Stu Holden: Back in USMNT Camp–From Radar To Roster

Holden rocks the mesh against Haiti, Summer 2009

Holden rocks the mesh against Haiti, Summer 2009

Late last night in a release on US Soccer, Jurgen Klinsmann threw (fixed!) gasoline on Stu Holden’s slow nearly three year burn to rejoin the USMNT senior squad in a meaningful capacity.

After Bolton handled him this year–appropriately–with kid gloves and Holden excelled in a short stint at Sheffield United, Klinsmann stated that Holden will be back in full effect this summer.

The former Dynamo player will be called in for the May-June USMNT WCQ camp as well as for the Gold Cup with no limits put on his participation.

What’s more, Klinsmann stated that Holden was being called in for his resolve and intangibles. Back in 2009, after Holden was a leader on the 2009 Gold Cup squad, TSG christened him a future captain. Holden’s a unique player; the type of guy on a bench that brings the skills, but also raises the lockeroom.

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34 responses to this post.

  1. If I start skipping randomly at some point today, this will be why.

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  2. Posted by gino744 on 2013/05/03 at 6:58 AM

    Don’t’ wanna get too excited since its a long way from Sheffield United to full international, but great news. Luckily he’ll have a full season to get back up to speed.

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  3. What is Jurgen’s crazy midfield scheme going to be once Stu is back to full match-fitness ?

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    • Posted by Nick on 2013/05/03 at 7:00 AM

      I should temper that comment with when/if Stu gets back to full international match-fitness.

      Reply

    • Posted by dth on 2013/05/03 at 10:50 AM

      Holden would fit (at his peak) in perfectly with what Klinsmann seems to want from a midfielder — he is defensively biting, while being a very good point-to-point passer (though he isn’t creative). Theoretically, he would replace Jermaine Jones easily and pair in central midfield with Bradley, either as part of a double 8 midfield in a 4-4-2 or a 6/8/8 midfield in a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1.

      But it’s Klinsmann, and he’s weird, so who knows WTF he’ll do. Why does Holden get the express pass back into the team and Donovan not?

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      • Because Stu’s commitment to the team has never been called into question. You can debate back and forth about the validity of Landon “needing to step away to avoid burning out” versus “being a professional and showing up,” but Stu wasn’t out of the lineup because he wanted to take a break from playing.

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        • Posted by dth on 2013/05/03 at 1:43 PM

          Sure. But on the other hand Donovan’s durability has never been in question whereas Holden’s has. It’s easy enough to play that game from both angles — which is why I think both should have to earn it back for an extended period of time.

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          • Fair. But Landon’s more or less a known quantity to JK at this point, whereas Stu is not – all Klinsy is doing right now is bringing him into camp for the friendlies, getting a look at him and giving him some reps. Nothing wrong with that, and there are far more fringe-based players who have made the roster on much weaker resumes in the past.

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            • Posted by dth on 2013/05/03 at 7:17 PM

              He might be bringing him into camp, but it’s weird — Conor O’Brien and Kljestan have never gotten chances in central midfield; Diskerud barely has.

              I maintain if it were O’Briez, Kljestez and Disk y Rud they would’ve gotten more chances, but that’s the end of that. Fundamentally, Klinsmann doesn’t really know what he’s doing, so trying to apply logic is futile.

            • dth,

              This low risk move is evidence that JK clearly knows what he is doing, at least from a PR point of view..

              Holden is a USMNT sacred cow. The boy who might have been.

              And now he is the 2014 World Cup’s Charlie Davies comeback story, immune to criticism. Only this time, if Stu doesn’t make it back, JK won’t get the flak BB caught for leaving CD9 off the WC roster. I distinctly remember people questioning BB’s competence for the career defining blunder of leaving CD9 off the WC roster.

              Stuey is the poster boy for every cliché about fighting through adversity, suffering for his craft, etc. etc. ad nauseum. JK is making an example of Stu and in, an unspoken manner, contrasting him to LD. It never hurts to give Landon something to motivate himself . I expect Landon will see this move for what it is.

