Originally written July 12, 2013 on Fox Soccer:
Right now, in this moment, Stuart Holden is intensely happy. "It's like a re-birth," the inexhaustible USA midfielder says, hunching forward in a hotel lobby chair and picking at the carefully-managed tufts of blond hair he's about to go have cut. "I always maintained a positive outlook. But my girlfriend and everybody around me have noticed that I'm back to myself again. The fact that I'm healthy and playing soccer - I'm just loving it." As a professional soccer player, "healthy and playing soccer" may seem like rather a natural state of being, but it's been elusive for Holden. Three weeks shy of his 28th birthday, Holden has lost a total of almost three years of his seven-year professional career to a succession of freak injuries; the time he was randomly attacked outside a Newcastle night club; the leg-breaking tackle administered by Nigel de Jong in 2010; Johnny Evans' stray cleat getting caught in his knee in March 2011...
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