Stuart Holden

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This article is about the soccer player. For the darts player, see Stuart Holden (darts player).
Stuart Holden
Personal information
Full name Stuart Alistair Holden[1]
Date of birth (1985-08-01) August 1, 1985 (age 31)
Place of birth Cults, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)[2]
Playing position Midfielder
Youth career
2003–2004 Clemson Tigers
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2005 Sunderland 0 (0)
2006–2009 Houston Dynamo 88 (15)
2010–2014 Bolton Wanderers 30 (2)
2013 Sheffield Wednesday (loan) 4 (0)
Total 122 (17)
National team
2004–2005 United States U20 11 (2)
2007–2008 United States U23 7 (1)
2008–2013 United States 25 (3)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of May 19, 2013.
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of July 28, 2013

Stuart Alistair Holden (born August 1, 1985) is an American retired professional soccer player who played as a midfielder. Before his soccer career, he played as a professional Counter Strike player.

Holden represented the United States at under-20, under-23 and senior levels. He made his senior debut in July 2009 against Grenada and scored his first goal during that game. He was part of the United States squad at the 2008 Summer Olympics, 2009 and 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup and 2010 FIFA World Cup. Since his debut, Holden has gained 25 caps and scored three goals. Following recurring knee problems, Holden announced his retirement on February 3, 2016.[3]

Early life[edit]

Holden was born in Cults, Aberdeen, Scotland and grew up in Sugar Land, Texas, after moving there with his family at age 10.[4] His father worked for Chevron Corporation in its human resources department.[5] He played high school soccer in Houston for Awty International School.[citation needed] He graduated from Awty in 2003 and attended April 22, 2008 opening ceremony of the Awty athletic complex.[6]

Professional gaming career[edit]

Before his professional sports career, Holden played competitive Counter-Strike (CS) under the alias Holden, most famously playing for Funk's team Forsaken in the United States. During his time with the team, he helped them to a second place at the WCG 2002 qualifier and 8th place at CPL Summer 2003. His CS career took a back seat as he began to play soccer seriously for Clemson University eventually leading into his MLS career.[7][8]

Holden has admitted that he is slightly embarrassed by his gaming career, stating, "When I first started playing football professionally it all started to come out and I was a bit ashamed of it. I tried to hide it but eventually I've just started to embrace it. There's nothing I can do. I've deleted it off my Wikipedia page about four or five times and someone just keeps putting it back up there!"[9]

Club career[edit]


After playing two years of college soccer at Clemson University, Holden signed with English club Sunderland in early 2005.[10] On March 12, Holden was attacked outside a bar in Newcastle because he was a Sunderland player, leaving him with a fractured left eye socket, which prevented him from training with the club for two months. When Holden resumed training, he suffered an ankle injury that ruled him out for the rest of the season.[11] Holden was released after his six-month stay having never played for Sunderland's first team.[12][13]

Houston Dynamo[edit]

Stuart Holden playing for Houston Dynamo in 2009.

Holden returned to the United States to play in Major League Soccer with the Houston Dynamo for the 2006 season. He made his MLS debut on May 27, 2006, and scored his first professional goal on July 22, 2006, in a 1–1 home draw against New England. He appeared thirteen times in the 2006 regular season and twice as a substitute in Houston's run to the MLS Cup 2006 championship. In the championship penalty shootout, Holden took the Dynamo's second shot and scored to the top right corner.

Holden's playing time increased in the 2007 season. He mostly started on the left wing when teammate Brad Davis went down with injury. In July, Holden scored goals on consecutive Thursday night games and added three assists in league play and another in SuperLiga play, as of July 25. Holden was awarded the US Soccer Humanitarian of the Year award in 2008.

