The game wasn’t even over when American fans took to social media to call for goalie Tim Howard to be the next U.S. president or secretary of defense. In the U.S. World Cup 2-1 loss against Belgium Tuesday, Howard made a record 16 saves in a World Cup match that instantly promoted him to an American hero.
Someone even changed the secretary of defense’s Wikipedia entry, showing a picture of him and naming him as the incumbent office holder.
Acknowledging the joke — or perhaps concerned about job security — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called Howard Wednesday to congratulate him on his record-breaking game and a great run in Brazil, the Pentagon said in a statement. Hagel invited Howard and the entire team to visit the Pentagon later this year. He also told Howard that, with some training, he could someday become the real secretary of defense.
The Pentagon released a picture of the phone call showing Hagel holding a soccer ball — but it’s unlikely Hagel will become the next U.S. goalkeeper.