Stuart Holden

Stuart Holden (10) of the United States (USA). The United States and Haiti played to a 2-2 tie during a CONCACAF Gold Cup Group B group stage match at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA, on July 11, 2009. Photo via Newscom

Position: Center Midfield/Outside Midfield

Club: Bolton Wanderers (England)

Club Career

Stuart Holden, born in Aberdeen, Scotland, has flirted with European success on two occasions but twice ended up on the wrong end of violence.  Holden, after moving to the United States as a child, journeyed across the pond in 2005 to start his club career with England’s Sunderland, but due to a nightclub altercation that left him with a fractured eye socket, he never featured for the team.  Following that short stay, Holden signed with the Houston Dynamo and by 2009 had earned a starting, and starring, role.  His upward career arc continued in 2009 when he was named to MLS’ Best XI.

Holden then found himself in a rare position for a soccer player – that of a free agent. Houston wanted to offer him a new contract, but he sought the challenge of European soccer.  In December 2009, he began a trial with England’s Burnley, but shortly thereafter Burnley’s manager, Owen Coyle, left for a higher profile job at Bolton Wanderers.  Fortunately for Holden, Coyle still wanted the midfielder and officially signed Holden in January.  A minor injury kept Stuart out of the lineup until February, but after his first two starting performances received high praise, he appeared to have locked down a starting job.

Just four days after his second match with Bolton, a horrendous foul committed against Holden changed those plans.  Dutch defender Nigel de Jong was lambasted by both his coach and the media for a reckless tackle that broke Holden’s leg.

Fortunately, Holden should make a complete recovery, and, as of the first week of May, was back to full-training with Bolton, hoping to make an appearance in their last game of the season.

National Team History

Due to the USA’s current depth in midfield, Holden didn’t receive his first international cap until July 2009, but he made sure Bob Bradley took notice.  Featuring in all 2009 Gold Cup matches (most national team starters were rested as the Gold Cup followed right on the heels of the 2009 Confederations Cup), Holden led the US to a runners-up finish and was elected to the All-Tournament Team.  The suitably-impressed Bradley then chose to play Stuart in all of the remaining World Cup qualifiers, starting him twice.

When playing with a full-strength USMNT, Holden has come on as an outside midfield substitute (normally on the right).  Barring the state of a few teammates’ injuries, he could find himself a World Cup starter.  Whether a starter or substitute, Holden appears ready to make a name for himself in South Africa.

Official US Soccer Bio

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