The Shin Guardian got about five minutes to speak with Stu Holden upon his return to the United States from Manchester on Wednesday.
Here’s what the prospective World Cup player had to say.
TSG: Stu, thanks for the time. How are you?
Stu Holden: I’m good. Back in Houston, relaxing a little bit.
TSG: Been a pretty hectic few weeks for you?
SH: Yeah…towards the end of my rehab now. I was just making sure I got back healthy. I’ve been training for the last three or so weeks.
I’m feeling really good. Now it’s just time to see the family, relax a little bit, but still maintain fitness.
But I’m looking forward to camp on Saturday.
TSG: We’ll be brief because I know you have a jammed schedule.
First, congratulations on the selection. You came on swiftly after your Gold Cup exploits.
What’s the first thing you did when you learned you were selected for “the 30?”
SH: I was actually flying overseas. It was of course nice to be selected for the 30. Obviously, it’s only half the battle.
Now you have to go into camp, prepare yourself, prove your fit and worthy of a spot on the plane to South Africa.
It’s obviously a good feeling to be part of the initial group, but now the real work starts on Saturday in Princeton.
TSG: How was the message delivered to you? Did you just get an email or did one of the coaches talk to you?
SH: Well, we get emails from the head manager of US Soccer.
Every time you get that email, even if you are expecting the call or not, it still feels like the first time.
It’s a great feeling when you open the email and it tells you “Congratulations, You’ve been selected…”
Now I just can’t wait to get started.
TSG: A lot of experts say experience is critical at the World Cup.
For example, DaMarcus Beasley will be potentially be participating in his 3rd World Cup.
How do you react to that statement, given the fact that your time with the senior squad is limited to just about a year.
SH: Experience in any game is helpful. You are only get experience in a World Cup when you get that opportunity.
I’m going to take what experience I have from the Gold Cup, from the Olympics and from my time in the Premier League and use that.
Hopefully If I’m on that plane to South Africa, I’ll be able to go into that tournament knowing I’ve played in some big games in the past and use my experience that to help me in the World Cup.
TSG: Given your fitness levels, are you back to full fitness? How would you rate yourself?
SH: I feel I’m back to full fitness.
Obviously, you don’t get the same game fitness, just doing running and sprints, but I played at the game at the end of the season and although it was only as a substitute I still felt I was up for the pace of game.
My touch was good and my leg was feeling good, most importantly.
So, I’m excited. The last couple of weeks, you know, have been tough in terms of rehabbing and really putting in a lot of extra effort to get myself to where I am now.
I’m really happy with how my leg feels and I couldn’t be heading to camp on a better note.
TSG: Thanks Stu. Give us a little more on how your charity is progressing.
SH: I’ve been working on Holden’s Heroes for awhile. It’s a personal charity of mine that’s dedicated to bringing happiness to children that are going through tough battles. It’s been a passion of mine since I got involved with fighting cancer.
My dad went through a similar fight. Now that it’s coming into some final stages, I’m excited about turning the charity into something big.
TSG: Thanks for your time Stu. We look forward to seeing you in camp and then seeing you on the World Cup Squad. Thank you.
SH: Cool; thanks.