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Faith Helped Goalie Tim Howard Deal with Tourette's

09-08-2014
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Team USA's brilliant goal defense at the World Cup in Brazil has turned goalie Tim Howard into a social media sensation.

During the U.S.-Belgium game this week, Howard blocked 16 shots on goal, a World Cup record. And although the United States was eliminated from the competition in a 2-1 loss, Howard was still voted the best player of the game.

Last Tuesday's defining game with Belgium drew an audience of 21 million television viewers in the United States, a nation that is slowly catching on to the rest of the world's top sport. 

The team returned to the United States Thursday with its now-famous goalie a social media phenomenon. A trending hashtag #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave includes saving the Titanic from sinking and the White House from the alien attack in the movie "Independence Day." 

Social media also named him a "Minister of Defense," prompting a congratulatory call from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel who invited the team to visit the Pentagon.

Despite the media attention, the road to his phenomenal performance at the World Cup has not been an easy one for Howard.

At 10 years of age Howard was diagnosed with Tourette's syndrome, a neurological disorder that produces physical and verbal tics. As he struggled with his condition, Howard said knew he could count on his grandmother for peace and stability. 

"Through her, God revealed His love for me as well," he said. "It wasn't long before I was following in her footsteps. I wanted the same kind of faith and peace she had, and that is exactly what God game me."

Howard lives out his faith on the soccer pitch and in his community in the United Kingdom, where he plays for the Everton Football Club in Liverpool.

According to the Huffington Post, he regularly volunteers with a youth group at Bramhall Baptist Church, playing soccer with the children before and after Bible lessons. 

"Today, I am blessed to be living a dream," Howard wrote in an Athletes in Action article. "And yet, if it all went away tomorrow, I know I would still have peace."

"That probably sounds crazy to most people, but that's the kind of peace Christ gives," he said. "It is rooted in His love, and it surpasses all understanding."

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