A top-16 finish is a success, so yesterday the two most prominent members of the USMNT received a phone call from Barack Obama congratulating them on their World Cup.

"To see the way you guys captured the hearts and imaginations of the whole country is unbelievable. Obviously the sport has been growing steadily because kids have been playing it at a young age, but this is the first time you have had an entire country focused."

Obama also warned Howard about the perils of being a national hero. "I don't know how you're going to survive the mobs when you come back home," he said. And sure enough, upon his arrival back in Los Angeles today, Howard had to fend off one fan hell-bent on hugs.