Holden completes move to Bolton

Stuart Holden 3 (ISIphotos.com) 

Photo by ISIphotos.com

Stuart Holden's quest for a European club has finally resulted in a contract, meaning he can now begin working toward battling for a place in the U.S. World Cup squad.

Bolton manager Owen Coyle has confirmed that the club will sign Holden as one of two winter acquisitions, along with Manchester City's Vladimir Weiss.

Holden is nursing a minor thigh injury that could delay his transition into the team, but he could be with the squad for its Tuesday league match vs. Burnley.

Holden joins former Dynamo teammate Ricardo Clark, who has signed with Eintracht Frankfurt, as Americans to make major transfer moves from MLS this winter.

What do you think of the move? Eager to see him on the field in the EPL? Think he can play his way into a starting role ahead of the World Cup?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Americans Abroad, European Soccer, U.S. Men's National Team. Bookmark the permalink.

94 Responses to Holden completes move to Bolton

  1. TimN says:

    Good move, and aside from this, Holden should be a lock for the WC team this summer, ESPECIALLY, given the play of the group that took the pitch this past Saturday.

  2. Dan says:

    i love this picture of Holden. it’s like someone made fun of his frosted tips and he’s taking his ball and going home. :]

    other than that, hope he gets some time on the field. good move for stu.

  3. Steve T. says:

    I forsee another DNP on the Americans Abroad posts.

  4. ryan says:

    This should be a good move for him, provided he gets some opportunities and shows well. I think he is one of the most exciting young prospects in the US, and I expect him to perform admirably. I’ll certainly be watching excitedly.

  5. William the Terror says:

    agreed. thus begins his slide into obscurity.

  6. DrewROC says:

    Players with US National team aspirations must look at clubs like Houston as a great stepping stone to international level soccer. Sure Clark and Holden were good players before, but Houston helped them hone their skills to a higher level.

    There’s a lot to be said for consistency in coaching and FO of a team.

  7. RIP says:

    I wonder if this deal was revived after Coyle got Arsene Wenger mad after their game last week. Everyone knew Jack Wilshire wasn’t heading to Bolton after that.

  8. Lester says:

    Although he doesn’t have the creativity as Dempsey. I see him having a similar career in the EPL. Remember, Dempsey didn’t start at Fulham immediately and now look at him.

  9. dc101 says:

    wait i am lost, so is he going on loan? if so that would mean he signed a new contract with MLs right? If not then would it not be a huge mistake to go somewhere temporary? IF he were to get hurt, he would be jobless? I must have missed something here

  10. BrianK says:

    This is a good move for him. I am a little surprised. I honestly thought that the thigh injury story was a way of letting him down softly.

    Good for Stewart.

  11. Katatonia says:

    look at the bright side, even though our players are getting injured before the WC, at least theyre not getting shot in the heads. FFS!

    link to sportsillustrated.cnn.com

  12. art says:

    I don’t know about this…Holden will have to do something more to prove to me he can play in the EPL, frankly I didn’t think he was consistently all that great in MLS. Something tells me this might be a Benny Fielhaber at Derby sort of situation.

  13. DC Josh says:

    Holden has the best right foot on the MNT. I hope he can expand his passing range in England and become the quarterback our midfield needs.

  14. Looks like I have a new favorite team in the relegation race! Get some PT, Holden, do your thing.

  15. Pat says:

    I’m pretty sure the article is incorrect, he didn’t have a contract with MLS.

    As far as the move itself, doesn’t seem that great for him for the next 5 months considering they’re siging Weiss at the same time!

    (SBI-The article is, in fact, incorrect with regard to his contract status. They incorrectly assumed he was in a similar situation to Donovan and Beckham.)

  16. south says:

    Well done Holden! Huge accomplishment for an American player to be playing in the Premier League at 24.

    Coyle seems to think highly of him as well, which is only a good thing. If he can replicate his international form in this league, which he will have to do, I don’t think he’ll have any problem slotting into a starting line-up and developing into an even better player.

