Holden Brown Holding Strong In Goal For Virginia Men’s Soccer

Virginia Cavaliers Holden Brown
Virginia goalkeeper Holden Brown has played every minute in goal this season. ~ Photo courtesy Matt Riley/Virginia Athletics Media Relations

A season ago, the Virginia men’s soccer team had to find a new goalkeeper to replace 2019 All-American Colin Shutler. Playing for the first time in the UVA kit, Holden Brown stepped in and finished 2021 leading the ACC with 86 saves (No. 4 in the country) and with 4.78 saves per game. Now a junior, Brown has played a crucial role for the Hoos, as they see themselves fighting for the Coastal crown.

Growing up in Zionsville, Indiana, Brown has three siblings: a twin sister and older twin brothers. Sports were big in the household, as one of his brothers, Brock, swims for the Indiana Hoosiers.

“My mom let me and my brothers play any sport we asked to play,” Brown said. “I think we just kind of asked all the generic ones. The only one we didn’t actually ask was football for whatever reason. The two I was the most passionate about were baseball and soccer. My best friend growing up had a huge soccer family. Down the road, I decided to play soccer partly because of him, honestly.”

Brown was part of the Zionsville Youth Academy before moving up to the Indiana Fire Development Academy in 2018, starting e of 12 games. A year later, he joined the Indy Eleven, a United Soccer League team. While at Zionsville Community High School, he was named First-Team All-State as a sophomore and was a member of the 2019 Indiana 3A State Championship team. With his overall success, Brown was rated a four-star recruit and ranked No. 87 in the class, according to Top Drawer Soccer’s Top 150 Club Player Rankings.

Zionsville is about an hour and a half drive from Bloomington. With his brother’s connection and the success of Indiana’s soccer program, Brown may have seemed destined to be the next Hoosier. However, he wanted to adventure outside his home state, which led him to UVA.

“I have connections with IU soccer, and I wanted to get away and challenge myself a little bit,” he said. “Kind of meet some new people and make some new friends.”

During the 2020-21 season, Brown did not see playing time in his first season. With Shutler gone the next season, Virginia put the pressure on Brown to be its keeper, and he answered resoundly. He started every game in goal and played all 1,727 minutes for the season. No. 99 stood his ground, making 5 or more saves in eight games.

This season, the Cavaliers have found a rhythm. They are currently second in the Coastal, and a major matchup against No. 2 Duke is up next on Friday night at 7 p.m. at Klockner Stadium. A win could move the Hoos to the top of the division. Virginia has already won more games this season than it did a year ago when the Cavaliers finished with their second straight below .500 season. Brown has been a reason why, as he has recorded five shutouts. If you take out the Maryland 6-1 loss, Brown has only allowed 7 goals and has made 25 saves in 11 games.

Last Friday, Virginia travelled to play No. 10 Pittsburgh. Philip Horton was the star of the night, scoring 2 goals and recording a career-high 5 points and earning National Player of the Week recognition. On the defensive end, Brown was the story. His extra efforts in goal, making diving stops and halting the Panthers’ attack, put the opposition in a hole. He made a season-high 6 saves, resulting in ACC Co-Defensive Player of the Week honors and a 3-1 win for the Cavaliers, their second consecutive win over an ACC opponent in the top 10.

“It’s cool to see any social media word where all your friends from back home can see that you’re doing well,” Brown said. “Obviously, [my teammates] see me every day in practice, and they know the development I’ve