Veteran US goalkeeper Howard will be counted upon for World Cup leadership with young defense

Tim Howard releases an "Ahhh!" that echoes through empty Stanford Stadium as he makes a diving stop during a basic keep away drill.

True to form, the American goalkeeper is good-naturedly running his mouth about as much as he's running around during World Cup training camp, sporting one of the biggest grins in the group.

During that same warm-up drill, Howard razzed fellow goalkeepers Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando at every chance.

Coach Jurgen Klinsmann is counting on that constant chatter and so much more from Howard to lead an inexperienced U.S. defense into the World Cup opener against Ghana on June 16 in Natal.

Howard's leadership figures to be important next month during a daunting Group G with three tough tests: Ghana, Portugal and Germany.