Obama congratulates US football team on their WC performance

PTI| Last Updated: Jul 03, 2014, 09:43 AM IST

Washington: US President Barack Obama has commended the National Football team for their performance and making the country proud in the World Cup tournament in Brazil, the White House has said.

Obama called the team captain Clint Dempsey and the goalkeeper Tim Howard.

On the call, the President commended them not only for their work on the field, but for carrying themselves in a way that made the country proud.

The President noted how captivating the team`s performance was and asked both men to relay his congratulations to Coach Klinsmann and the entire team on their hard work," the White House said.

The US Secretary of Defence, Chuck Hagel, also telephoned Howard for his record defence during the World Cup pre-quarterfinal match with Belgium in Brazil on Wednesday.

"Hagel called US Men`s National Team goalkeeper Tim Howard to thank him for defending the United States of America at the World Cup," the Pentagon Press Secretary, Rear Adm John Kirby, said.

"Hagel congratulated Howard on his record-breaking game and a great run in Brazil. He invited Howard and the entire team to come to the Pentagon later this year. He told Howard that with some training, he could someday become the real secretary of defence," Kirby said.

Following his impressive defence in protecting the US goalpost for 16 times, the maximum in several decades, the social media was abuzz with Howard being the defence secretary of the US.

This was also raised during the daily White House news conference. "For a while after yesterday`s game, and this was on Wikipedia, Tim Howard was identified as "Secretary of Defence.

I don`t know if the White House had anything to do with that. What`s your reaction to the 3,000-plus signatures on the White House blog, "We the People," calling for Reagan National Airport to be named after Mr. Howard?" a journalist asked the White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, during his daily news conference.

Given the impressive performance of the American football team in Brazil, Earnest said it`s not too hard to imagine that maybe in 2030, for example there might be a US Men`s National Soccer Team that comes to the White House to celebrate an achievement of some kind.

"And I suspect that when you are talking to those players, that they may harken back to being 8 or 10 or 12 years old and having watched the 2014 men`s national team and that they will remember the performance of people like Tim Howard and Julian Green and Omar Gonzalez and Graham Zusi, that these players who performed so well this year served as an inspiration to the next generation of American soccer players," he said.