  17. Of course we’ll see DNP’s, but Coyle must have a real interest in Holden for him to bring him along to Bolton, and you’ve got to imagine that Bradley supported this move or he wouldn’t have gone through with it.

  18. Joe Quake says:

    Now I’m really glad LD didn’t go to Club America…

  19. Barry U says:

    The UK papers don’t get MLS at all so that is why you see these on-loan blah, blah, stuff. I hope Stu’s reps are smart enough to not do some short term deal.

    As far as him playing. I think he gets minutes from Coyle. If he can do what we’ve seen in WCQ and Gold Cup he will be fine. I think Stuart is the best crosser of the ball the US has at this moment. I always take what Eric Wynalda says with a grain of salt but he compared Stu’s crossing to Becks. If he is one step down from level that it is pretty good. Also, his ability to hit shots from range out of the midfield is up there with Clint (who has been doing that for fulahm lately) and Ricardo Clark (who i hope does more that now that he is in Europe). Then take into account that Stu does not stop running and you have a really good base for an EPL player. I hope it works out.

  20. Keith G. says:

    I am thinking the same thing as Art said in his last sentance, about this being another Feilhaber-Derby move. I do disagree with him on his play in the MLS as he was a good player. Great? I am not so sure of. I dont know why but just the way this transfer went, I am thinking you will see him come off the bench 3 or 4 times this season. Then everyone will be saying he should have never made the move. Especially to a team that might just get relagated. Here is to Holden though, as I hope he can be Bolton’s version of Dempsey, and hope he helps keep the team in the EPL.

  21. DC Josh says:

    debbie downer.

    Holden is much better than you think. Give him some time and he will thrive over there.

  22. MVK says:

    I dont know, hes more in the mold of the players that have been successful in moves. The move isnt because of hype or his phyiscal abilitys…

    Why would they even sign him after being on trial? I just dont think if say Jozy would have been on trial like Holden he would be in Europe…

    I think Holden will do very well with talent around him, he will not be forced to do anything and can just find space and whip in crosses, which he has EPL ability to do. Holden actually brings something to the table, and something that makes everyone around him better.

  23. Isaac says:

    Haha! Yeah he looks slightly ticked.

  24. Richard says:

    So when can we expect that big Gooch, etc. story today, Ives?

  25. alex says:

    Ives, any news on the CBA negotiations (or what we can expect from an agreement)? It’s gone quiet over the past week or so.

  26. Isaac says:

    It’s a good move for Holden in my opinion. He fits right in with the English style of play and I’ve always said he seems to have a Frank Lampard presence to him. As he loses that pace and energy, he’ll have to develop his technical ability and tactical aptitude. If he solidifies a spot on the team, either as a sub or starter by the end of the season, I wouldn’t be shocked.

  27. ThaDeuce says:

    Congratulations Holden!

  28. TimN says:

    @Steve T.

    Why so negative?? Dempsey didn’t immediately start playing @ Fulham. However, he earned his keep and it has paid big dividends.

  29. Bob Weir says:

    I bet Holden finds more success in the EPL than Jozy or Landon for that matter.

  30. Jeff says:

    I thought Weiss was really impressive in the friendly vs. Slovakia, and he was really young (19, if I remember) and also played on the wing. I wonder if he may play ahead of Stu.

  31. MickND says:

    Totally agree. Terrible opportunity for Holden.

  32. wilyboy says:

    I would be a lot happier if Weiss hadn’t also been signed. Makes his battle for minutes far more difficult.

    However, I think Holden deserves to be playing in this league, and hopefully a trusting manager will get the best out of him.

  33. El Michael says:

    Great move. Holden is talented, bright, mature and takes is career very seriously. He’s making the move at the right time in his career and in a couple years I’m sure he can duplicate the success of Clint

  34. jgeeeeer says:

    Congrats but I can’t say I’ve been especially impressed by him yet. I feel like he’s going to struggle to get off the bench – and even then he’ll take some time to warm up in the EPL. Plus he looks like Draco Malfoy so he won’t be getting any love in England.

