The USA's World Cup goalkeeper Tim Howard wasn’t able to keep the team from being eliminated in Brazil this week, but fans have nonetheless found some innovative ways to express their appreciation.
Howard, 35, set a World Cup record during Team USA’s 2-1 loss to Belgium on Tuesday by saving more shots-on-goal in a single game than ever before in the tournament. Within hours, Howard's Wikipedia page was given a makeover by admirers who jokingly named him the new Secretary of Defense.
Even Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales tweeted his appreciation of the prank.
“I do NOT APPROVE of vandalizing Wikipedia for comedic effect,” Wales wrote. “But this is exquisite.”
I do NOT APPROVE of vandalizing wikipedia for comedic effect. But this is exquisite: http://t.co/ReAWTYyppQ
— Jimmy Wales (@jimmy_wales) July 2, 2014
The US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has acknowledged the joke and called Howard to thank him for “defending the United States of America at the World Cup.”
“Secretary Hagel congratulated Howard on his record-breaking game and a great run in Brazil,” the Pentagon said in a statement. “He told Howard that with some training, he could someday become the real secretary of defense.”
— U.S. Dept of Defense (@DeptofDefense) July 2, 2014
On the We the People online petition portal hosted on the official White House website, fans of the New Jersey-born goaltender again expressed their admiration by asking the US government to rename an airportin the Washington, DC-area in honor of Howard.
As of late Wednesday morning, Washington time, the “Change the name of Washington National Airport (DCA) to ‘Tim Howard National Airport’” petition had received more than 3,000 signatures. Should it reach the 100,000-signature threshold by the end of the month, the White House will have to offer an official response.
“Whereas Tim Howard has shown himself to be a national treasure, Minister of Defense, Friend of Joe Biden, and the holder for the record of most saves in a World Cup match; Therefore, we politely request that we rename the airport to recognize his accomplishments, and meritorious service to the United States of America,” the petition reads in full. DCA was already renamed after Ronald Reagan in 1998 to honor the two-term president.
The current commander-in-chief has yet to issue a response to the renaming request. However, Pres. Barack Obama did drop by unexpectedly at the World Cup viewing party attended by White House officials during this week’s game.
“I was worried that if I walked in and Belgium scored, I'd get in trouble,” Obama joked with attendees at the private Pennsylvania Avenue event Tuesday afternoon. At that point, USA Today report, the game was still tied 0-0.
— The Daily Dot (@dailydot) July 2, 2014
Team USA was eliminated in overtime during Tuesday’s match-up when Belgium managed to score twice in overtime. Julian Green, 19, scored the USA's only goal.
Yesterday, Tim Howard was briefly the US Secretary of Defense, according to Wikipedia. pic.twitter.com/eKtH4rXPUz
— The Sports Quotient (@SportsQuotient) July 2, 2014