Bolton Wanderers[edit]

Having spent several weeks training in England following the end of the 2009 Major League Soccer season, Holden officially joined Premier League side Bolton Wanderers on January 25, 2010.[14][15] He made his debut on February 24, 2010 in a 4–0 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup, starting and playing the full ninety minutes. He made his first league appearance on February 27, 2010, playing the full 90 minutes in a 1–0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers.[16] On September 30, 2010, he signed a new contract at Bolton, which would keep him at the club until 2013.[17] He scored his first goal for Bolton away to Wolverhampton Wanderers on November 13, 2010.[18]

Stuart Holden and Nicolas Anelka during a match in the Premier League.

In the 2010–11 season, Holden helped Bolton reach seventh place in the Premier League and to the FA Cup Semi-finals. However, his season was cut short on March 19 after he suffered a knee injury against Manchester United at Old Trafford when going into a tackle with Jonny Evans. Evans' studs caught Holden in the left knee, leaving a gash that required twenty six stitches[19] and a fracture of the femur near the knee joint, which ruled him out for a minimum of six months.[20][21][22] Despite missing the final two months of the season, Holden was still voted the 2011 Bolton Wanderers Player of the Year. Without Holden, Bolton finished the season in fourteenth position.

On September 20, 2011, after six months out, Holden started and played the full ninety minutes against Aston Villa in the third round of the League Cup,[23] but was then initially ruled out for a further six weeks as the club brought forward a routine follow up procedure.[24] However, the procedure revealed cartilage damage, meaning Holden would be out for a further six months,[25] missing the rest of the season. Later on in the season, Bolton Wanderers were relegated to the Championship after 11 years in the Premier League.

On June 22, 2012, Holden announced via his Twitter account that he was due to switch to the number 22 shirt after it had been vacated by Jussi Jääskeläinen.[26] This was confirmed by the club when they released their squad numbers on July 5.[27]

After playing in a reserve match in early January 2013, Holden made his return to Bolton's first team on 15 January 16 months after his last appearance, coming on as a late substitute in their 2–0 FA Cup replay win against his former club Sunderland.[28]

On June 29, 2013, it was confirmed that Holden had torn his anterior cruciate ligament in his right leg while playing for the United States in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final against Panama and would miss the majority of the 2013–14 season.[29]

His return from this injury only lasted 23 minutes as he was injured playing for the reserves in March 2014,[30] this required surgery which set him back for another six to nine months.[31]

Loan to Sheffield Wednesday[edit]

Holden joined fellow Championship Team Sheffield Wednesday on a months loan on March 28, 2013, mainly for match fitness after a series of injuries, and also to replace Sheffield Wednesday's injured right midfielder Michail Antonio.[32] and he made his debut two days later in the local derby at home to Barnsley. He was one of three emergency loans made by Dave Jones to strengthen the struggling Sheffield Wednesday side who were on the verge of relegation. Holden made his second appearance in a 3–2 victory over Blackburn Rovers, Holden only played 59 minutes before being substituted for Kieran Lee. Holden played four times for Wednesday during his loan spell.

International career[edit]

Holden playing for the United States against Belgium in May 2013

Holden was capped 11 times as a United States youth international at the U-20 level, scoring two goals, the first being on July 18, 2004 in a 2–2 home draw against Denmark U-20 in the 2004 Milk Cup in Northern Ireland.[33] and the other on June 24, 2004 in a 1–2 defeat against Brazil U-20 in the Busan Four Nations International Youth Tournament.[34] Early in 2007, Holden was called in to the US U-23 squad for a camp in California and in December for a camp and trip to China to play matches against the China U-23 team. In July 2008, Holden was named to the US squad competing in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. On August 7 he scored in the USA's opening match, a 1–0 victory against Japan.[35] In December 2008 Holden was called into a camp set to begin in January 2009 preceding a friendly against Sweden on January 24. He sustained a hip injury prior to the friendly and was forced to withdraw from camp.