  35. Nicole says:

    The article says he’s only signed until the end of the season. Is that correct? Surely, if they’re going to sign him, it’s for a year or two, right? What’s the point if it’s only until the end of the season?

  36. Tony in Quakeland says:

    No one is saying that Holden will start immediately and become an impact player overnight. But when I read some comments like he will slide into obscurity or that he hasn’t been impressive yet, I really have to wonder what some people are watching. it’s shocking to think that some fans seem to understand goals and saves…and nothing else. Of course, some people complained about Claudio Reyna back in 2002 and wondered why he was selected to the all World Cup team…

    I am willing to bet that by 2014, Struat Holden will be the most important player on the US team. He has a great work rate, his soccer IQ is incredible and his crossing is absolutely pin point. The guy is seriously good.

  37. cfig says:

    I think Stu is going to surprise some people, he’s one of the more creative players on the USMNT and has shown that he’ll step up when given the chance (see DeRo leaving the Dynamo and everyone writing the team off last season). The possibility of Bolton getting relegated isn’t a big deal IMO, he’s not stuck in a long-term deal and if he plays well he’d be a fantastic addition for a newly promoted team.

    He may have to fight for playing time but he’s going to impress when he gets the chance. Stu, we’ll miss you in Houston, do us proud.

  38. Shane says:

    Geek synchronicity! As Bolton manager in FM10 I signed Weiss too! But not Holden.

  39. jig says:

    slotting into the starting lineup? And who exactly would he replace?

  40. Dan M. says:

    Why is everyone ignoring the fact that Bolton has been dismal this season? I mean, a win against Burnley will lift them out of the relegation zone, but for how long? Surely I’m not the only one who doubts that the team will stay in the Premiership this season. (I’ve got my concerns about Hull, too, for that matter, but Jozy’s out of there at the end of the season.)

    On the other hand, spending his formative seasons in the Championship might be good for Stu–an easier transition into the English game. Plenty of minutes, less scorching spotlight. Who knows?

  41. Steve T. says:

    I know, I Know. Its just pouring rain here, so I’m a little glum. I just feel that Americans are constantly going to relegation threatened teams and failing. Feilhaber, Johnson, Jozy. I know Dempsey is doing great, and I really hope Holden follows the same trajectory.

  42. casadelqueso says:

    Man, you guys are a bunch of optimists.

  43. Warren says:

    Tony, I agree the doubters are underestimating Holden. But you should hold onto your money.

    Fact is Holden was moving on to Portugal until Gallas busted whatsisname’s ankle. All of a sudden signing Weiss & Holden became more compelling to Coyle.

    Anyway, for USMNT this is a win, and yes Holden will get some minutes. If it’s just a few minutes then he moves on after the Cup to a lesser league, if he establishes himself as real contributor then he sticks.

  44. David says:

    For all the talk about Dempsey’s , real or i say imagined, lack of hustle with the Nats, he has managed to break into the starting 11 now for 3 managers since moving to Fulham. Even after being the leading scorer before Hodgson arrived he was relegated to the bench and managed to regain his place. Most other players would have tried to get outta town but he beared down and put in the work and now he is one of the better players on the team.

    I think alot of the players going overseas could learn alot from Dempsey’s example.

  45. bryan says:

    hopefully this works out well. FYI, Holden is carrying a slight thigh injury. So they said once that heals it is up to him to prove he belongs there. Which they think he does.

  46. JAKL says:

    The only downside I see to this is now having to root for Bolton who have got to be one of the most boring EPL teams to watch. Hopefully Coyle can get them playing more attractive football and after paying his dues, Stu will get into the starting lineup regularly. As others have stated, his route is similar to the one Dempsey took. If he turns out the same, that won’t be too bad.

  47. cfig says:

    Again, short term contract. If Bolton goes down they’ll be clearing out a lot of players and teams coming up will need inexpensive players to sign.

  48. cfig says:

    Agreed, I think some people underestimate his intangibles. A lot of our youngsters are starting to really mature now, and Holden, Jozy, Davies, Bradley, Torres, Rogers, Edu, Spector, etc., will give the US a very formidable group come 2014.

