Barack Obama, the President of the United States of America, made a personal phone call to USA goalkeeper Tim Howard and skipper Clint Dempsey to congratulate them for their spirited performances against Belgium in the World Cup pre-quarterfinal on Tuesday.
Late goals from Kevin De Bruyne (93rd minute) and Romelu Lukaku (105th minute) helped the Red Devils to prevail over the Americans in the Round of 16 but Obama praised the Dempsey-led outfit for their effort.
Obama also appreciated Howard, who single-handedly kept the United States in the hunt against Belgium. The 35-year-old pulled off 16 saves in the match, a tally that is unmatched in World Cup history.
"Clint, Tim. Man, I just wanted to call to say you did us proud," President Obama told the duo. "You guys did great. There's someone here who's first sport was soccer although I was never that good.
"To see the way you guys captured the hearts and imaginations of the whole country is unbelievable and obviously the way the sport has been growing steadily because kids have been playing it at a young age, but this is the first time you have had an entire country focused.
"Clint you were fantastic and Tim I don't know how you are going to survive the mobs when you come back home. You are going to have to shave your beard so they don't know who you are.
"You guys did us all proud not just by how hard you played and how well you did; you guys just carried yourselves with a lot of class. It makes people really respect the sport and you guys are really great models for a lot of sportsman here in the states.
"I know it [the defeat] is disappointing but what you guys accomplished is really, really significant and it will make a difference to the country.
"I know maybe you have got another couple of guys there. Fantastic job everybody and I hope I get to see you guys again at The Whitehouse sometime soon. I've still got my jacket that you guys gave me. I appreciate you guys. Safe travels back. Bye bye."
Obama was not alone in congratulating the Everton goalkeeper as US Vice President Joe Biden termed Howard as the 'most valuable player'.
Proud that our guys, just like our country, never gave up. Tim Howard--most valuable player in the World Cup. #USMNT
— Vice President Biden (@VP) July 1, 2014
Belgium skipper Vincent Kompany was also amongst the people, who hailed the colossal effort from the former Manchester United stopper.
— Vincent Kompany (@VincentKompany) July 1, 2014
Meanwhile, Howard thanked everyone for supporting him and the team.
Im proud to suit up w every one of these guys. It's a tremendous honor to represent this country & a ride I'll never forget. Thx for joining
— tim howard (@TimHowardGK) July 2, 2014