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Where is Tim Howard now? The American Secretary of Defense who made history at the 2014 World Cup

17:34 GMT+3 21/11/2022
Tim Howard USMNT Belgium 2014
The goalkeeper remains revered for his historic 15-save performance against Belgium - but also because he's still such a big presence in US soccer.

Tim Howard remains the poster boy for goalkeeping in the United States five years after his last men's national team appearance – and eight years since he nearly dragged the Stars and Stripes past Belgium in the 2014 World Cup.

Howard transferred from Everton to the Colorado Rapids in 2016 at 37 years old, and his international career closed in 2017, as he left the team in tandem with Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore soon after their collective failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Still, there is no more well-known American shot-stopper than 'The Secretary of Defense'. Not even close.

“Always keeps us in it,” Bradley marveled after Howard's legendary performance against Belgium in the last 16 of Brazil 2014, when he made a record-breaking 15 saves in a 2-1 defeat.

“Such a good player, such a good leader and we rely on him so heavily.”

Howard may have ended up on the losing side that night but he still walked away with the man of the match award after a truly historic performance.

He also inspired a hashtag, with #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave trending on Twitter as football fans across the globe began paying amusing tributes to his heroics.

Part of Howard's enduring recognition also lies in the fact that a true heir has yet to emerge for the USMNT.

Zack Steffen's rise to stardom hit an unexpected wall, while Matt Turner has yet to prove himself at the highest level.

But Howard's enduring appeal can also be explained by his media-friendly personality.

Since his TV debut in late-2013 (when he was still a player), he has been a staple of NBC's Premier League coverage, providing on-camera perspective of matches on multiple studio shows each week. He also spent time as an analyst for Champions League matches on Turner Sports.

USMNT fans will see Howard all over marketing campaigns in the next two months, including an already popular TV spot featuring David Beckham and Peyton Manning.

Howard also followed former American team-mate Landon Donovan's path into soccer investment, becoming a co-owner of the USL's Memphis 901 right as Donovan became a co-owner of the USL's San Diego Loyal.

And he's a spectator for more than just the USMNT.

His daughter, Ali Howard, is a highly touted high school forward for nationally ranked Briarcrest.

A next generation of Howards could stamp a place on the women's national team, then, at the other side of the pitch.

"It's nice having him around [to] watch all my games; give me a little bit of help," she told ABC24. "Not too much though!"

Howard is often asked to share his perspective on the USMNT, especially before the World Cup. He's been critical of the group lately.

He questioned their leadership after a poor September window, telling the In Soccer We Trust podcast: "If we give the ball away 50 times in the first half, that's not good enough to me. That's where leadership is involved."

Expect him to be a lasting media voice for the coming USMNT over several generations, win or lose, much like Alexi Lalas has done.

You'll certainly be hearing plenty of him as the Stars and Stripes embark on their first World Cup since he cemented his place in the nation's footballing folklore.