Stuart Holden Profile
|Born||Aug 01, 1985|
Injury problems cut his playing career short however, Holden was able to establish himself as a leading American soccer analyst. Planet Sport takes an in-depth look at his career.
Born in the Scottish city of Aberdeen, Holden moved to the US at the age of 10 and settled in Texas with his family.
After playing two seasons of college soccer at Clemson University, he was signed by English Premier League club Sunderland in early 2005. However, he failed to make a single appearance for the Wearsiders.
He returned stateside to join MLS side Houston Dynamo in 2006, playing 88 MLS games and 122 in all competitions for the Texas franchise. He scored 22 goals before Bolton Wanderers came calling in January 2010.
He was on the books at Bolton until the summer of 2014 but injury problems meant he only played 38 times for the club.
He spent a month on loan with Sheffield Wednesday in 2013 before returning to Bolton to see out that season, which proved to be his last as a player.
He was unable to make a single appearance in 2013/14 and retired from playing in 2016 having suffered successive cruciate ligament injuries.
He played 25 times for the United States national side, scoring three goals. A seamless move into the media has seen Holden become one of the most recognised voices in US soccer.
The early years
Holden's father worked for energy company Chevron Corporation and the family left Aberdeen to move to Sugar Land, Texas in 1995.
His Scottish accent soon changed to broad southern American, and he shone while playing soccer at the private Awty International School. He became a US citizen in 2006.
He attended Clemson University and played for the college team, with scouts noting his skills in the middle of the pitch.
His ability to feature anywhere across the midfield marked him out from other players of his age and meant clubs from across the USA and Europe took note.
He was selected for the USA Under-20 side before he had played a professional game, scoring two goals from 11 appearances. He was then signed by Sunderland and moved to England in early 2005.
Career at Sunderland and Houston Dynamo
Holden was just 19 when he decided to embark on a soccer career in England, with Sunderland signing him in January 2005.
He got a rude awakening to life in the North East when attacked outside a bar in Newcastle on March 12 of that year.
A punch fractured his eye socket in four places and left him struggling with double vision and sidelined for two months.
He was released by the Black Cats at the end of the campaign having failed to make an appearance for the first team and suffered a further setback on trial at Leicester City, sustaining a broken leg in his first pre-season run-out for the Foxes.
With the prospect of three months out of the game, he returned to the US.
Luckily, Houston Dynamo - his local MLS side - were not put off by his woes in England and signed the youngster in 2006.
He featured in 13 games during the remainder of that MLS campaign and scored three goals.
Holden enjoyed his best spell as a player while with Houston and played 22 times in 2007, scoring five goals.
The following campaign he found the net three times from 27 outings, while his final season with the Texas club yielded six goals from 26 games played.
He was also a regular provider for his teammates, assisting many goals during his stint with Dynamo.
He won the MLS Cup in both 2006 and 2007, playing a limited role from the bench in both matches, although he did score in the penalty shootout that gave Houston the title in 2006.
Spell with Bolton Wanderers
Holden spent time training in England at the conclusion of the 2009 MLS season and was signed by Bolton Wanderers in January 2010.
He made his debut on February 24, 2010 in a 4-0 FA Cup loss to Tottenham and enjoyed two more outings before the end of the season.
After signing a new contract keeping him at the club until 2013, Holden scored his first goal for Bolton against Wolves on November 13, 2010.
Things were progressing nicely at the club and his displays in midfield helped Bolton up to seventh in the Premier League table but then injury struck.
In a challenge with Manchester United defender Jonny Evans on March 19, he sustained a nasty cut to his knee that required 26 stitches.
Holden also sustained a fracture to his left femur near the knee joint that meant he would be out of action for at least six months.
Such was his influence, he was voted Bolton's Player of the year despite having missed the final two months of the campaign. Bolton fell away to finish 14th in the standings, having struggled without Holden.