  49. JSmiley says:

    Holden: I understand this IS Bolton.

    Coyle: (with the fake mustache) Yes?

    Holden: You told me it was Ipswich!

    Coyle: …It was a pun.

    Holden: (pause) A PUN?!?

    Coyle: No, no…not a pun…What’s that thing that spells the same backwards as forwards?

    Holden: (Long pause) A palindrome…?

    Coyle: Yeah, that’s it!

    Holden: It’s not a palindrome! The palindrome of “Bolton” would be “Notlob”!! It don’t work!!

    Coyle: Well, what do you want?

    Holden: I’m not prepared to pursue my line of inquiry any longer as I think this is getting too silly!

  50. gmonsoon43 says:

    Also bringing in Vladimir Weiss could hurt Holden’s big for playing time a little. He also plays wide mid(or can play attacking mid). Haven’t seen him in the EPL but he looked quite good against the US this fall for Slovakia.

  51. 12th Player says:

    I doubt Holden will not get much playing time with Bolton right away. Their recent signing Korean International Chung-Yong Lee has been in excellent form and has the right wing position pretty much locked. Matthew Taylor has been less consistent on the left side but Coyle seems intent on keeping him there for his deadball skills.

    Holden’s best chance of getting playing time would be in the central mid where Mark Davies, Gary Cahill and Tamir Cohen have been good but not great.

  52. 12th Player says:

    And yes with the promising young player Vladimir Weiss in the mix at mid at Bolton, I don’t see how this is a good move for Holden if he wants to get the playing time he needs to be included in the WC roster.

  53. Charles says:

    What do I think of it ?

    I am an American soccer fan, it stinks. I hope that MLS can keep the talent here soon.

    Like I am really going to watch relegation bound Bolton play.

    So that means instead of watching Holden play about 10-20 times this year, including a few in person, I will see him if he plays in the World Cup.

    Someone please go to a MLS game outside of Seattle, so we can solve this.

  54. Andy in Atlanta says:

    Not to mention that Bolton’s MF is much worse… you idiots are the same ones that got on Dempsey because he did not play a boat load his first season…now he is a hot commodity and inked into the Fulham line-up when healthy…Holden will play in a months time..

  55. James T. says:

    I agree with those who compare Holden’s current path to that of Dempsey’s past. Both were attacking midfielder stars in the MLS, and both signed for lesser Premier League teams. Just like Dempsey, Holden will certainly have to fight for a place in the starting lineup and will have to adapt his game for the Premier League. Only time will tell if this move will be successful, but I do think Holden has made the right choice for furthering his development.

  56. Chris in Belfast says:

    I’m personally taking that as a sign that the sides are actually negotiating rather than posturing. Hopefully it is good.

  57. Chris in Belfast says:

    Yeah, starting for a mid table team must really suck.

  58. Chris in Belfast says:

    Bolton’s goal differential isn’t that bad– the two Arsenal games didn’t help, but they aren’t leaking goals like all the other teams around them. If they can get people to score, and I think with Holden they might have found a player with an offensive spark, Bolton has every chance to climb out of the relegation zone.

  59. hodey says:

    hahaha hilarious!!

  60. kpugs says:

    Great move for Holden’s club career, especially since it’s a 6-month deal to start.

    It could really bite him in the butt in terms of the world cup though. Bolton don’t have to play him. It’s completely up to him to earn playing time. If he rots on the bench, he’s probably still worth taking to South Africa, but how likely is that to happen? I wish him the best.

  61. stuhouston says:


    It’s time to start a new feature:

    Americans Abroad in Relegation Battles

  62. HoneyHell says:

    Until the MLS improves its pay scale to compete with the international market you will continue to see young players leave for the EPL, Championship, Scotland, Bundeslega, Mexico and anywhere else they can actually make a real living. I don’t see this changing anytime soon so we’ll continue to have a league of young & rought prospect players and players who are over the hill looking for a last couple of years of playing time.

  63. Katatonia says:

    doesnt Cahill exclusively play cb?

