United States midfielder Stuart Holden retires from football

CARSON, Calif. -- Stuart Holden, the former Bolton Wanderers, Houston Dynamo and U.S. national team midfielder, officially announced his retirement on Wednesday.

Holden, 30, was ravaged by injury during his 10-year career, especially during the past six years. Holden suffered a broken leg in a friendly against the Netherlands in early 2010, shortly after leaving Houston and signing with Bolton, but recovered in time to play in that summer's World Cup.

He was one of the best midfielders in the English Premier League during the 2010-11 season, according to the Guardian. But the Scotland-born, Texas-raised Holden was never the same after injuring his knee in a match against Manchester United in March of 2011.

"It's time to stop fighting my body," Holden said. "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."

A series of setbacks forced Holden to miss all of 2011-12, and he played just four league games the following year -- two for Bolton, which had been relegated to the second-tier English Championship in his absence -- and two for fellow Championship club Sheffield Wednesday.

He returned to the national team in 2013 and played in that summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup, but tore a knee ligament in the final against Panama.

His last competitive match came in March of 2014, when he was injured again, this time in a reserve game for Bolton.

Holden, who became a father this week, had been considering a comeback as recently as last month when he trained with the U.S. team here as a non-roster invitee of U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

"Certain memories are always at the front of my mind," Holden said. "Representing the USA in the Olympics and a World Cup, two MLS Cup championships with the Houston Dynamo, the last minute goal against Haiti, and how could I ever forget the pure elation of scoring the stoppage time winner for Bolton against Blackburn?"

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.