Holden was named to the United States Gold Cup squad on June 25, 2009, as nearly all of the senior regulars were rested following the Confederations Cup. Holden scored a goal for the US in his national team debut against Grenada on July 4, 2009. On July 11, 2009, Holden scored his second international goal against Haiti with a thirty-yard strike that tied the game in the ninety-second minute, and assisted the USA's first goal in that match, which was scored by Davy Arnaud. Holden added two more assists in the 2–0 semi-final win against Honduras. Stuart was selected to the Gold Cup All-Tournament Team.[36] During a friendly match on March 3, 2010, Nigel de Jong broke Holden's leg, causing him to miss six weeks of soccer. On May 26, 2010, it was announced that Holden would be part of the 23-man roster for the US National Team which played in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and he played as a substitute in the opening 1–1 draw with England.

After two-and-a-half years without a callup due to injuries, Holden made his return in May 2013 and was a member of the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup squad that won the tournament. However, he was injured early in the final and it was revealed he had suffered a torn ACL.

Career statistics[edit]


As of July 10, 2013.[37]
Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
Sunderland 2005–06[38] Premier League 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
United States League US Open Cup MLS Cup Playoffs North America Total
Houston Dynamo 2006 MLS 13 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 15 0
2007 22 5 0 0 4 1 0 0 26 6
2008 27 3 1 0 2 0 7 1 37 4
2009 26 6 3 0 3 0 5 2 37 8
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
Bolton Wanderers 2009–10[39] Premier League 2 0 1 0 0 0 3 0
2010–11[40] 26 2 3 0 1 0 30 2
2011–12[41] 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
2012–13[41] Championship 2 0 2 0 0 0 4 0
Sheffield Wednesday (loan) 2012–13 4 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
Totals United States 88 14 4 0 11 1 12 3 115 18
England 34 2 6 0 2 0 - - 42 2
Career 122 16 10 0 13 1 12 3 157 20


As of December 15, 2014.
National team Year Apps Goals
United States
2009 11 2
2010 6 0
2011 0 0
2012 0 0
2013 8 1
Total 25 3

Style of play[edit]

Holden is a versatile, linking midfielder who, due to his ambidexterity, can play in the left, right, or center of the midfield.[citation needed] Holden is particularly noted for his adeptness at taking set pieces and delivering crosses, being compared to David Beckham.[42]

Personal life[edit]

Holden was born in Scotland, and moved to the United States at the age of ten. Holden's father lost a six-year battle with cancer in early 2009. His mother and sister still live in Houston.[43] He has been an American citizen since 2006.[5] Every game, Holden wears a Livestrong bracelet that belonged to his father, taping over it for its protection.[44]

Holden's brother, Euan Holden, is also a professional soccer player who most recently played for League Two club Bury.[45]

Having lived in and spent the majority of his childhood growing up in Scotland, Holden spoke with a Scottish accent up until the age of around 10, when, having emigrated to the US with his family, he developed a pronounced Houstonian accent with which he still speaks to this day, despite having returned to live and work in the UK. He became engaged to model Karalyn West in March 2014, and the two got married in June 2015.[46]

Holden, and his wife Karalyn, announced the birth of their first child, daughter Kennady, on February 3, 2016.[3]