  64. bob hinkley says:

    Comes down to minutes. If he plays then this will help. If he rots on the bench or doesn’t even make the bench then MLS was better. Playing anywhere is better than being on a roster for the best team in the world and not playing. Next thing you know they’re farming you out to some lesser team and then you end up in Greece

  65. bob hinkley says:

    Dempsey was never an attacking midfielder

  66. ANM says:

    There’s a key dynamic here that works in Holden’s favor. Not only is Coyle a new manager, but he is actively attempting to change the direct style Bolton used under Allardyce and Megson to a game more focused on quick short passing. This stylistic shift means that Coyle is anxious to remake what currently passes as the Bolton midfield. In that respect, a new signing like Holden, who is a decent possession player, should have the opportunity to make an impact.

    Maybe we will see some DNPs, but Holden will definitely get his chance.

  67. Charles says:

    Don’t disagree with you, just pointing out, if people actually supported soccer IN the US it wouldn’t be that way.

    I do think that adding a second DP to the league will get some fans coming. The next Ljundbergs and Beckhams, are still close to their prime and will not play for Bolton ever, so MLS offers a great alternative.

    Go Bolton, I hope you can win a six or seven games this year. Maybe they can finish within 60 points of the winners with Holden on the team!

  68. Charles says:

    Is there any word how much he makes over there?

    How far do we have to go before we actually can afford to watch players like Holden play in our country?

  69. Eric says:

    Let’s hope that Stu can get some meaningful minutes….would be great to have him in top form for the World Cup.

  70. jimmygreaves says:

    Weiss is a better player at this point, so Holden won’t beat him out. Holden’s future is ultimately more in the center of the park anyway. He is unlikely to see as much PT as he would have in Houston but if he comes on at the end of the season it will help him for SA.

    On the positive side, Coyle seems to really want him and Holden is unlikely to have any cultural issues fitting in.

    Overall it’s probably risky for his short term future but, unless he doesn’t play a game between now and May, he is most likely already on the SA squad. For his long term development(and his bank account),this is a better situation.

  71. Goalscorer24 says:

    Great opportunity for Holden. All the people that are saying this is a bad situation are crazy! The whole point is to be fighting for a starting position. Whether he makes it or not is beyond anybodys control, but himself. That push will help him blossom, unlike if he stayed in Houston and did not try to grow.

    I was at the US game the other night with the mostly MLS’ers and they stunk.

  72. Andy in Atlanta says:

    Yeesh… do you guys not know who Owen Coyle is? He likes to play attractive attacking football on the ground with crosses in the final third after nice inter-play.. Stu will excell…

  73. Charles says:

    MLSers definitely stunk…

    …but he didn’t grow at Houston ?

    I would have to disagree with that. Kinnear is a great coach.

  74. Luke says:

    “Not to mention that Bolton’s MF is much worse…” Worse than what? Bolton’s MF is actually pretty solid. Cohen, Taylor, Muamba and Lee are the starters with Gardner, M. Davis, S. Davis, McCann, O’brien and now Weiss all ahead of Holden in MF pecking order. With Bolten in a relagation battle, I just don’t see Holden getting alot of oppurtunities. And besides if Bolton was so high on Holden you would thought they’d have signed him to a longer contract than until the end of the year.

  75. d-bar says:

    I think this is a great opportunity for Holden’s long term success, but it may hurt him in the short term. This is (obviously) a world cup year, so if he doesn’t earn minutes quickly, it will hurt his chances to make the team, or at least hurt his form if he does make the team. Even with that downside, the long term benefits of an EPL side with a manager known for playing attractive football more than outweigh the risks. Best of luck to him!

  76. Overall this is a good move for Stewie and his future with the national team, to bad it means he’ll be playing in the Championship next season.

  77. CrispyST3 says:

    YOU SIR! Are correct, i was reading all the posts before you, and then i got to YOURS! Could not agree more, he should work on upper body strength that can help shake off bigger midfielders/defenders….

