Holt Hangs Up Stick with U.S. Men’s National Team

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – After a 16-year career, Will Holt (Camarillo, Calif.) has officially hung up his stick with the U.S. Men’s National Team. The 34-year-old retires after competing in 147 international outdoor matches and scoring 85 goals for Team USA.

A Camarillo, Calif. native, Holt first got exposed to the sport in 2000 after he attended a 2-week physical education course held at his elementary school led by Coralie van Marken. After the course, Van Marken went to his house and insisted that he take up the sport. He signed up for her club, Ventura Roadrunners, and the rest is history.

Holt was hooked, especially to the mental and physiological challenge of the game, and just 7 years later he was named to the U.S. Men’s National Team. He recorded his first international cap on February 9, 2008, against Trinidad and Tobago at the Kia Kaha Olympic Qualifier in Auckland, New Zealand. Alongside playing for the senior squad, he represented on the junior side participating in the 2008 Junior Pan American Championship and 2009 Men’s Junior World Cup, USA first-ever appearance at the event. He competed in multiple test series and international tours over two decades, and many world championship experiences. He played in two Pan American Games (2011, 2015), two Pan American Cups (2009, 2017) and many FIH Hockey World Leagues, claiming gold in 2012 and 2016. He received four Top Goal Scorer of the Tournament honors.

When asked what it’s like being part of Team USA, Holt exclaimed, “Quite honestly, it’s hard to put into words. I would say that It’s been a privilege, and that I am grateful for the opportunity. I have learned so much from this experience, and it has completely shaped me into the person that I am today. As a kid it started with the dream of wanting to play in an Olympic Games, it evolved into an obsession in the journey. I feel like that is where I really found myself, who I really am. Doing anything and everything that I could to get better. My hope is that I inspired someone along the way, and that I’m leaving the shirt in a better place than when it was handed to me.”

Playing for the red, white and blue in any capacity is an unforgettable experience and Holt had many memories that he will take away from his career.

“I’ll always remember my first cap - standing at the middle-line singing the National Anthem for the first time in another country,” remarked Holt. “Big wins of course, important goals, any opportunity that I was given to compete. But the moments that really stick out are doing the simple things with my teammates. Trips to coffee shops the mornings of game days. Playing cards/board games in someone’s hotel room. During conditioning - looking down the line and seeing the misery on everyone’s face, we hated it together, and we worked our tails off for each other.”

During his involvement with Team USA, he honed his skills by playing abroad for 7 years by competing for some of the top European teams spanning the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and England. He played for VMHC Cartouche (2009, 2018-19), Royal Oreé T.H.B (2010), Royal Pingouins HC (2016), Southgate FC (2017), HC Ludwigsburg (2018) and NMHC Nijmegen (2019).

Holt retires from Team USA having competed in 147 international outdoor and 17 indoor matches. During his 16 years with the senior team, he recorded 85 goals, the second most of any American, and was a key threat on attack penalty corners.

Although he is hanging up his USA uniform, Holt is still heavily involved in the game as a coach. He began coaching in Europe in 2010 as the head coach for the Royal Oreé T.H.B U-16 Boys Team in Brussels, Belgium. Following his first stint at the University of Louisville, his alma mater, as a volunteer coach from 2012 to 2015, he returned to Belgium in 2016 and resumed his coaching career at the helm of the Royal Pengouins HC U-16 Boys Team and assistant coach for the U-18 Boys Team. He spent the 2018 and 2019 seasons in the Netherlands coaching the U-16 Boys Team at V.M.H.C. Cartouche and the U-14 Girls Team with NMHC Nijmegen.

Holt was the assistant coach for the U-21 USMNT (2016-19) and U-16 side (2016-18), and head coach of the U-18 team (2016-19). He is currently back coaching at the University of Louisville as an assistant coach and prior to that he was the assistant coach at Indiana University for the 2020 and 2021 seasons. He was the assistant coach for the U.S. Men’s National Hockey5s Team and guided them to the inaugural Hockey5s Pan American Cup title in 2023 and FIH Hockey5s World Cup qualification, where they finished 13th in January 2024.

“I will always advocate for, and fight for the growth of this sport,” commented Holt, when asked what his future plans were. “Not enough is being done for the growth and development of boys/men’s hockey in this country. That needs to change. It is crucial that retired, and current, U.S. Men’s National Team players take the lead in this.”

“Thinking of Coralie - so much work was done to introduce this sport to us, to create and get us into local leagues. This seems to have disappeared. I am so proud of the work that Paul Singh is doing in the Moorpark area to try and revive a league/culture that used to be so vibrant and thriving. There is a massive list of good hockey players that have come from there, and we’re about to host an Olympic Games just down the street in Los Angeles. Things aren’t run like they used to, and that community feels it. I will continue to support Paul and the people that want to bring that area back to what it used to be.”

Holt will enter his third season as the assistant coach at the University of Louisville this fall. “I am lucky to coach at my alma mater, the University of Louisville. My passion for the sport moves from between the lines to the sideline. Not only is this athletic department fully invested in the program, but I feel it is also invested in my own growth and development as a coach. I am very appreciative of the opportunity to coach at this program. What Justine, the head coach, has created here is truly special and I am proud to be a part of it.”

Holt has a long list of individuals he would like to thank, all who have impacted him through the years as an athlete, person and teammate. “Of course I would like to thank my parents and my sister for their unwavering love and support, I couldn’t have gone on this journey without them. The people that chose to invest their time and energy into me, and for believing in me, that includes Coralie, Dave Harris, Ben Maruquin, Nick Conway, Chris Clements, Harendra Singh, (to name a few). I’d like to thank my teammates, all of them, but specifically Pat Harris, Jon Ginolfi, Shawn Nakamura, Pat Cota, Jarred Martin, Rinku Bhamber, and Ian Scally - your leadership had a huge impact on me becoming the man that I am today. You pushed me, you challenged me, you showed me the way. Kevin Barber, Mo Gandhi, Tom Barratt, Paul Singh, Michael Barminski, Manny Martinez, Alex Grassi, Ajai Dhadwal, Adam Miller – so many years, so many memories - our bond is special, it’s been a privilege.

Holt has served on USA Field Hockey’s Board of Director since 2020 in the role of Athlete Director. He is on the Athlete Advisory Committee (AAC) - the liaison to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and USA Field Hockey’s Board of Directors for Team USA athletes.

(Photo by Mark Palczewski)