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Obama calls Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard to congratulate the USMNT

"Tim, you know, I don't know how you're going to survive the mobs when you come back home, man. You're going to have to shave your beard so they don't know who you are."
By Aileen Graef Follow @AileenGraef Contact the Author   |   July 3, 2014 at 8:33 AM

WASHINGTON, July 3 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama called Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard Wednesday to congratulate them on their performance in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

The U.S. lost to Belgium Tuesday 2-1 in the knockout round in an exciting game -- all the goals were scored in extra time. The loss eliminated the team from the World Cup but Obama wanted to call to share his appreciation and congratulations on their success.

"I just wanted to call and say you guys did us proud," said Obama. "As somebody whose first sport was soccer -- although I was never that good -- to see the way you guys captured the hearts and the imaginations of the whole country is unbelievable."

Obama, an avid sports fan, has had multiple sports teams visit the White House. He did take the opportunity to mention Howard's devoted fan base in the U.S.

"Tim, you know, I don't know how you're going to survive the mobs when you come back home, man. You're going to have to shave your beard so they don't know who you are," he joked.

Obama said he hopes to see them at the White House soon and wished them safe travels home.

Obama is not the only member of the executive branch who called. U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel called Howard after fans jokingly gave the goalkeeper the title on Wikipedia.

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