Stuart Holden

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Stuart Holden
Personal information
Full nameStuart Alistair Holden [1]
Date of birth (1985-08-01) August 1, 1985 (age 35)
Place of birth Cults, Aberdeen, Scotland
Height 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in) [2]
Playing position(s) Midfielder
College career
2003–2004 Clemson Tigers
Senior career*
2005 Sunderland 0 (0)
2006–2009 Houston Dynamo 88 (15)
2010–2014 Bolton Wanderers 30 (2)
2013Sheffield Wednesday (loan) 4 (0)
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 onlyand 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, and is currently a lead TV game analyst for Fox Sports and Turner Sports. [3] [4] Holden is part of the ownership group [5] for Spanish La Liga soccer club, RCD Mallorca.


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 severe and recurring knee problems, Holden announced his retirement from professional soccer on February 3, 2016. [6]

Since retiring, Holden made a quick transition into TV, working as a game analyst and host for Fox Sports [4] - He has worked as the lead analyst [7] on the network's marquee soccer properties including Major League Soccer, U.S. Men's National Team World Cup Qualifiers, and UEFA Champions League. He was recently announced as the lead game analyst for the 2018 FIFA World Cup on FOX in Russia. [3]

Additionally, he is also a co-host of Turner Sports' coverage of the UEFA Champions League and hosts from Turner's Los Angeles studio alongside Steve Nash.

Early life

Holden was born in Cults, Aberdeen, Scotland, and grew up in Sugar Land, Texas, after moving there with his family at age 10. [8] His father worked for Chevron Corporation in its human resources department. [9] He played high school soccer in Houston for Awty International School. [10] He graduated from Awty in 2003 and attended April 22, 2008 opening ceremony of the Awty athletic complex. [11]

He played Soccer for Clemson University and also played Counter-Strike professionally before eventually leading into his MLS career. [12] [13]

Playing career


After playing two seasons of college soccer at Clemson University, Holden signed with English club Sunderland in early 2005. [14] 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. [15] Holden was released after his six-month stay having never played for Sunderland's first team. [16] [17]

Houston Dynamo

Stuart Holden playing for Houston Dynamo in 2009. 22 Stuart Holden.jpg
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. In Holden's final season with the Houston Dynamo, he finished the season with over 30 games played, 6 goals and 4 assists. He was named to Major League Soccer All-Star team [18] and MLS Best XI [19] and received the U.S. Soccer Humanitarian of the Year award.

Bolton Wanderers

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. [20] [21] 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. [22] On September 30, 2010, he signed a new contract at Bolton, which would keep him at the club until 2013. [23] He scored his first goal for Bolton away to Wolverhampton Wanderers on November 13, 2010. [24]

Stuart Holden and Nicolas Anelka during a match in the Premier League. Nicolas Anelka Stuart Holden - Chelsea vs Bolton Wanderers 2.jpg
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 severe 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 [25] and a fracture of the femur near the knee joint, which ruled him out for a minimum of six months. [26] [27] [28] Despite missing the final two months of the season, Holden was still voted the 2011 Bolton Wanderers Player of the Year. [29] Without Holden, Bolton tailspun and 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, [30] but was then initially ruled out for a further six weeks as the club brought forward a routine follow up procedure. [31] However, the procedure revealed cartilage damage, meaning Holden would be out for a further six months, [32] 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. [33] This was confirmed by the club when they released their squad numbers on July 5. [34]

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. [35]

His return to action saw Holden receive another call-up to the US Men's National team for World Cup Qualifying and the Gold Cup. [36] However, after making 8 more appearances, 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 on June 29, 2013. In devastating news for Bolton Wanderers fans, it meant Holden would miss the majority of the 2013–14 season. [37]

After another comeback attempt, Holden returned to action in March 2014 in a reserve match vs Everton. In his first match back, his return from injury only lasted 23 minutes. It was later announced that Holden had re-injured the right knee and torn his anterior cruciate ligament for a 2nd time. It required another surgery which would set him back for another six to nine months. [38]

Loan to Sheffield Wednesday

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. [39] and he made his debut two days later in the local derby at home to Barnsley. Holden played four times for Wednesday during his loan spell.

International career

Holden playing for the United States against Belgium in May 2013 Stuart Holden vs Belgium 2.jpg
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. [40] and the other on June 24, 2004 in a 1–2 defeat against Brazil U-20 in the Busan Four Nations International Youth Tournament. [41] Early in 2007, Holden was called in to the U.S. 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 U.S. squad competing in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. On August 7 he scored in the U.S.'s opening match, a 1–0 victory against Japan. [42] 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.

