Dynamo’s Holden heading to England
Now that his four-year run with the Houston Dynamo has ended, midfielder Stuart Holden will make his second trip across the pond, where he will complete the season with the Bolton Wanderers of the English Premiere League.
After his first foray was cut short before it could begin (he was attacked outside a bar shortly after signing with Sunderland in 2005, and his injuries prevented him from making a first-team appearance for the club), Holden will have a second chance to play in what is widely considered the best soccer league in the world.
MLS fans know Holden as a starter and major contributor for one of the best teams in the league. In 2006 and 2007, he helped bring the MLS Cup to Houston, with 88 appearances and 12 goals scored.
In England, he will be just a foreign player who will have to make concessions and wait for his time to try and shape the game.
Bolton is currently at the bottom of the table in the Premiership, but is inching its way out of the relegation zone.
Their low place in the standings will not guarantee playing time for Holden.
Manager Owen Coyle will have to strike a balance between relying on his veteran players and integrating Holden along with three other recent signings.
In the EPL, it is not unusual for transfer players, especially free transfers from the MLS, to begin with little playing time.
Fans watching his debut games should not expect to see Holden for more then 15 minutes, until he can prove his worth against stronger opponents.
Holden would not be the first player to succeed in the EPL after coming from the American league.
Clint Dempsey made the move to English soccer from the New England Revolution in 2007 and is currently the leading goal scorer for Fulham. Dempsey is an asset now, but he played sparingly in his first season and was used as a substitute late in games.
While the signing came before the end of the open transfer window, the timing may prove problematic for his spot on the national team.
The playing time and exposure Holden received playing for a title contending team in the MLS made him an obvious choice to go to South Africa when the team competes for the 2010 World Cup.
If he does not fall off the radar completely, Holden must make the best out of what time he is given, or Bob Bradley, head coach of the U.S. national team, may reconsider his choice.
Holden proved his worth at Houston and became known as a smart, hardworking player. Bolton will benefit from his presence, but the Dynamo is left without another key player.
Houston will be busy evaluating both current talent and new players to replace Holden’s production.
The Dynamo will no doubt miss him, but for Holden, his move to the EPL will hopefully lead to bigger and better things.