Stuart is the kind of guy everybody wants on their team. His energy is infectious. His razor-sharp banter keeps the mood light, but his work ethic and talent makes your team better.
When I first started playing in the UK, I hadn't played yet for the National Team and didn't know much about him other than he was an American playing for Bolton. I remember reading the paper one Sunday morning and there was an article about him on the front page of The Guardian, telling the masses of the football world that based on his stats so far that season he was the most complete player in the entire Premier League. I immediately had respect for the man.
Not long after, I started getting called into National Team camps, and Stu and I hit it off from the start. I'm not sure if it was our mutual liking of singing Justin Bieber songs together, or if it was our mutual liking that it annoyed the hell out of everyone. Either way, it wasn't a surprise that we became roommates.
In 2010, the World Cup loomed in the distance and we were both in battles with our fitness, as I was just coming off a corneal transplant surgery on my eye and Stu had just broken a bone in his knee against the Netherlands in Amsterdam. We talked a lot about what it would be like to be named to the cup squad later that summer, and talked about the mental and physical battles we were going through just to give ourselves a chance. In all of our conversations, we always talked about the positives and schemed about our plans to make sure we were going to be named to that roster. The roomies made it.
In South Africa, we had an isolated hotel just for our team, so there wasn't much social interaction. Our room number was 214, so we promptly turned it into what we called "Studio 214" where we spent countless hours making up chants and songs about our teammates that we would introduce to the team each day on the bus ride home from training. By the end of it, we had song sheets printed out with numerous songs about Landon's hair line, my wonky eye, and Brad Guzan's missing tooth, amongst others :)
Stu was at the forefront, making sure everyone knew the cues to when we would start the songs and get the bus erupting with the lyrics and laughter. After we beat Algeria on the last kick of the game to win our group, our bus arrived back at the hotel to find the whole hotel staff outside the lobby doing a choreographed song and dance to greet us in celebration. Stu immediately got off the bus with a vuvuzela and joined in on the routine with the hotel staff, blowing on that thing like he was one of the fans in the stands for our game. Although we didn't get past Ghana in the next round, Studio 214 had firmly made its mark on the tournament.
I only had a few more games on the National Team after that, and Stu continued to battle injuries. But every time I talked to him, his positive attitude always rang through. His infectious energy was still a catalyst to keep trying, and even just a few weeks ago when his decision still hadn't been made to retire, his burning determination to join the National Team one last time to see if he still had it in him was still there.
His ability over the last few years to keep battling and keep smiling is something that has never ceased to amaze me, and no doubt will serve him well in the future.
I'm truly excited to see what's next for you, Stu. You have a new addition to the family now to look forward to, and I see nothing but more success in front of you. Why? Because you will still be the guy that everyone wants on their team. And to think, you won't ever have to hear "He's stronggg, he's fassst, his knees are made of glasss! Stuuu Holllden", from opposing fans ever again :))
Members of the U.S. Women's National Team joined with more than 28 of the world’s top female footballers and Nike in Paris to unveil their National Team Collection for this summer’s FIFA Women's World Cup.
The USA will compete in France wearing a new collection and a set of kits that channel the energy of the 1999 team and all its championship glory. For the all-white home kit, the shirt features a stripped sleeve cuff reminiscent of those worn by Brandi Chastain, Mia Hamm and Julie Foudy, and is punctuated by three stars above the crest — honoring the USA's world titles from ’91, ’99 and 2015. This theme follows on the shorts, where the single star adorning the sides of the ’99er uniform has been replaced by a stack of three. Knit tape on the back of the neck also displays this embellishment.
Another element to cherish: The back panel of the home shirt presents a tonal gray print formed from each of the 50 states. It is symbolic, a reminder of the nation’s support for the team — an enthusiastic “We’ve got your back!”
As the away team, the WNT amps up its undeniably American identity in a red shirt and shorts with blue socks. The shirt is highlighted by an abstraction of the American flag and the three shining stars. Inner pride on the away shirt reads “One Nation, One Team.”
For each match, the team will wear a new anthem jacket with a pleated back and transparent sleeves. The full collection for the USWNT also includes a blue heather training kit, a drill pant augmented by a USA crest and Swoosh lockup and a suite of lifestyle apparel.
At the historic Palais Brongniart, Nike revealed an array of future-forward women’s innovation. Design for the 14 National Team Kits began with gathering detailed input on fit from professional footballers, followed by 4-D scanning and motion capture in the Nike Sports Research Lab. Beyond innovations in fit, the National Team Kits also reflect Nike’s continued commitment to being the world’s most sustainable sports brand, with each 2019 Nike Kit constructed from at least 12 recycled plastic bottles. Since 2010, Nike has diverted more than 6 billion plastic bottles from landfills through sustainable product design.