Holden offered improved MLS contract as transfer window nears

Stuart Holden 2 (Reuters)


After enjoying a dream year for club and country, Houston Dynamo midfielder Stuart Holden is largely considered to be the next player in the U.S. pipeline to make the jump from MLS to Europe during the upcoming winter transfer window. But that potential move seems to be in jeopardy after MLS made an unexpected move.

According to reports out of Europe, Holden has been offered ten times his current salary by MLS, and could snub a move abroad to stay in the U.S. This report claims MLS commisioner Don Garber held talks with Holden last week in an effort to keep him from going to Europe.

"I was pretty flattered," Holden told the Evening Times. "It shows the commitment the MLS has in keeping me in the league. I know this decision is going to impact my career."

Holden is still considering overseas offers, and even though MLS has offered a raise, the MLS offer is still considerably less than what Holden could make in Europe. Scottish Premier League clubs Rangers and Aberdeen have been linked with the U.S. national team midfielder.

Holden enjoyed a career season with the Houston Dynamo in 2009, scoring six goals and assisting on three others in 26 league games. Holden also made his national team debut this year, playing in 12 games.

(SBI-So what's my take? While MLS is offering a major salary increase in MLS terms, it is still not a Designated Player salary, and closer to a max non-DP offer in the $320K-$400K range. While that is good money from an MLS standpoint, it is well below what Holden can make in Europe from teams that can offer olarge signing bonuses for a player who is effectively a free agent. I would still put Holden's chances of staying in MLS at slim.)

What do you think of Holden possibly staying in MLS? Think Holden will decide to play abroad anyway?

Share your thoughts below.

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131 Responses to Holden offered improved MLS contract as transfer window nears

  1. jspot says:

    So they are going to pay him $10,000 now???

  2. jspot says:

    He can get even better haircuts now!

  3. dhawk says:

    If I recall correctly, Holden’s MLS salary was awful low wasn’t it? Even at ten times the current pay, he’d be low paid by European standards.

  4. g-loff says:

    I’m sure the salary still won’t be as high as one in Europe, but I’d rather see him in the MLS than in SPL. Outside of the top couple of teams, the SPL doesn’t offer a whole lot other than hard, late tackles.

  5. dhawk says:

    I just checked that Scotland Times article. Their claim is he makes about 400 Pounds per week (about $650.00). Quite the deal!

  6. bob says:

    haha, good one, good one. and some new scarfs

  7. zoran says:

    but he could become more marketable in the US and make more money of sponsorship as the new blue eyed boy of US soccer

  8. c3j1v62 says:

    10x his current offer will put him in the 300-400k ballpark. Im not sure what kind of offers he is getting from Europe. This definately looks like MLS trying to make Holden into the next Landon Donovan. A recognizable player who is a start for the USMNT. Good move by MLS.

  9. Chuck says:

    I think he was making like 40K a year so 10x that is a pretty significant raise. Clearly playing in the MLS has greatly helped his development, but will staying here allow him to get to that next level? Who knows, it worked for LD

  10. Michael Vann says:

    I’m guessing it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 300-330K. Still too low in my opinion. The boy is going places. He could be the “face” of MLS if Landon leaves permanently. He should be paid accordingly if that’s the case. Stuart is an infectious young man, who’s easy to like and does some amazing charity work. It would be great to see him carry out a long, illustrious MLS career but if he wants to take his game to the next level Europe is the way to go. He knows that. He’s extremely close to his family so I know he’ll sit down and make an educated decision for himself.

  11. Hokie_Futbol says:

    Holden made something like 35k last year…Making 350k, staying the hell out of the bar league that is the SPL, and getting constant playing time might be a good idea for a WC year.

  12. Michael Vann says:

    I’m guessing it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 300-330K. Still too low in my opinion. The boy is going places. He could be the “face” of MLS if Landon leaves permanently. He should be paid accordingly if that’s the case. Stuart is an infectious young man, who’s easy to like and does some amazing charity work. It would be great to see him carry out a long, illustrious MLS career but if he wants to take his game to the next level Europe is the way to go. He knows that. He’s extremely close to his family so I know he’ll sit down and make an educated decision.

  13. Mike says:

    I’d still like to see Holden move abroad, but absolutely not to the SPL.

  14. wilbur06 says:

    Good for him, he deserves to have great offers thrown at him. Good for the MLS making offers to compete with Europe. Looks like he has a tough decision ahead.

  15. Jdavids says:

    No, Stuart. Go Dutch. Come back to MLS when you’re 30.
    Somebody get this kid a better agent.

  16. Trent says:

    Most overrated player since Jeff


  17. JayBoy says:

    If this contract is for 3 years or less, I think it would be a great move for everyone involved. Holden would maintain his starting status and regular minutes with HOU in the lead-up to the World Cup. MLS hold on to a growing star for another two years or so, and eventually could get a big payout if he has a big World Cup.

