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Hey Americans, Tim Howard's been sportsing for years

Bit late to the party, no?

US goalkeeper Tim Howard reacts during a Round of 16 football match between Belgium and USA at Fonte Nova Arena in Salvador during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on July 1, 2014. Photo: Getty Images
US goalkeeper Tim Howard reacts during a Round of 16 football match between Belgium and USA at Fonte Nova Arena in Salvador during the 2014 FIFA World Cup on July 1, 2014. Photo: Getty Images

The big positive for Americans after the United States Men's National Team's defeat to Belgium last night was the emergence of goalkeeper Tim Howard as a kind of folk hero. His record-breaking performance - no other goalkeeper has blocked as many shots (16) in a World Cup match - made him the emblem of American determination and grit. (It also helps that he has a kickass beard.)

Twitter's been awash with new memes, of Howard saving all kinds of things - almost everything, in fact - and someone edited Wikipedia to list him as the US Secretary of Defense.

However! Americans, did you know that Tim Howard did not spring fully-formed the day of the opening tournament? No - he is, in fact, a 35-year-old man, with more than a hundred caps for his country and a career that has spanned two decades at the highest level of the sport. He even played for Manchester United, that team that every character in a movie that likes soccer seems to support.

He also scored a pretty amazing goal once (yeah, a goalkeeper, scoring a goal):

Not only is it a pretty awesome kick, but Howard's clearly bashful afterwards. Goalies have a code of honour - they know that their kind are not the same as other players - and he knows he committed a pretty terrible faux pax in scoring against one of his comrades in gloves. A true gentleman.

Anyway, nice of you guys to join the rest of us in this football thing. Stick around, it's still good even when the team you support is no longer in it. We're (mostly) English, we should know.

Tags:Sport