Brian Hollins grew up just a few feet from USWNT midfielder Carli Lloyd and, at least for him, it was a bit of love at first sight. As the story goes, Hollins would watch Lloyd drag soccer balls out onto the field that separated their houses, seeing her go through her own self-imposed training routine and chasing down soccer balls herself.
He was in love before he really even knew what love was.
Fast forward 15 years and the pair are recently engaged, finding individual athletic success and mutual support. Although Hollins hasn’t been in the stands during this summer’s World Cup, he’s been a constant source of encouragement and, more than a decade after first spying on her training sessions, Lloyd’s biggest fan.
Here’s what you need to know about the golf pro:
1. Hollins is a PGA Golf Pro in New Jersey
Hollins, who attended the Golf Academy of the South in Altamonte Spring, Florida, is currently an assistant golf pro at the Trenton Country Club in New Jersey. Prior to that he worked as a teaching pro and assistant pro at Will Brook Country Club and also spent three years working at the Laurel Creek Country Club.
In addition working on the country club circuit, Hollins has tried to advance his own career and spent time trying to qualify for the PGA Tour and also competed on the Tarheel and Hooters Tours.
Earlier this year, Hollins qualified for the U.S. Open, recording a birdie on the second extra hole to make the cut.
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2. He & Lloyd Met While They Were Growing Up
Lloyd and Hollins both grew up in the small, blue-collar town of Delran, New Jersey with Vermes Field separating their houses. More often than not, Hollins saw Lloyd out on the grass, playing soccer.
The two dated throughout high school and made their relationship work when they became a long-distance duo, focusing on their respective athletic careers. Both Lloyd and Hollins have discussed that they were each determined to achieve individual success and understood that, sometimes, that had to come first.
Still, the two have each been the other’s emotional rocks throughout their careers. In fact, Lloyd’s Nike ID tags on her cleats have ‘BH’ written on them.
3. Hollins Has Said He Loves Lloyd’s Competitive Streak & Determination
When Hollins was growing up, he and his family went to a campground in Ryastown, Pennsylvania every year. When he was a senior in high school, he brought his girlfriend, Lloyd, with him on the yearly vacation.
It was then that Hollins realized he couldn’t imagine himself with any other girl and it had everything to do with her ability to take on any challenge. The Hollins family had been standing along a ridge near the lake, tee’ing up golf balls and trying to drive them across the water. Lloyd, climbing out of the lake, noticed the activity and, immediately, picked up a club to try it herself. Only she lost the driver and it went straight into the water. Hollins told Sports Illustrated:
She just launches it–it sinks to the bottom of the lake and we never find it again. She was mortified. Which I thought was pretty hilarious. But that’s typical Carli. She always thinks she can do it. She is so determined.
Hollins and Lloyd are using that adventurous spirit when it comes to planning their wedding as well. The pair are well-traveled but are looking to try something new, whether that’s four-wheeling or even zip-lining, during their honeymoon.
4. He & Lloyd Are Planning to Get Married After the Rio Olympics
It took a little while – and maybe a bit of nagging from their families – but Lloyd and Hollins finally took their 15-year relationship to the next level and got engaged. The pair, who have worked through two athletic careers and distance over the past decade and a half, plan to get married after the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Lloyd told Team USA that the date would allow her to “have a clear head with nothing else to worry about.” The low-key couple isn’t going overboard with planning either. That, of course, is in large part to their hectic schedules but also because they’ve been together for so long. This wedding is more about their families and celebrating their relationship rather than, as Lloyd put it, the “color napkins we want and the flowers and the centerpieces.”
5. Hollins Isn’t at the World Cup – Neither is Any of Lloyd’s Family
Lloyd does not take kindly to distractions, whether that’s on the field or off it. That’s why, this summer, the USWNT midfielder told Hollins and the rest of her family not to make the trip to Canada for the World Cup. As far as Lloyd is concerned, this tournament is all business and, as she told USA Today, “I don’t bring my family into work.”
It’s also a bit about superstition. Lloyd brought her family to the 2007 World Cup and the United States finished in third. She didn’t bring her family to the 2008 Olympics and won her first gold medal, scoring the game-winning goal in overtime. In 2011, the Lloyd family came to the World Cup and, again, the United States did not win. So, this time around, Lloyd put her foot down. No one was coming to the World Cup.
Hollins described his reaction to being barred from the Cup to USA Today:
I guess we kind of figured out the pattern. I realize when I go, you don’t win. Realistically when our family goes, after the game she’s thinking, ‘All right, how do I spend time with them? Do I do an ice bath or do I get it done quick and go hang out with the family?’ I don’t think that’s a good choice for her to have to deal with. I totally get it, but at first I was like, I’m a distraction? That kind of hurts. But I didn’t take it personally. If that’s what it’s going to take for her to win the World Cup, then I’m all for it.
Lloyd and Hollins have texted and FaceTime’d every day throughout the Cup and, should the United States make it to the championship game, he said he may try to sneak up to Vancouver. Forget any jinxes, Hollins couldn’t miss that game.
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