Gold Cup

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 U.S. 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 U.S.'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. [43]

World Cup

During a friendly match on March 3, 2010, Nigel de Jong broke Holden's leg, causing him to miss six weeks of soccer just months before the FIFA World Cup. After an intensive rehab, Holden proved his fitness by making it back on the field for Bolton Wanderer's final home match of the season. On May 26, 2010, it was announced that Holden would be part of the 23-man roster for the U.S. 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. He was part of the United States team that won their group ahead of England, Algeria and Slovenia.

After two-and-a-half years without a national team appearance due to injuries, Holden was called up by Jurgen Klinsmann. In May 2013, he made his return, coming on as a substitute during the United States' important match vs Panama in 2014 World Cup Qualifying. Later that summer, he was named to the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup squad that eventually went on to win the tournament. He appeared in 5 Gold Cup matches and scored in the opening match vs Belize. [44] In the final vs Panama, Holden started the match, but was forced off through injury in the 23rd minute. It was later announced that he had torn his anterior cruciate ligament in the right knee and would require surgery, effectively ending his career with the national team. [45]

Broadcasting career

Upon retiring from professional soccer, Holden pursued a career in TV and has become a voice of soccer in North America. He worked as an analyst for ESPN [46] and NBC in 2014, before signing exclusively with Fox Sports 1 in 2016. [4] Holden has also done work as a host, where he recently debuted a new series with Steve Nash called 'Speak Responsibly'. [47]

Fox Sports

Holden first started working with Fox Sports in 2014, working on all of their marquee soccer properties (UEFA Champions League, MLS, FIFA, FA Cup, Europa League). He made a sharp rise in the TV business and within two years has established himself as FOX's lead game analyst across multiple soccer properties. [3] In April 2018, FOX announced that Holden would be their lead analyst for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. [3] He partnered in the booth with John Strong and the pair travelled throughout Russia calling the tournament's biggest games. [48] Holden, at the age of 33, called the 2018 World Cup Final on July 15, 2018 featuring Croatia and France.

B/R Football and Turner Sports

Ahead of the 2018/2019 season of the UEFA Champions League Holden was signed by Turner Sports and B/R Football [49] to be one of their lead studio analysts alongside Tim Howard, Kate Abdo and Steve Nash.

Club Ownership

On January 4, 2016 it was announced that an American Group of investors, led by Robert Sarver, [50] purchased a controlling stake in RCD Mallorca for $21 million. The ownership group included basketball icon, Steve Nash, [50] and Stuart Holden. [5] Holden and Nash's journey as owners of the club has been well documented in their video podcast 2 Dads United, in which they discuss their roles and influence on the club. In 2018, RCD Mallorca were promoted to the 2nd division in Spain. In 2019, RCD Mallorca were promoted to Spain's top division, La Liga. Holden and Nash are heavily involved on the soccer side and frequently visit their club on the island of Mallorca. [51]

Style of play

Holden was a versatile, linking midfielder who, due to his ambidexterity, could play in the left, right, or center of the midfield.[ citation needed ] Holden was particularly noted for his adeptness at taking set pieces and delivering crosses, being compared to David Beckham. [52]

Personal life

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. [53] He has been an American citizen since 2006. [9] Every game, Holden wears a Livestrong bracelet that belonged to his father, taping over it for its protection. [54]

Holden's brother, Euan Holden, was also a professional soccer player who last played for League Two club Bury. [55] Euan was a viral sensation in 2018 when he became "#PlaneBae" [56] - he had a blossoming romance that was filmed by a couple passengers on a plane. Holden said he was "upstaged" [56] by his brother while he was covering the biggest tournament of his broadcasting career

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 U.S. 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. [57]

Holden, and his wife Karalyn, announced the birth of their first child, daughter Kennady, on February 3, 2016. [6] They currently reside in Los Angeles, CA.

Career statistics


As of July 10, 2013. [58] [59]
ClubSeasonLeagueNational CupLeague CupOtherTotal
EnglandLeague FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
Sunderland 2005–06 [60] Premier League 00000000
United StatesLeague US Open Cup MLS Cup Playoffs North America Total
Houston Dynamo 2006 MLS 1313020181
2007 22510414 [lower-alpha 1] 0316
2008 27310207 [lower-alpha 2] 4377
2009 26600307 [lower-alpha 3] 2368
Dynamo Total88155011118612222
EnglandLeague FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
Bolton Wanderers 2009–10 [61] Premier League 20100030
2010–11 [62] 2623010302
2011–12 [63] 00001010
2012–13 [64] Championship 20200040
Bolton Total302602000382
Sheffield Wednesday (loan) 2012–13 Championship 40000040
Career Totals1221711013118616424
  1. One appearance in CONCACAF Champions League, three appearances in North American SuperLiga
  2. Five appearances and one goal in CONCACAF Champions League, two appearances and three goals in North American SuperLiga
  3. Appearances in CONCACAF Champions League


As of December 15, 2014.
National teamYearAppsGoals
United States



Houston Dynamo


See also

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