  78. sandtrout says:

    Bolton to Holden

  79. Joamiq says:

    I don’t think this is a Feilhaber@Derby situation. Benny admitted that his attitude wasn’t the best there. Stewie is acknowledged by everyone to be a hard worker with a good attitude. I think that’s going to help him a lot. I have faith in his abilities as a soccer player, and I think he’s good enough to be an EPL regular. He’s definitely going to get his shot. I don’t think Coyle spent this much time evaluating and signing him to have him not play at all. Here’s to hoping it works out for him.

  80. Stephen says:

    Well, I’m watching the Arsenal-Bolton match currently, and their midfield (Bolton) doesn’t look too hot. Plus, I think that Coyle might know what he needs more that most of the people on here.

  81. Stephen says:

    I don’t think that there’s too much wrong with that. There are some solid teams in the Champiosnhip this year, plus he will still develop.

  82. cfig says:

    Yeah, need to get the facts straight there. Kinnear is LARGELY responsible for Stu’s development as a player.

  83. Mingjai says:

    I’m with you. I see more similarities to Dempsey than to Feilhaber. Holden’s been through a lot, and if anything, he’s proven to be a scrapper like Dempsey has.

    While I admittedly haven’t followed Holden his whole career, but this a guy who played for Sunderland reserves, got his eye smashed by some thugs in Newcastle, returned to the States, worked his way up to the top of the MLS, while overcoming the loss of his father to cancer last year.

    Holden’s overcome a lot for a 24-year old, and I’m not one to doubt him now. Good luck, Stuart.

  84. Dclark0 says:

    As a Bolton supporter I couldn’t disagree more… Mark Davies, Sean Davis and Joey O’Brien are all injured, the latter two long-term, and Gardner was unable to make the bench against Sheff Utd over the weekend because he had taken a knock. McCann has been really poor this year, and Taylor is valuable on set pieces of course but in truth has been out of form. Muamba is a pure defensive mid, no offensive threat whatsoever, and Cohen has been decent but certainly isn’t someone who creates a lot of chances for others. The truth is that our midfield offers next to nothing when it comes to creativity or precision passing, which is why we’ve had to rely on hoofing it up to Kevin Davies (all told not that bad of an option though).

    At the very least Holden gives Bolton some sort of creative/attacking option off the bench, which was previously non-existent. Weiss will probably be ahead of him in the pecking order of course, but I reject the notion that he won’t get any first team opportunities this season. Coyle isn’t an idiot and he wouldn’t have signed him in the first place if he knew he was just going to be playing reserve matches for four months.

  85. tim says:

    You really think Bradley had any say? Were not talking about Fabio Capello here..

  86. Alexandria says:

    A real living, they make more than I do! All athletes are seriously over paid.

  87. K1p says:


    Good luck Stu!

  88. Tetsuo54 says:


  89. When this one fails yet again, how long before you Kool-Aid drinkers will start blaming Owen Coyle? “Booo hoooo the coach (sic) hates him, Yanks never gets a fair shot abroad” blah blah blah…you know…like with clowns like Freddy Adu – it was the fault of his 154 managers he’s faceplanted since his move to Europe, right? It was all their fault, right? “U.S. NT is a tier below the top nations like Spain or Brazil, on the same level as Argentina, Italy and Germany, clearly ahead of Ghana, Serbia, Denmark etc.”, right, and Papua New Guinea will win the next World Championship of Basketball. Delusional, the lot of you.

  90. Ty Power says:

    Do you by any chance have Grant Wahl’s wallet and iPhone?

  91. Eric says:

    Reserve matches in England are probably tougher than regular MLS matches. He needs to develop his skills more and going here will help the most. He just needs to prove himself on the training ground and the reserve matches and work his way up like every other player trying to make it in Europe.

  92. pablo aguilar says:

    hola soy pablo aguilar. quisiera probarme en algun club ingles, me ayudas. muchas grasias, trata de contestarme si puedes, porfavor

  93. koobri@gmail.com says:

    I’m sure there are a lot of people with more knowledge than you who are looking out for Stu Holden’s future. He is the future of the American midfield. He will do well given the time.