'Tim Howard saves' trends after record-breaking 24 World Cup saves; Goalkeeper says Christ is most important in his life
World Cup Team USA goalkeeper Tim Howard has galvanized social media users to talk about Christ, and is being called the "American Jesus."
Howard, an outspoken Christian, made a record-breaking 24 saves against the Belgians on Tuesday. Americans began celebrating how well "Tim Howard saves," and the Jesus analogy soon followed.
The 24 saves were a World Cup record, but not enough to secure a U.S. victory. However, Howard's stellar performance was praised, and thousands of Twitter users have drawn comparisons between the goalie and Jesus Christ.
"I'm pretty sure the only man with more saves than Tim Howard is Jesus," Maureen Nettuno tweeted.
"Number of saves in history: 1. Jesus 2.Tim Howard," Kayla Jones wrote.
"Tim Howard is probably the great great great great great .... great great great nephew of Jesus am I right?!" Ashley Donahue asked.
Temporarily, Howard's Wikipedia page listed him as the U.S. Secretary of Defense, and as the "American Jesus."
Despite the fanfare, some users cautioned that the comparison should not be taken too far.
"Tim Howard can save a goal but Jesus Christ can save you from sin and give you eternal life in Heaven. So," Ally Hunter tweeted.
Howard himself gives all glory to God for his achievements.
"The most important thing in my life is Christ," he said in a recent Campus Crusade for Christ interview. "He's more important to me than winning or losing or whether I'm playing or not. Everything else is just a bonus."
The 35-year-old also discussed living with Tourette's syndrome, and how the Lord has used him to be a blessing to others.
"Living with Tourette's is not easy," he told Athletes in Action. "God has blessed me with the gift of athleticism as well. God has also has shown me ways to use my position as a professional athlete to encourage others with Tourette's syndrome."
Howard also said that the greatest gift God has given him is His love.
"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.
"You can experience this same sense of love and peace, too. All you have to do is ask for it."