The 2011/12 season was one to forget for both Holden and Bolton. He returned after six months out to play against Aston Villa in the third round of the League Cup on September 20 but then underwent a routine follow-up procedure on his knee.
The operation revealed cartilage damage, keeping him on the sidelines for the rest of a season that ended in relegation for Bolton.
He made his comeback after 16 months out in an FA Cup game against Sunderland in January 2013 and played twice more before going out on loan to Sheffield Wednesday to try and gain match fitness.
He featured four times for the Owls and returned to make one more Bolton appearance that term.
Just when things seemed to be improving, Holden tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his right leg while playing for the USA in the Gold Cup final against Panama on June 29, 2013.
It kept him out until March 2014. His comeback, in a reserve match for Bolton against Everton, lasted just 23 minutes.
It was revealed he had suffered another cruciate injury to his right leg which required further surgery.
Retirement and broadcasting career
Holden took the decision to stop playing in 2016, three years on from his final professional appearance.
He had already embarked on a path in sports broadcasting and worked as an analyst for both ESPN and NBC in 2014.
In 2016, he signed a deal to work exclusively with Fox Sports, having started with the channel two years previously.
While his playing days had been full of setbacks, he soon became established as a respected broadcaster on soccer in the US.
By 2016, he was appointed as Fox's lead game analyst. In April 2018, Fox announced he would head their analysis team for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
He shared commentary with John Strong and worked on the World Cup final between Croatia and France.
Holden was signed by Turner Sports and B/R Football to be one of their studio analysts for the 2018/19 season of the Champions League.
He is now a well-known voice in US soccer, working on MLS games and internationals. In 2016, he invested in Spanish club Mallorca, along with former NBA player and coach Steve Nash.
International career with the United States
Holden played 11 times for the United States Under-20 side and scored twice. He made seven appearances for the Under-23s, scoring once before being called up to the USA Olympic team for the 2008 Games in Beijing.
The midfielder scored in the opening match of that tournament - a 1-0 triumph over Japan.
He received a first call-up to the senior US side in December 2008 but injury prevented him playing. He made his full international debut against Grenada on July 4, 2009 and scored in a 4-0 Gold Cup victory.
Holden made four further appearances in the tournament, with the USA losing 5-0 to Mexico in the final. He was selected to the Gold Cup All-Tournament Team.
He became a regular in the side and played in five World Cup qualifiers before he broke his leg in a challenge with Nigel de Jong during a friendly with the Netherlands on March 3, 2010.
The player returned just in time to make America's World Cup team but played just four minutes in the tournament - as a substitute in their opener against England.
Injury kept him out until he returned against Belgium in a May 2013 friendly and he played in the 2013 Gold Cup, scoring against Belize.
A torn cruciate ligament ended his participation in the final with Panama on July 28, 2013 - an injury that effectively ended his playing career.
He made 25 appearances for the USA, scoring three goals.
Holden was born in Aberdeen but moved with his family to the US at the age of 10 due to his father's job with Chevron Corporation.
They settled in Sugar Land, Texas, about 19 miles from the heart of Houston. His father died from cancer in 2009 after a six-year battle but his mother and sister still live in Houston.
During his playing career, he wore a Livestrong yellow bracelet that belonged to his father.
He spoke with a strong Scottish accent while living in the land of his birth but that soon changed to a Houston one after time at school in the city and there is now no hint of his Scottish roots.
Holden's brother, Euan, was also a professional soccer player who played for English clubs Stockport County and Bury. He retired from the sport in 2014.
Holden married model Karalyn West in June 2015 and the couple have a daughter named Kennady Rose who was born in February 2016. They live in Los Angeles, California.
In addition to his work behind the microphone, Holden purchased a controlling stake in Spanish club Mallorca in January 2016 for $21million.
Basketball legend Steve Nash is also part of the investment group and the pair have taken a hands-on approach to ownership.
They frequently visit the island club and celebrated promotion to La Liga ahead of the 2019/20 campaign. However, the club were relegated the following season.