Stuart Holden has finally conceded defeat to a succession of long-term injuries, announcing his retirement from football on Wednesday.
The former Bolton Wanderers and Houston Dynamo midfielder had an eight-year club career both in The United States and England, but his injury troubles began with a broken femur while playing for Bolton in March 2011 which sidelined him for six months.
Holden played in one game on his return but was then absent for six more months with torn cartilage in his knee. In his final senior outing, Holden tore his anterior cruciate ligament during the 2013 Gold Cup final against Panama.
While he attempted to make a comeback eight months later with an eye on the USA squad for the 2014 World Cup, he reinjured the same knee in a reserve game for Bolton.
“It’s time to stop fighting my body,” Holden wrote in a post on the U.S. Soccer website. “I’ve known for a while, but I’ve struggled to admit it to myself and to others. The countless sleepless nights, the aches and pains, and the constant mental battles were all signs pointing to a new path.
“But every time I was about to utter the three big words ‘I am retired,’ all the memories of walking into roaring stadiums, scoring last-minute goals, and being part of amazing teams dragged me back!
“The same never-say-die attitude that drove me to fight like hell my entire career wouldn’t let me say the ‘R word.’
“What I do know is that I am 100 per cent at peace with my decision to retire from playing, and I am 200 per cent excited for the future. True closure has been hard to come by, but man it feels good.”
Holden scored 24 goals in over 150 appearances for Bolton, Houston and loan club Sheffield Wednesday, while scoring three times in 25 international appearances for USA.
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