    Not to mention, it would be nice for MLS to send a signal to promising young players that they appreciate their importance to the league.

  18. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says:

    Since he’s out of contract at Houston and the MLS is willing to sign him.. do they then have the authority to place him anywhere they wish?

  19. John K says:

    He made about 34,000 a year in his MLS contract. So upwards of about 300,000 a year would be his new salary. Would his salary be that much in the SPL?

  20. seba says:

    go to Europe my friend!

  21. Rekro says:

    He’s considered a great player by MLS standards. If he goes to the SPL or La Liga he’ll be just another player fighting for a spot. It’s up to him, some players embrace that challange, others are content being a big fish in a small pond.

  22. Michael Vann says:

    When was Agoos rated in the first place? He was always labeled as decent nothing more, nothing less. Never highly rated. As to Holden I think he’s underrated. He hasn’t even hit his peak and when he does his game will skyrocket.

  23. mwc says:

    Agree with JayBoy.

  24. brandon says:

    If mls wanted to kee him they should have found a way to thrown him some money before his contract was up, too little too late imo, go to Europe and try to make it.

  25. brandon says:

    If mls wanted to kee him they should have found a way to thrown him some money before his contract was up, too little too late imo, go to Europe and try to make it.

  26. Fireball says:

    He needs a clause that says MLS won’t stand in his way if he wants to move after the WC. Not sure that’s really likely (hey, MLS might like the bigger transfer fee) but Holden should really go.

  27. Reid says:

    If I recall correctly Andy Dorman was offered somewhere in the area of 300k a year. Can’t remember if that was $ or pounds, I would think holden would get more.

  28. kpugs says:

    Great and classy move by MLS (for once, finally). Unfortunately for MLS Holden would still be better served playing in Europe, and can easily make the same amount of money or more there.

    I think Aberdeen might be a great move for him…no pressure whatsoever to finish any higher than third in the league. He could make very good money there for 2-3 years and then take a step up to a Rangers or maybe even to England. I envy his options, hope he keeps this up.

  29. steve c says:

    I think I smell what other readers do. Donovan’s leaving MLS. They need a new “face” of the league.. and what better guy to have than American pretty boy Stewie Holden??

    I think its smart and I also agree I would much rather see him playing in Houston than Scotland. Nowwww, if a Bundesliga or Dutch club came forward… My opinion might alter.

  30. rkupp says:

    He’ll become a better international player if he goes to Europe, so I’m hoping he does. Some other young kid will emerge in Houston in his place.

  31. kpugs says:

    I couldn’t disagree more. You could argue that Holden would immediately be Aberdeen’s best player. I don’t know if you’d win that argument, but it certainly isn’t a crazy one.

    One huge mistake many American fans make is assuming every team in Europe is Barcelona. There are clubs in the top tiers in England and Spain who would not win the MLS cup if transported here, and Scotland’s league (no offense meant here just keeping it real) is more or less a joke outside of Hearts (who are having a terrible year), Rangers, and Celtic.

    To say a player of Holden’s ability would be just another player in the SPL is idiotic.

  32. Matt D. says:

    I think if his options are Scotland or MLS, he should take MLS. The money will likely be comparable with the new salary rumored about and he’ll be playing regularly in a good league. If it’s England or Spain or Germany, well, that is a tough decision. I just want players to be playing for the World Cup year, MLS or in another league.

  33. ChelseaMatt says:

    I think he needs to go to Europe, but maybe one more year in MLS wouldn’t be bad. If I were him, I wouldn’t sign more than a one year contract — he can make the leap after the World Cup. In the meantime, I’d try to pull a Donovan or Beckham and try to play somewhere in Europe on loan until March

  34. fischy says:

    I’m pretty sure the Scottish quotes actually come from a New York Times’ interview that, except the vague salary #s. He spoke then of the serious effort MLS was making to sign him. It’s not an easy call for him, especially given that he wants guaranteed playing time going into the World Cup camp. If he could get a short-term deal out of MLS, I’d bet he takes that…hoping to get an even bigger payday after teams see him in the Cup.

  35. EDB says:

    If i was him sign a 2 year deal develop more in the MLS then move.

  36. Carlo says:

    I’m guessing this means, maybe MLS will let Donovan move to Europe, and Holden is going to be the new pretty boy, American face of soccer.

  37. EDB says:

    oh and wait until the collective bargaining agreement is done

  38. Joe says:

    Man, this was CBS quality investigative reporting on Holden’s salary…

    He made $34,728.75 last year.

    If he goes to Scotland, it’s a mistake. He’ll get a better look staying MLS and having a good World Cup. Scotland is a step down from MLS in my opinion.

