watches intently from the end line while Guzan is in goal, then jumps in for a turn.