In an article for Athletes in Action, the goalie describes being diagnosed with Tourette's syndrome at the age of 11 and turning to his grandmother to find strength. She, in turn, derived strength from her Christian faith, and the effects trickled down to the young Howard.
Through her, God revealed His love for me as well. It wasn't long before I was following in her footsteps. I wanted the same kind of faith and peace she had, and that is exactly what God gave me.
The challenge of living with a neurological disorder was counterbalanced, Howard says, with his natural skill at soccer.
Living with Tourette's is not easy. But God has blessed me with the gift of athleticism as well. He has done some powerful things in my life through the combination of these 2 gifts. He also has shown me ways to use my position as a professional athlete to encourage others with Tourette's syndrome.
When he isn't playing for Team USA, Howard is the goalkeeper for the English club Everton. Off the field, Howard has been involved with team Bible studies and regularly volunteers with Christian organizations like the L8r Club, a youth group at Bramhall Baptist Church in the United Kingdom. On Tuesdays he plays soccer with the children before and after Bible lessons, offering his talents in a whole new venue.
"The best time for me," Howard said, "is when I see a breakthrough in [the youth.] To see them get a grasp of what God and Christ really mean."
I hope the media doesn't change its coverage and opinion of this amazing athlete once his commitment to his faith is more well-known. To be honest, I was never a fan of Tim Tebow (I'm from Tallahassee, home of the Seminoles), but even I could not get down with the vitriol aimed at him. Being a Gator-hater was nothing compared to a media Christian-hater. I'd really hate to see Tim Howard's story be diminished because he doesn't fit the media's narrative.