  39. Charles says:

    A great year with club and country ?

    The Dynamo lost this year ?

    Personally he looked very good. Hopefully MLS can pay him enough to make him stay, way better for US Soccer, especially the USMNT, in the long run.

  40. Brad says:

    Holden has to see what offers come his way… Have to wait it out..

  41. DC Josh says:

    Wow, I had no idea he got his first cap this year. Very impressive he has progressed so far.

    He can still make more money abroad than what MLS offered him. A championship side would get him for a steal for less than £1 million, plus he’d get better competition and maybe experience a relegation/promotion battle.


    Just like Donovan, he can’t progress anymore in MLS, and will only be a marketing tool (Donovan v2.0) for Garber.

  42. cj says:

    I bet there is more than $300K involved in this deal. I am sure Garber told him he would be one of the posterboys for the MLS that would lead to a lot of endorsements deals $$$ that would put him in the $500K+ range. I am sure Adidas might be throwing some more endorsement money his way also.

  43. AdamTheRed says:


  44. tom v says:

    id try to follow what szetela did, just do it better – go to a mid level team in the top division of a top flight league (SPL would be the top division but not a top flight league)and most likely get loaned out to a second division team and have success there. scotland is where players go to die (even if they are young, they are basically done if they stay in scotland) – no need for holden to start his european career there.

    good move by the MLS though. i like what it signifies, though i still think holden should go – he has a bright future ahead of him possibly.

  45. babieca says:

    This is what MLS is going to need to do a lot more of if it wants to improve the quality of the league (among other things).

    Is it a good move for Stu? I’m not sure. He could make a better salary abroad, but there are important quality of life issues as well. Making 350k a year is a damn comfortable living and it might be worth it for him to have guaranteed playing time, be close to his friends, community, keep his radio show, etc. On the other hand, maybe he ants to reconnect with his roots, have a new experience, etc. Since he’ll clearly make a good living wherever he goes, I don’t think any of us can guess what factors will be most important to him.

  46. Aaron in StL says:

    I wonder how long MLS will leave this offer on the table. Does it go offer shortly before the transfer window opens?

    I wonder what tactics MLS will use, possibly try to “scare” him into staying. I agree, go abroad. At the very least, I doubt he’d be payed much more in SPL, so the money factor shouldn’t be an issue there. Let’s hope a Dutch side come to the table.

  47. RNG says:

    Best solution: Resign with MLS and play with Houston through the World Cup (or for one year) to get lots of playing time going into South Africa… but negotiate a buy-out clause so he can go to Europe ASAP after that….

  48. KlinsiGrinsi says:

    SPL? SPL? (same tone as Jim Mora’s Playoffs? Playoffs?)
    Our best player Donovan honed his skills in MLS. I am more convinced than ever that moving from MLS to SPL or Coca-Cola league is a lateral move at best. If the money is right, Holden will be best served professionally staying and playing all the time in MLS. Going to mid-level league or riding the pine in England or Spain doesnt help as much as PLAYING EVERY DAY.

  49. Run away as fast as you can, Stuart. Run, baby run!

  50. Rekro says:

    I never said the SPL was a great league, the point I was trying to make was that in Houston, he’s a lock to be a starter, that wouldn’t be the situation in Scotland. Plus, he’d have a chance to play big time football (champions league, europa league,ect.) I don’t think MLS is a “bad league”, I just think he should go some place where the competition is better. You can’t tell me that playing Pachuca, Arabe Unido, and Municipal is the same as playing Juventus, Marseille, and Atletico Madrid.

  51. Erik says:

    Its great to see that MLS is ready to pony up some dough to keep him, but I’d much prefer to see him playing in Europe. I just don’t think that MLS constitutes the challenge that playing in Europe does, and the league won’t provide an environment in which his game will grow like it has the potential to.

    Someone else up there said they like him to go to the Dutch league. I’d be in favor of him going to a league like the Netherlands where he’ll get the European professional soccer environment, but he’ll still be getting game minutes. It will set him up nicely for a move to a bigger league in a couple of years.

  52. john godfrey says:

    good to see MLS stepping up….but let’s let Garber and gang sweat a little. Stuart should hold out for more money and the opportunity to play in a better league.

  53. Jamie Z. says:

    God, no more Yanks at Rangers! Please, no more Yanks at Rangers!

    England would be nice, a strong Dutch team would be nice. I’d love to see him with a club like Sunderland or AZ Alkmaar.

  54. DL says:

    I think this is true, however, I have heard him say on MANY occasions that he does not want to play for any team in MLS besides the Dynamo b.c. 1) he grew up in Houston and 2) has strong philanthropic ties to city. I can see MLS offering a 4 year deal worth 1.3+ million and trying to sale him in years 3 and 4 with 3 being the year they try and really make a beneficial sale and 4 being a lets get what we can get for him. I think this will resemble the situation with Kenny Cooper where they tried to really get a big price for a year and then ended up sending him for a reasonable price the following year.

