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Rachel Holden pushing for perfect ending with North Texas soccer

Rachel Holden pushing for perfect ending with North Texas soccer

North Texas senior forward Rachel Holden (16) goes between her teammates and high fives them before a game against Texas Southern. Holden has started every game she's played over the past four years for the Mean Green. Dylan Nadwodny

Rachel Holden pushing for perfect ending with North Texas soccer
October 05
15:29 2016

During her first game in 2013, senior Rachel Holden scored three goals in a 9-1 rout of Texas Southern University. While that opened several eyes, her real breakout game came two days later when she scored the lone goal in a 1-0 win over Houston Baptist University at home.

In a match where the Mean Green had fewer shots on goal, she was needed, and stepped up. This game kick-started Holden’s career as North Texas’ go-to goal scorer for the next four years. In a soccer program with a lengthy history of talented forwards, Holden stacks up with the best of them with her athleticism and finishing ability.

“She’s highly competitive,” head coach John Hedlund said. “She works extremely hard and she has always been that type of player that’s extremely aggressive and looks to go to goal. She’s a threat because of all the features she can bring game in and game out.”

Holden is currently seventh in career goals at North Texas with 36, and could easily climb to fifth by the end of the 2016 season.

She led the team in scoring as both a freshman and junior and is on pace to exceed both of those goal tallies in her final year with the Mean Green.

“It being my senior year, I just want to go out really strong,” Holden said. “I want to give as much to the team as I can. I think [the success] is all mindset and all of the experience I had leading up to this season.”

This year she has been versatile for the Mean Green, opening up the year as the true striker, but moving to either outside wing position when needed.

Holden has played and started in 77 games for North Texas and has received 19 yellow cards in her career. While this may seem like an inordinate amount for a forward, her approach to the game and how defenses guard her often place her in tough situations.

“She’s always going to be marked heavily,” Hedlund said. “She is a physical player, [and] she never quits on a play. I do believe that, because she plays so hard, it carries over to the rest of the team.”

The yellow cards never seem to rattle or bother the team in a game, unless she receives a red card. The fellow players on the team don’t get bothered because she’s always competing and her aggression is vital to the team’s success.

Her play style has gotten her this far, so Holden sees no point in changing it now.

“I have been getting yellow cards for a while,” Holden said. “I don’t want to compromise my aggressiveness for not playing as hard as I should.”

Regardless of how she is playing, Holden constantly pushes herself and others on the team with her remarkable work ethic.

“Soccer definitely has its ups and downs,” Holden said. “But my faith in God is one thing that keeps me going. I have great teammates and a great family, along with my love for soccer.”

As an aspiring soccer coach, Holden has already shown on numerous occasions the qualities that it takes to push players to be their best. Her leadership is evident on the pitch, and it helps the coaches and her teammates throughout the season.

“I look at her as a big part of the team,” sophomore forward Taylor Torres said. “As a leader, she’s been positive on and off the field because she has great communication with the team.”

North Texas senior forward Rachel Holden (16) sneaks the ball under a Marshall defender during a game on September 22. Holden has started every game she's played over the past four years for the Mean Green. Dylan Nadwodny

North Texas senior forward Rachel Holden (16) sneaks the ball under a Marshall defender during a game on September 22. Holden has started every game she’s played over the past four years for the Mean Green. Dylan Nadwodny

In three years, Holden is a two-time C-USA Offensive Player of the Year (‘13, ‘15) and a two-time C-USA All-Academic team player. The accomplishments make her one of the most decorated players to come through the North Texas soccer program.

And Hedlund understands how difficult it will be to replace her when she’s gone.

“We need players that can consistently put the ball in the net,” Hedlund said. “And she does that for us year in and year out. Her high work rate carries over [to the team]. And that’s who we are, we’re a hard-working team and she’s the perfect player to represent our style of play.”

Despite the accolades and honors, Holden is not quite ready yet to put a ribbon on the season. Not while there’s still something to play for, anyway.

That just isn’t her.

“It’s kind of bittersweet,” Holden said. “Knowing that it’s going to come to an end soon, I just want to go out as strong as possible by winning another conference championship.”

Featured Image: North Texas senior forward Rachel Holden (16) goes between her teammates and high fives them before a game against Texas Southern. Holden has started every game she’s played over the past four years for the Mean Green. Dylan Nadwodny

About Author

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune

Matthew Brune is the Senior Sports Writer for the North Texas Daily, covering football and men's basketball.

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