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Stuart Holden Spoke to ASN 24 Hours Before His Injury

His worst fears realized, Stuart Holden has suffered a torn right ACL and will miss significant action with both his club team, Bolton, and with the United States national team. It's just awful.
BY John Godfrey Posted
July 29, 2013
8:15 PM
I HAVE TWO LASTING IMAGES of Stuart Holden in Chicago.

One is delightful, the other dreadful.

The first image, the happier one, features Holden holding court in a Soldier Field runway on Saturday, fielding endless—and no doubt repetitive—questions from reporters who invariably seek out Holden because he is articulate, earnest, candid, and such a good guy that he wants to make sure you get quality quotes for your story.

We, the throng, were asking him about his health, whether he was expecting to play in Sunday's Gold Cup Final, how the team was responding to Jurgen Klinsmann's suspension—and he fielded every inquiry with trademark energy and enthusiasm. While he stopped short of saying, "Hey, great question!" he gave off that sort of energy. So we kept asking.

Hey Stuart, are you starting?

"We don’t know the lineup yet," Holden replied. "With the final, I think it’s the best team out there. It’s the team that’s going to get the job done."

Hey Stuart, Klinsmann has been moving guys in and out of the lineup the whole tournament. What do you think of that?

"Jurgen has done a great job of managing minutes, rotating guys, and still getting results," Holden added. "I have full confidence in whichever 11 guys are chosen tomorrow to go out there."

Hey Stuart, how's the knee holding up?

"I’m ready to put in another 90 minutes if called upon," he said, "and it’s not just about this tournament here. It’s about going back to Bolton with a trophy and pushing on to have a solid season and hopefully setting myself up for the World Cup."

Not any more.

With the torn right ACL, Holden will have to put 2014 out of his mind and start mapping toward the 2018 World Cup in Russia. It seems like a long way off, and it is. Holden will be 32 when that World Cup begins.

Back in the mixed zone on Saturday, Holden would have kept talking to us if the U.S. soccer press officer had let him, but practice was about to begin and the midfielder was extricated from the scrum and escorted to the field.

Twenty-four hours later, after he suffered a knee injury and was removed from the Gold Cup Final in the 23rd minute, Holden put on a brave face for his comrades and could be seen after the match celebrating the United States' Gold Cup victory alongside his teammates. Forever the team player, he was all smiles. It wasn't about him. It was about them. He was just one of the guys.

Afterward, however, the harsh reality must have fully set in. Holden didn't talk to the press after the contest. The gregarious midfielder instead hobbled through the mixed zone, blocked from the media by the same press officer who had to pull him away from reporters just one day before.

Holden's horrible injury—his third in as many years—put a damper on an otherwise glorious moment for American soccer.

John Godfrey is the founder and editor in chief of American Soccer Now.

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