    I just want to see Stuart wearing the orange again next year. With him this team is a credible threat to win again. Mulrooney steps in for Clark at DM and the team keeps on rolling.

  55. MikeK says:

    No more Yanks at Rangers, indeed. Beasley and Edu go to Scotland and disappear, and we want Holden to go there too? Great idea. Not to mention that incident where Edu was racially abused on his way back to his car by a Rangers fan…

    He should stay with Houston, maybe 1 or 2 more years. Wait until he gets a better offer. He still needs to establish himself.

    Situation is much different than Landon. LD only has a few more good years left in him, while Holden has his whole career.

  56. Guy Gayle says:

    Whether he goes or not, it’s nice to see MLS at least making an effort to keep young talent.

  57. Double M says:

    I’m glad that MLS has offered Holden a contract to stay in the league. But I still feel MLS needs to do away with owning and negotiating all the player deals. What would Holden really get in the open market in MLS? I’d love to see that. More money? Less money? Either way…let’s see it play out.

  58. Didier says:

    I think it’s been pretty well-established that mid-level European transfers are a wash at best. More of our promising players have gone to Europe and struck out than those who have come back better than ever.

    Also, our top performing European players (Dempsey, Howard, Bocanegra) were all well-established in MLS and/or the U.S. national team before going abroad. I don’t think Holden has obviously outgrown MLS, as Dempsey had, and he doesn’t even have a great offer from Europe anyway.

    Good luck to him either way he goes, but I think a young player is better off gaining confidence in a league and position he is comfortable in rather than going to a completely new country, learning a completely new system of soccer (ie how the teams work, how the game is played, etc).

  59. tim says:

    Not true at all. He absolutely would have to stay with Houston unless Houston agreed to trade his rights or waived him.

    When anyone says “league negotiations” that means with the Dynamo FO

  60. DC Josh says:

    Ives, I can’t reply to users comments, after hitting the link it comes up blank…

    Replying to KlinsiGrinsi:

    Donovan is good not because MLS made him good, but he was born that way. He would be twice as good if he was playing in Europe the last 5 years. MLS has talent in the starting XI that can compete with some European clubs in top flight leagues, but they don’t have the depth those clubs have. The Championship and SPL have more money than MLS, hence, better competition for the players.

    To those saying he’ll go to Rangers, they don’t have the money to buy anyone. They need to make money in the transfer window to avoid going into administration.

    He’ll get murdered if he goes there, but he was born in Scotland, so I assume that gives him a European passport? At least a UK passport?

  61. tim says:

    I assume by “lost” you mean didnt win MLS Cup. You do know that 14 other teams “lost” also right? Not to mention that had Hainult goal in the LA game not been called by the the Don then Houston probably would have “won”.

  62. JoeW says:

    It’s a World Cup year–that changes EVERYTHING. I’m not surprised that Holden appears to be staying “local.” In MLS he knows he can attend the January WC camp (which is CRITICAL for him). He knows he’ll have no problem being excused for any US camp or friendly (even if it’s not on an official FIFA date). With Donovan and Dempsey and Bradley not being quite so accessible, this is a golden opportunity for young Holden to see major minutes in the first half of 2010 in every US match. But if he goes overseas, he’ll have a manager who’ll release him only 2 days prior, he’ll miss the January camp (as likely will Donovan and anyone else moving to Europe even if only on loan), he’ll miss a couple of friendlies that aren’t on official FIFA dates, he won’t get to camp early and he’ll face pressure from his club manager about his absences and if he really wants to play for the club or not.

    In any other year, I think Holden would be going across the pond. But not this year.

  63. MexicanBlueFish says:

    jajajajaja! Eso estuvo buenísimo

  64. How do you say "goodbye" in Scottish? says:

    I think this is too little, too late. MLS is losing out on this one with no transfer fee by letting him play out his original poor contract. He can make just as much money in Europe. He is in the drivers seat now. This is a desperate attempt to try and keep him. Stu is gonna head to Europe.

  65. DC Josh says:

    JoeW, good point. He ould really become a leader for the fringe players and establish his case for the right winger, as well as prepare himself for South Africa. But I still think if he finds himself starting for 5 months, he’ll learn more than 3 months in MLS.

  66. DC Josh says:

    ***Meant to say starting in Europe for 5 months***

  67. Grant says:

    He makes $34,000 a year or thereabouts.

    So $340,000 isn’t bad in MLS terms. Looking at the current salaries that would put him just outside the top 10 earners in the league.

