The media are poring over each and every detail of the life of U.S. soccer team’s heroic goalkeeper. Here’s one they probably won’t mention: Tim Howard is a Christian.
Beating the U.S. soccer team in a 2-1 game, Belgium eliminated the U.S. from the World Cup, on July 1. Despite that, the U.S. team still boasted a win: goalkeeper Tim Howard made 16 goal saves during the match, the most in World Cup history since 1966 (when record-keeping first began). ABC, CBS and NBC noted the champion’s popularity – but failed to mention his faith.
During the morning segments after the game, July 2, all three network covered Howard’s historic saves. NBC “Today” Host Matt Lauer praised the “heroic goalkeeper” and his “performance for the ages.” For ABC, Good Morning America Anchor Amy Robach gushed over the “superhero” who “won the hearts of Americans.” “Did you all feel the love coming from us to you watching?” she asked Howard in an interview. CBS Correspondent Elaine Quijano also acknowledged the “spectacular performance” during “This Morning.”
Both the NBC and CBS segments even highlighted Howard as an Internet sensation. The two noted how a Wikipedia page temporarily changed to show Howard as U.S. Secretary of Defense instead of Chuck Hagel.
Only one network transcript ever admitted Howard’s faith – in 2010, according to a Nexis search. On June 17, 2010, NBC “Nightly News” Reporter Ian Williams described Howard as “grounded by a strong Christian faith.” Howard responded, “We all need God in certain ways, you know. And I certainly fall short in a lot of categories. And it's at those times that I need much more help than most.”
In an article for Worldwide Challenge magazine, Howard credited his grandmother and his Tourette’s syndrome, a neurological disorder, with drawing him closer to God. Combatting Tourette’s, Howard discovered, “Nana's sense of peace was so powerful because it came from her faith in the Lord.”
“Through her, God revealed His love for me as well. It wasn't long before I was following in her footsteps,” he explained.
While “living with Tourette's is not easy,” Howard acknowledged, “God has blessed me with the gift of athleticism as well.” He continued, “[God] also has shown me ways to use my position as a professional athlete to encourage others with Tourette's syndrome.”
Describing his life as a “dream,” he stressed, “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. It is rooted in His love, and it surpasses all understanding.”
In 2006, Howard also described Christ as “The most important thing in my life.” “He's more important to me than winning or losing or whether I'm playing or not,” he continued, “Everything else is just a bonus."
— Katie Yoder is Staff Writer, Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow in Culture and Media at the Media Research Center. Follow Katie Yoder on Twitter.