Holden Will Be Wearing Red Instead Of Green On Saturday
The Mean Green Faces FC Dallas Women And Rachel Holden In Spring Soccer
DENTON – There will be a familiar face on the soccer field when North Texas plays FC Dallas Women on Saturday, but she will be wearing red and white instead of green.
Rachel Holden, one of the Mean Green’s most decorated players, now plays for FC Dallas Women, a semi-professional team that is a part of the Women’s Premier Soccer League. The Mean Green will play FC Dallas on Saturday at noon at the Mean Green Soccer Stadium.
“FC Dallas is one of the premier soccer clubs not only in the DFW area but in the country,” North Texas head coach John Hedlund said. “I think it’s important for UNT and FC Dallas to have a great relationship not only when it comes to recruiting but to play exhibition games like this and other possible events in the future. It will be a little strange seeing Rachel on the opposing team on Saturday because she has meant so much to our program but I’m happy for Rach and I know FC Dallas will take great care of her.”
As a senior this past fall, Holden helped North Texas win its third straight regular-season Conference USA championship title and earned all-conference and region honors. Following her graduation last December, Holden stayed in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for work and is finding time to coach and play soccer. She was undecided on playing soccer after college but found a nice fit with the local Frisco team.
“During my senior year at UNT, I went back and forth multiple times on whether I wanted to keep playing or not,” Holden said. ” Ben Waldrum (head coach) called me and invited me out to the combine in December to tryout, and from there I decided to keep playing and I'm very thankful for the opportunity.”
The decision to continue playing soccer has been a good one for Holden. She is enjoying the new team, which is a mix of college graduates and graduate students.
“It's different from UNT in the fact that the training environment is different,” Holden said. “In college it's very demanding with all the practices and workouts. With FCD, since the majority of us are graduated and have jobs, we can't train every single day. It's more expected to just be on your ‘A’ game. The coaching style and the style of play are different. At the end of the day though, soccer is still soccer.”
Holden and FCD Women have been playing local college teams for the last month as a tune-up for their regular season, which starts in mid-May. Just as she pushed herself in college, Holden has similar lofty goals with her current team.
“During my career at UNT, I always put a lot of pressure on myself to be the best player I can be for myself and for the team,” Holden said. “My goal with FC Dallas is the same thing. I want to be the best player that I can possibly be and hopefully play a part in helping my team excel in every way possible.”
Last year’s FCD team went 14-0-0 in the regular season before losing to Chicago in the conference finals. Holden is playing alongside players who had college careers at Auburn, Notre Dame, SMU, Baylor, UTEP and as well as teammates from England and Trinidad and Tobago.
In addition to working a regular job and playing soccer three times a week, Holden is also finding time to coach on the weekends. She is coaching private sessions and helping out with a club team out of Denton. Holden has fond memories of her time at North Texas and has had to adjust a little to life in the real world.
“As a college student in general, I was very passionate about taking naps and free food... so those two things are definitely missed,” Holden said. “As a player, I definitely miss the coaching staff and our fan base. Home games were something I always looked forward too.”
And will it be weird to face her old teammates?
“I'm excited,” Holden said. “It'll definitely be a fun game. It's their spring season so this is their time to rebuild and it's preseason for us so we're also in the building/progressing stage. It'll be weird being on the other side of things, but I'll probably still crash their locker room, especially if they have food.”