    Still, Ives is completely right when he says Stu could make 2 or 3 times that at even a middling team (European wise) like Rangers or Aberdeen.

    Given that, it’s really not hard to see why so many guys go to Denmark or Norway or Sweden rather than MLS.

  68. Jacopo Belbo says:

    it is this simple. if you want the usmnt to be mediocre than feel free to hope that the most talented US players stay and ply their trade in the world’s minor league of soccer the MLS.

    if you want the usmnt to one day compete as a true top 10 nation in world soccer than you need to realize that will only be true when the ENTIRE roster of usmnt players are plying their trade as regular starters or stars at clubs of the Fulham level or higher.

    can the mls teams (and hopefully a strong academy programme and reserve league) be a good place for that young B+ talent that doesn’t get the chance to go straight to a european team’s academy as a youngster. yes, that is the hope. ideally should any of the 50 players in the usmnt player pool be plying their trade in MLS no. it would be like if spain, england, italy, etc had player in their team pools that plied their trade in FA League One or Serie C.

  69. b-hags says:

    even more to spend on bleach for that classy frosted tip look!

  70. Chris in Belfast says:

    I think this is a very shortsighted comment, and it’s one that bugs me more and more from US Soccer fans. I got this from Fire fans after I said I was pleased with this year’s season, despite Chicago not winning the cup. The Dynamo got to the Western Conference Finals and played an absolute cage fight of a game with LA, and they acquitted themselves well in CONCAChampions play. I’d say their season was very successful.

    Maybe it’s MLS parity that breeds this skewed notion of success in the States, or maybe it’s our sporting culture, but I don’t understand people who think that not winning the title every single year is a failure. I feel like this about players going abroad, too. Sure, playing at a mid-table Dutch team might not give Holden a chance to win trophies, but I do think that playing there will make him better. Michael Bradley grew by leaps and bounds when he went to Heerenveen, and he’s only getting better at ‘Gladbach. Sure, he’s not in a position to grab silverware, but he’s becoming a better player, which is making the MNT better.

    I’m open to the argument that paying American players enough to stay in the league will be better for US Soccer and the MNT in the long run, in fact I agree with it wholeheartedly. The knock on effect of that would be hurting the chances of the league and the MNT in the short run, which I’m not sure many people would be ok with.

    Is this the same Charles from MLS Talk?

  71. Ghost of Clint Dempsey says:

    You are insane if you think Stuart is staying in the MLS unless he is getting paid significantly higher than what other clubs offer him period.

    His younger brother Euan, if you check his twitter, hes apparently signing with an english club… says he packed up his whole apartment in a day and got on a plane to England. Obviously you know what level Euan will most likely be playing at since he hasn’t grown as a player yet.

    He was with Stuart the night they got jumped… he may just be going back to England to find those guys since hes not 17 like he was when it happend. Just a very well thought out post that required no thinking at all, should mix in well with all the garbage people are posting about there really being a strong chance of him staying in the MLS. NO WAY IS IT HAPPENING.

    He’s looking at a club that hes going to get playing time on not just the best contract… thats the only argument for MLS… to be a safe environment for him to stay on pace for the WC team..

    THIS IS BIG MONEY TIME. If this wasn’t a WC year which requires playing time, whats the best team you think he could be a reserve on? Need to put on some muscle for that EPL

  72. To many comments to read for my time so I’ll just leave my own.

    While I’m glad MLS is “stepping up to the plate” to keep a quality young talent in the league, I just don’t see even DP money being enough to keep him hear. BUT, I think Holden’s smartest move is to take the MLS offer for a 1 year contract, dominate in MLS next spring so he gets a call up to the World Cup, have a steller World Cup, then he can make major money at a major club next campaign, and hopefully outside of Scotland.

  73. Champions of England says:

    According to Sky Sports Maurice Edu is looking to make his first appearance in todays game…great news!

  74. Judging Amy says:

    Def. Stu’s gonna be real real good. I love the way he plays.

  75. Your Mamma says:

    Wow you are quite the fool. I don’t know much, but I do know this… There are a lot of European countries with whose entire national teams consist of guys not playing in MLS, who watching the World Cup on TV. If you got your head out of your Eurosnobb arse every once in a while you might notice that MLS is and has been producing some very nice players lately.

  76. Chris in Belfast says:

    Well… Most Scots would just say “Goodbye.” But someone who speaks Gaelic would say “Slane leat.”

  77. Charles says:

    Good to talk with you again Chris,

    It is definitely a difference between Europe and US. They did not win…anything.

    In England they would be considered a success. I have NO idea how they watch that league. Some of those teams haven’t won anything in 20 years+ and never will for another 20+ years either.

    Maybe in Holden’s case he might benefit the USMNT from joining Europe for a while, but for the long run of the USMNT they need to get players like him to stay in the US.

