One can only speculate, but if the United States men’s national soccer team (USMNT) had equalized in extra time during their elimination match against Belgium, maybe, just maybe Tim Howard would have carried them into the World Cup quarter-finals.
With the U.S. eliminated from the World Cup, one African-American hero on a team of American heroes is standing tall.
Tim Howard, the goalkeeper for the U.S. squad, made a record 16 saves to keep his team in the game and the Belgians from blowing the game wide open as the USMNT fought to keep their World Cup dream alive.
Howard’s heroics in Brazil are now so legendary that some fans are clamoring to name an airport after him. According to Politico, soccer fans have “launched an official White House petition to rename Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport after the Team USA goalkeeper.”
If the petition gets 100,000 signatures, the White House will offer an official response per the “We the People” White House initiative launched in 2011. It currently has 1,987 signatures and will need to reach the mark by July 31.
“U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel called Tim Howard to congratulate him on his historic game against Belgium in the Round of 16 of the World Cup according to a tweet from the Department of Defense,” USA Today reports.
“The call came after Wikipedia users briefly changed the entry for Secretary of Defense to Tim Howard, amid a social media explosion of suggestions of things that Howard should defend, save, fix or be honored with,” the publication says.
Howard lives with Tourette‘s syndrome, is a devout Christian and is also anti-fur. He’s also got arguably the safest hands in the game. The 16 saves on Tuesday effectively put Mexico’s Guillermo Ochoa in the rear view mirror.
A goalkeeper dealing with Tourette’s is pretty rare. Howard says the bigger the game, the bigger the moment, the more his tics and symptoms flare. In an interview with German publication Spiegel Online, “It happens all the time, without any warning, and it increases the nearer an important game draws. It always occurs more when I am particularly nervous.”