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.

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.