  78. Chris in Belfast says:

    And an easy riposte to this is that those clubs face a much more difficult task of qualifying for a World Cup than we do, as well as having much healthier leagues in close proximity that their players can go get experience in.

    I want to see MLS get better, and I dream of a MNT made up exclusively of MLS based world beaters, but that’s a LONG way off, and right now the easiest way for promising American talent to get better quick is to go abroad.

  79. Charles says:

    I am well aware that 14 other teams lost, as my Sounders were one of them, being knocked out by Houston.

    That is quite the rivalry for only one year….

  80. bleepblip says:

    i guess philly not taking holden in the expansion draft, might actually end up being a mistake

  81. kobao says:

    PR move to show people that are going to start at least “trying” to keep talent from skipping off to Europe at the first opportunity.

  82. roger says:

    Pachuca should not be mentioned with those two others teams.. they have competed in the fifa world club championship.

    take it easy!!!

  83. roger says:

    he should stay IF NOT I will take his gf away (GORGEOUS!!!)hahaha she is the daughter of our ex-US operations president for my company.

  84. DC Josh says:

    this is fantastic news, if he’s fully fit.

  85. madmax says:

    Garber is desperate to hold onto some quality for MLS. With salary cap, contract talks, and expansion all coming together for a perfect storm, Garber’s next moves or lack of moves could be a turning point for the MLS. Right now Garber’s running on expansion fumes while quality continues to drip away.

    Holden should refuse MLS for two reasons,
    1. Personal development (not to SPL though)
    2. Lack of commitment by MLS to improve league quality

  86. Charles says:

    That would be terrible.

    There is probably some Euro-lovers that are excited about it…”yay, now we can go to a single conference”…

    I thought the MLS was paying him huge money to avoid this?

  87. Eric K says:

    Hey, I’ll give MLS credit for doing what they can to keep a good young player. We can’t always match what other leagues can offer but we can try our best. And at some point, some guys just want to leave for more lucrative and challenging pastures. At that point, what else can you do.

  88. wally says:

    I think Aberdeen would be a terrible move. Granted, the money is better. But the quality of his team-mates and the competitation is hardly all that different from MLS. And the chances of him suffering career altering injury would be increased by orders of magnitute.

  89. BCC says:

    Well said.

    The constant stream of “Americans couldn’t hack it in Europe” grows tiresome.

  90. Chris in Belfast says:

    I definitely agree with your last point, but I’d reiterate that convincing guys to stay here will have a detrimental short term effect on the talent levels of MLS and the success of the MNT. I don’t envy the person who’s coach of the MNT during that transition.

    I think a lot of my circumspection as a sports fan comes from having grown up a fan of the Iowa State Cyclones. A successful season for the Clones was five wins a football season. Go bowling? Holy crap, the world is at your feet. Get into the NCAA tourney (apart from the Fizer/Tinsley golden years)? Commence celebrations.

  91. cfig says:

    As a Dynamo fan I’d love to see Stu stay, but as a National Team fan I’d really like to see him go abroad and improve his game. He hasn’t outgrown MLS yet but I really want to see him reach his full potential.

    I’m quite certain that he’s got other offers other than just Scotland (he’s pretty much said that) and that he’ll only be leaving for a situation where he’s got a good shot to be playing significant minutes. I wonder if some sort of loan a la Donovan’s Everton deal would be a possibility? That would give him a chance to get some time and quality training then come back to MLS if things don’t work out.

  92. ko'd says:

    EDB said in reply to EDB…

    oh and wait until the collective bargaining agreement is done

    Maybe the best post I have seen in this discussion. If the MLSPA decides to go on strike, he wouldn’t be getting playing time in MLS, would he?

  93. Steve W says:

    He should go to a decent, 2nd tier Euro league where he gets time on the pitch and won’t be bludgeoned (NOT the SPL). Something like the Dutch or German or French 2nd div or 1st div lower table team. MLS is a dead-end for an up-and-comer like Holden (Lando should jet out ASAP and never look back, until the end of his career, ala Becks).

  94. cfig says:

    That is a very good point. But is that going to happen before the end of the European transfer window?

  95. Hood Rich says:

    Make the money while you can, i.e., go to Europe now.

    Avoid SPL, cause you will get hurt and may have
    career-ending injuries.

    If you fail, you can always come back to MLS. e.g., Convey, Kirovski.

  96. Elliott says:

    I think Stu could use another 2 years in MLS before making the move – so a 3 year deal with the 3rd year at his option (not the leagues) would be ideal. Plus, if he signs this deal, has a strong World Cup, then both he and MLS could make some serious cash in the summer transfer market!

  97. baquito alyeska says:

    agreed. it’s definitely a pretty big unknown in this.

