Defense Department

Real U.S. Defense Secretary Phones Internet's U.S. Defense Secretary

Hagel calls goalkeeper Tim Howard to congratulate him on historic World Cup performance.

The Defense Department Wednesday released a photo of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on the phone with U.S. Men's National Soccer Team goalkeeper Tim Howard.

The call was to congratulate Howard on his historic World Cup performance in the United States' round of 16 match against Belgium. Though the United States lost, Howard was credited with 16 saves, the most any goalkeeper has accrued in a single match since 1966. The Defense release said Hagel was calling to thank Howard "for defending the United States of America" and he invited the team to the Pentagon later this year.

Hagel is not the first to acknowledge Howard. The 35-year old's popularity has spread around the nation and the Internet. A We The People user added a petition to the White House site suggesting a renaming of Washington, D.C.'s Ronald Reagan National Airport to Tim Howard National Airport. As of Wednesday night, the petition has 8,000 signatures.

During the match Tuesday, someone edited the Wikipedia page for the secretary of Defense to show Howard in the position since "July 1, 2014," with the requisite photo of Howard.

The page was quickly changed back to show Hagel in the position Tuesday evening. According to Defense, Hagel told Howard "with some training, he could someday become the real ecretary of Defense."

As Twitter has become more prominent during major sporting events, much of worldwide commentary centered on the U.S.-Belgium tilt. Many Twitter users shared the same joke as the Wikipedia editor.