  1. ^ "Premier League clubs submit squad lists". Premier League. September 1, 2010. Retrieved September 1, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Premier League Player Profile". Premier League. Archived from the original on August 15, 2010. Retrieved March 16, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "In His Own Words: Stuart Holden Bids the Field Farewell". US Soccer. 3 February 2016. Retrieved 3 February 2016. 
  4. ^ Holden, USA's tartan treasure
  5. ^ a b Longman, Jeré (July 26, 2009). "Understudy Is Hitting His Marks for U.S. Team". The New York Times. p. SP8. Retrieved August 21, 2009. 
  6. ^ Baird, Annette."Awty International opens new $7 million sports complex." Houston Chronicle. May 19, 2008. Retrieved on May 17, 2014.
  7. ^ "Counter-Strike: Ex-CS player makes US World Cup team – SK Gaming". 
  8. ^ "Former Counter-strike player Stuart Holden". Archived from the original on 2010-06-02. 
  9. ^ "Counter-Strike-s again". Archived from the original on 2011-04-04. 
  10. ^ "Stuart Holden – The Future of American Soccer?". June 12, 2009. Retrieved January 22, 2011.  External link in |work= (help)
  11. ^ "Stuart Holden hoping for better luck at Bolton Wanderers on Premier League return". [1]. February 5, 2010. Retrieved January 22, 2011.  External link in |work= (help)
  12. ^ Wilson, Paul (January 22, 2011). "Bolton's Stuart Holden: 'I got the x-ray results and thought: not again'". The Guardian. London. Retrieved January 22, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Footballer's Eye Socket Smashed By Thugs". Sky News. March 23, 2005. Retrieved August 21, 2009. 
  14. ^ "Bolton announce capture of free agent Stuart Holden". 
  15. ^ "Dynamo's Holden Signs With Bolton Until End of Season". January 25, 2010. 
  16. ^ Roopanarine, Les (February 24, 2010). "Tottenham 4–0 Bolton". BBC. Retrieved February 24, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Holden signs extended Bolton deal". BBC News. September 30, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Stuart Holden nets first Premier League goal for Bolton Wanderers – ESPN". 
  19. ^ "Wanderers' anxious wait for Holden". Bolton News. March 21, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Bolton midfielder Stuart Holden out for six months". BBC Sport. March 21, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Back from injuries, Stuart Holden thinks he can be better than ever". July 9, 2013.
  22. ^ "Holden’s Long Road Back". Goal: New York Times Soccer Blog. November 12, 2012.
  23. ^ Rae, Richard (September 20, 2011). "Aston Villa 0–2 Bolton Wanderers – Carling Cup match report". The Guardian. London. 
  24. ^ "Holden out for six weeks". Bolton News. September 28, 2011. 
  25. ^ "Holden To Miss Six Months". September 28, 2011. 
  26. ^ "Stuart Holden tweet". Twitter. Looks like I'm changing squad number to lucky 22 for next year! :) Heads up! #bwfc 
  27. ^ "2012/13 Squad Numbers Announced". Bolton Wanderers. July 5, 2012. 
  28. ^
  29. ^ "Holden injury update". Bolton Wanderers F.C. Retrieved July 30, 2013. 
  30. ^ @OfficialBWFC. "Stuart Holden set for US assessment". 
  31. ^ @OfficialBWFC. "Holden sidelined". 
  32. ^ "BBC Sport – Sheffield Wednesday sign Stuart Holden and Steve Howard". BBC Sport. 
  33. ^ "U.S. Under-20 MNT Draw With Denmark 2–2 in Opening Match of Milk Cup". United States Soccer Federation. July 18, 2004. Retrieved December 3, 2011. 
  34. ^ "U.S. Falls to Brazil 2–1 in South Korea". United States Soccer Federation. June 24, 2004. Retrieved December 3, 2011. 
  35. ^ " – Men's Olympic Football Tournament: Japan 0:1 (0:0) USA". 
  36. ^ "Dos Santos Chosen as Gold Cup MVP". CONCACAF. July 26, 2009. Retrieved August 21, 2009. 
  37. ^ "Stuart Holden". National Football Teams. Retrieved April 2, 2011. 
  38. ^ "Games played by Stuart Holden in 2005/2006". Soccerbase. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  39. ^ "Games played by Stuart Holden in 2009/10". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  40. ^ "Games played by Stuart Holden in 2010/11". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  41. ^ a b "Games played by Fabrice Muamba in 2011/2012". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved October 10, 2012.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "sb1112" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  42. ^ Iles, Marc (March 1, 2010), Wanderers 1 Wolves 0, The Bolton News, retrieved March 1, 2010 
  43. ^ "Holden: Playing For The U.S. A No-Brainer". September 23, 2009. Retrieved July 4, 2012. 
  44. ^ "Q & A | Stuart Holden". Retrieved July 17, 2012. 
  45. ^ "Bury sign defender on non-contract terms". BBC Sport. February 4, 2013. 
  46. ^ Carlisle, Jeff (August 2, 2014). "Stuart Holden's long road back". ESPN. Retrieved April 13, 2015. 

External links[edit]