  98. el naranja says:

    Houston has repeatedly tried to offer him a larger contract, with an extension. Stuart politely declined every time.

  99. Hood Rich says:

    Let’s look at the math:

    Earning potential in Europe: 500k – 700k USD
    500 x 3 .. 700 x 3 = 1.5 M .. 2.1M

    350 x 3 = 1.05 M

    Opportunity Cost: 500k to 1M

    He will lose 500k to 1M by staying in MLS for next 3 years.

    Would you be willing to lose that much knowing the impact?

  100. 123 says:

    He’s 24. If he wants to improve and have a significant career in Europe he should pack his bags right now. If he waits a couple of years he doesn’t get tougher games regularly and doesn’t develop further. He hits his MLS peak and goes to Europe at 27. He fights for playing time in Holland for few years (on loan in Belgium for season 2013-14)and makes a MLS comeback at 31.

    Your February 2014 Questions Answered 2/4

    Jeff: “Hey Ives, great site! Who should Klinsmann start next summer in Brazil?

    What’s Freddy Adu’s situation in Benfica? He hasn’t played since that friendly in 2011 but I feel he’s one of the most talented Americans. And why doesn’t Holden get PT at Genk? He was one of my favorites in MLS. When do we get relegation/promotion?

    Cheers, Jeff”

    Ives: “Well, first of all, Holden should have gone to Europe in January ’10 when he was offered a deal…

  101. Mike in Long Island says:

    Don’t forget he was at Sunderland a few years ago before he got blasted in the face…. he will definitely blossom in Europe. Staying in MLS is a huge mistake.

  102. ewr says:

    Your realize you talking about OUR league, right! Dude!

  103. Charles says:

    Well as a Seattle fan I have not had too many GREAT seasons outside of the Sounders.

    The MLS will never have fans until it can keep the Holdens of the nation.

    Not making the Final 16 (WCup ’06 ) and then have even those players leave for Europe is not the winners US fans will pay money to watch.

    IF Garber is worth anything his conversation is probing around how much less he would accept to stay here.

  104. Rory says:

    Houstan should dump the overweight Landin and have to use a DP spot on Holden. That would make it worth his time.

  105. Charles says:

    Lack of MLS commitment to improve player quality ?


    lack of US soccer fans attending MLS games to improve player quality ?

    I think it is the latter. We will see when the league increase salary caps with newfound Sounders type money.

  106. Charles says:

    Yeah, having a weak league leading to a weak USMNT is something every US soccer fan wants.

  107. Rory says:

    You know what it is? It’s that we have so many bandwagon Man United fans that they think whatever team they choose to follow should win every year. Anything less is a disappointment.

  108. ko'd says:

    I think the unknown weighs in favor of heading across the pond (of course, that assumes that he has those concrete options). From the reporting on CNN and Soccernet, it sounds like negotiations are not progressing. That would lead me to two points:

    1) If they strike, my understanding is that they can’t even practice together as a team (correct me if I am wrong). Thus, not only would Stuart (and others) not get playing time in competitive matches, they would be on their own.

    2) (unrelated to Holden) A strike would be the worst possible thing to happen to MLS. I cannot think of a bigger disaster for the present and future success of the league. I welcome any counterarguments, but I can’t think of a worse situation vis a vis new teams, new fans, and a bad economy.

  109. ko'd says:

    Sorry. You’re “opportunity cost” analysis left out too many variables. One, if he goes to Europe and doesn’t play, his chances of make the World Cup are very slim. Two, if he goes to the World Cup and has a decent tournament, his value goes up exponentially and he could potentially secure a huge pay day after that.

    That would negate your alleged delta, wouldn’t it?


  110. ko'd says:

    “your,” not “you’re”. Mea culpa.

  111. obxfly says:

    Hey Stuart! If you decide to stay, get the money up front and make your contract only for one year.

  112. Kyle Feller says:

    I’d love to see Stu stay in Major League Soccer, but I think “getting paid” is the most important thing to Stu and he will head to much greener pastures somewhere in the backwoods of Europe.

  113. Matt says:

    Very true that the more tickets/jerseys/etc are sold, the better MLS will do. But, consider that a lot of USMNT fans don’t live very close to MLS teams… I live in Pittsburgh and do my best to make it to Columbus a couple times a year (and caught a game in Chicago during a work trip this year too). But a 6 hour round trip is not something I can do for every Columbus home game. And that’s in the Northeast where the geographic density of teams is relatively high. Fans in the Southeast, AZ/NM, Minnesota, etc. would have to make a serious financial and time commitment to regularly attend games.

    I hope the fans who are blessed with teams in their cities will support MLS more as the league develops.

  114. Charles says:

    That is hillarious because it is perfect and sad because it is perfect at the same time.

