Wednesday, July 2, 2014


   Millions watched Tim Howard carry the U.S. into extra time in the World Cup game against Belgium with an astounding 16 saves.
    But what viewers didn't see were his tics and twitches whenever the ball was at the other end of the pitch.
    Howard, 35, has suffered from Tourette's Syndrome since he was ten-years-old. And the bigger the game, the more his symptoms flare. 

 “I’ve never counted how many tics I have in a game,” he said in an online interview.  “It happens all the time, without any warning, and it increases the nearer an important game draws. It always occurs more when I am particularly nervous.”
 When the ball is far away, he says he indulges his twitches. But when an opposing striker approaches with the ball — which happened repeatedly on Tuesday — his muscles remain miraculously calm. “I have no idea how I do it,” he said. “Not even my doctors can explain it to me. It’s probably because at that moment my concentration on the game is stronger than the Tourette’s syndrome.”
   Although he twitches, his symptoms do not include involuntary swearing, which afflicts some Tourette's sufferers, but when he was with Manchester United the fans serenaded him with chants of "Tim-timminy, Tim-timminy, Tim-Tim Te-roo. We've got Tim Howard and he says Fuck You!
  The deeply religious Howard, the son of an African-American father and a Hungarian mother, spends his summers at his home in Memphis, Tennessee with Laura, his wife of ten years, and their two young children.
 In the winters he is in Liverpool, where he keeps goal for the Premiere League club Everton, who have extended his contract until 2018.

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