US Soccer Star Tim Howard Wants to Play in 2018 World Cup
The U.S. men's soccer team's heart-stopping performance in the World Cup - including goalkeeper Tim Howard's heroic saves - fueled hype for the sport across the nation this summer.
Howard, 35, an ABC News' "This Week" Game Changer of 2014, had his most memorable game when the U.S. played Belgium in the knockout round. The goalkeeper made 16 larger-than-life saves - the most in any single World Cup game - in a 2-1 loss.
So what was flashing through Howard's head during that tense match-up?
"Nothing, everything's the same," Howard told ABC News' Paula Faris earlier this year. "It slows down a bit. I felt in a good rhythm. I wish I could do it every week. I wish I could save more balls every week."
Nearly every American seemed to be buzzing about Howard in the game against Belgium. His man-of-the-match performance garnered 1.8 million mentions on Twitter, and inspired countless Internet memes, as well as the hashtag #thingstimcouldsave.
"Probably the one where I was catching Scooby Doo would be the funniest one because I was a fan from way back when," said Howard, who discussed how surreal his stardom has been in his new memoir "The Keeper."
The goalie was dubbed "Secretary of Defense," and he even earned a call from the White House.
"[The president] seemed - like all Americans - to be genuinely enthralled and immersed in the passion and drama of soccer and the World Cup," Howard said.
On the call, President Obama told Howard and U.S. captain Clint Dempsey that the team captured the hearts and imaginations of the whole country and that they "did us proud."
Howard's success has also led to a marketing bonanza for the soccer sensation - including his signature beard.
"I thought it was cool. I hope they don't get too attached to it because it's eventually going to go," Howard said.
Howard said he plans to ride the U.S.'s performance, which was the furthest it ever advanced in back-to-back World Cups, to the 2018 World Cup in Russia. He will be almost 40 years old, but still hopes to play.
"My muscles will be much more unforgiving," Howard said. "This group in 2014 inspired me to want to go to 2018 because the group was just amazing. The ride we went on was incredible and I want to be a part of that again, you know? It was special."