  115. Matt says:

    The dichotomy between what’s best for the USMNT and MLS in the short term vs. the long term is the key. As a National Team fan who thinks we can do well in South Africa, I want to see Stu (and the other boys) get as much PT as possible, with as high quality teammates and opponents as possible, between now and June. If a team like Fulham, Everton, Villareal, Eindhoven, any respectable club in a respectable league would pick up Holden and give him decent minutes, it would be great for him short term. Altidore is starting to show good things with Hull, for example.

    But as several have mentioned above, in the long run for MLS to reach and sustain a level worthy of comparison to the top Euro leagues, they need to hold on to talent like Holden, and attract more foreign players (and not just the over-30 guys looking to try living in the States for a few years). I believe the league is moving in the right direction, with Seattle as a prime example. MLS needs to develop solid revenue streams so they can afford to pay talented players enough to make staying worth their while.

    So hopefully whatever Stu decides, he’ll get on the pitch and keep up his form. Whether as a starter or a super-sub, I think the US’s prospects will be affected greatly by this kid.

  116. Skip Walker says:

    FYI, according to the MLS Players Union his guaranteed salary was $34,728

    Here’s the link to every player in the leagues salary from usa today.

    link to usatoday.com

  117. JT says:

    if the mls really wants to foster american soccer players, why not have a cap on foreign players pay, but uncap american born players pay. It’d be great if we could hold on to the mid-tier players or up and coming ones in the mls instead of having them get paid a bunch in Europe to ride the pine and not improve.

  118. Chris in Belfast says:

    I can’t believe it took me this long to figure it out, but seriously… it’s a World Cup year. There’s no way those guys strike. If ANY of them harbor World Cup ambitions, they would torpedo it by going into work stoppage. If they stop playing, then any of the solid/fringe nats who play MLS will take whatever shot they can in a European league or in Mexico/South America. There’s just no way something like a strike is a doable thing for national team players.

  119. gerald says:

    Some tells me Trent’s post is filled with Sarcasm

  120. tom R says:

    If its a typicalor 2 year MLS contract with MLS one way options it is crap.

  121. Jeff M in Houston says:

    IMHO, dunno if Convey’s time was a failure…Over 3 years, he played on team gaining promotion, and played in their 1st EPL season while achieving what the Italians call La Salvezza, Salvation aka Avoiding the Drop. After that injuries got to him…

  122. Jeff M in Houston says:

    Big Q for our leader, Ives…Does MLS have a contract clause or trusted practice of “Sign & Trade” like the NBA (and maybe MLB)…Is it something that the Players’ union is hip to?…It would suck for all concerned if Stuey, my boy, left MLS on a FREE and no-one got any $$$$s.

  123. RLW2020 says:

    sarcasm and another random episode of hating on Agoos

  124. RLW2020 says:

    well said. he will be the “donovan” most likely during the JanCamp and vs. Honduras. that plus a few solid months playing with Dominic Kinnear will put him in a much better situation for this coming year

  125. RLW2020 says:

    not happening…

    … better NOT happen

  126. Hush says:

    Every national player in our pool should be striving for Europe!!! You play the game as a kid hoping one day you’ll step on a field in Europe, the holy grail of FUTBOL!! Anyone who dreams as a kid that one day he will play for the MLS is not that ambitious!! Those are very low standards if you ask me!

    Europe is the ultimate stage in a soccer players career! Everyone who plays Futbol should be dreaming of one day to play for a European team, whether is, Celtic,Rangers,PSV,Herreveen,Ajax,Hammarby,Lyon,Porto,Benfica,Man u,Barca,etc…. It doesn’t matter for who, but to play against the best footballers in the world.

    Those who say Holden should stay in the MLS have no idea about the game.

  127. SrySnffy says:

    France would be a perfect place for Stu to develop.

  128. K1p says:

    Houston protected Stu, but not Clark.

  129. Rex says:

    I bet MLS is offering to make him their poster boy. He is personable and good; just what MLS needs. Two years as one of the top players and most popular then he either can sign as a DP for millions in the MLS or move overseas with his large american fan base not far behind.

  130. Luke says:

    MLS needs more forsight in signing their up and coming talent to reasonable contract extentions. Holden has been a rising star for at least the last year and maybe 2. Instead of waiting until he becomes a free agent and getting into a bidding war with European teams, MLS should have signed him to an extension last year for 3x to 4x what he was making. That would have made Holden happy and saved MLS money. Also, if a European team came calling they could have made a tidy sum in a transfer.

    If a European team came calling and offered me $800k or more to play in even a low to mid level European league, such as Norway, Sweden, Denmark. I know what I’d choose.

  131. bryan says:

    leave for europe IF it is a good team. dont go to aberdeen!