Stuart Holden epitomizes U.S. soccer 

March, 9, 2011

While working on a feature story on Stuart Holden in the current issue of ESPN The Magazine, the blog was privileged to (a) fly to England and back, with on-time arrivals, (b) ride on trains full of UK soccer fans on a derby day, (c) watch Bolton Wanderers play Everton at Reebok Stadium and (d) hang out with Holden for an afternoon in downtown Manchester.

The trip provided enough material for a half dozen magazine stories, but the editors only had room for one, so we thought we'd offer up six more things you should know about the rising American midfielder.

No. 1: Holden is a family man

Lots of athletes say that, but Holden actually lives it. Upon entering his apartment, the first thing Holden points to is a wall of family photos, featuring his late father, Brian; his mother, Moira; his brother Euan, who shares his apartment with him; and his sister, Rachel, a TCU student. "She'll be the first of us kids to graduate from college," he says. Holden's career is a tribute to his father, his first coach, who died in 2009 after a long, brave fight against pancreatic cancer. Holden both advises Euan, who's also chasing his own soccer career, going on trials with English clubs, and takes his advice. After Holden won a man of the match award recently, Euan's first words to Stu were, "You absolutely stole that, mate," then catalogued his brother's mistakes.

To read about the five other important things you should know about Stuart Holden, you must be an ESPN Insider.

Luke Cyphers is a former senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.
Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine. He has covered American and international soccer since 2002.