updated 07/03/2014 AT 10:00 AM ET
•originally published 07/03/2014 AT 11:15 AM ET
U.S.A. Soccer goalie Tim Howard might not be the Secretary of Defense any longer, but the World Cup hero still got to experience the thrill of a cabinet meeting Wednesday when he received a congratulatory call from President Barack Obama.
The president called Howard and team captain Clint Dempsey to thank them for their efforts in bringing unprecedented levels of World Cup fever to the nation throughout the United States’ run in the tournament.
“You guys did us proud,” Obama – who does not play for England despite what this collectible mug suggests – told the pair. “To see the way you guys captured the hearts and the imaginations of the country is unbelievable.”
“This is the first time, I think you guys have had the entire country focused,” he added.
The United States was knocked out of the tournament by a 2-1 loss against Belgium Tuesday, in which Howard set a new World Cup record with 16 saves.
“Tim, I don’t know how you’re going to survive the mobs when you get back home,” Obama joked. “You’re going to have to shave your beard so they don’t know who you are.”