              Bringing Holden into camp is just an extension of his rehab program and JK is doing Bolton a favor by giving Holden a chance at some higher level training than he might have gotten now that Bolton is basically done for the year.

              I didn’t see JK promising Holden that he would pay in any games. This is reminiscent of Bob Bradley’s calling Adu into the 2009 Confederations Cup squad and 2009 Gold Cup Squad even though Fredinho had only about 10 appearances for Monaco that season. The Nike Flash did not see one second in South Africa and put in a lackluster game or two in the B team Gold Cup, even if he did score a goal, before returning to Europe.

              Stu may come back better than ever or he may not ever play another minute for the USMNT but either way, if this little PR stunt helps motivate Donovan and others, he will have contributed to the World Cup effort.

            • Posted by dth on 2013/05/05 at 9:26 PM

              Klinsmann has always known what he’s doing with his PR. Who gives a spit about that. PR won’t, ultimately, win games.

              People liked to over-blame Bradley for every little thing; leaving off Davies was indisputably correct. Klinsmann shouldn’t indulge the misguided taste of American fans.

      • Posted by Nick on 2013/05/03 at 2:59 PM

        I wasn’t giving him an express pass back into the lineup, per se. Just assuming he’ll get some starts if/when back to full fitness because it’s not like Edu, Jones, Beckerman are all light-years ahead of Stu in terms of talent and fitting in with the team. They each have their own specialties that they bring to the table, but they’re not good enough to keep Stu (at his peak) from cracking the line up a few times at the least.

        Reply

      • Posted by BW on 2013/05/03 at 5:21 PM

        Holden comes back because reps are exactly what he needs. Landon doesn’t because need reps, seems to not really want them, and isn’t even really available for them due to MLS schedule.

        Reply

    • Posted by EmptyBucket on 2013/05/03 at 11:00 AM

      Simple…as coined by this site I believe…

      Brolden.

      Reply

  4. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2013/05/03 at 7:17 AM

    I know a player doesn’t become a Champioship-quality player overnight, just because the team has been relegated, but Bolton should secure a play-off place and have a decent chance of promotion – they’re certainly in good form. If they do go up**, that’s good news for both Holden, Ream and USMNT. But if they don’t, with Freedman, I see them going up next year automatically – he’s going to be a fantastic manager, and I was very sorry to see him go, and even more upset to see him replaced by Holloway.

    **Obviously, I am hoping for Palace to get promoted.

    Reply

    • Posted by JGD on 2013/05/05 at 7:44 AM

      I’m disappointed that Leicester snuck-in for the final playoff spot. Bolton’s had a wonderful year. But they have some very good players and a quality manager, as you well know. A full-strength Holden in central midfield might be the missing piece to the puzzle and enough to push them back into the PL next season.

      It’ll be interesting to see what becomes of Spearing. Arguably been Bolton’s best player this season and seems surplus to requirements at Liverpool, but there’ve been reports of interested PL teams. Be nice to see him stay-on full-time at Bolton.

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    • Posted by Nick on 2013/05/07 at 6:32 PM

      George – Thoughts on the new Palace crest?

      Reply

  5. Posted by Reid Davis on 2013/05/03 at 8:38 AM

    Sorry to be That Guy but…
    “Jurgen Klinsmann THREW gasoline on…” Not “through.”

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  6. Posted by Reid Davis on 2013/05/03 at 10:15 AM

    I copyedit for a living. It’s a sickness. Thanks for the quick fix.

    And yay! Stu Holden! ;)

    Reply

  7. Posted by Crow on 2013/05/03 at 10:12 PM

    It couldnt happen to a better guy. The guy defines resilience- very inspirational. Even though he’s barely played for the National Team he is still pushing Cobi Jones as my 2nd favorite player of all time just behind Deuce. I really hope he somehow scores the goal to send Bolton up (sorry George) and has a key role in the 2014 World Cup a la John O’Brien.

    I remember how I was calling constantly for him to get more minutes in 2009, watching in horror the De Jong challenge live, anxiously awaiting to see him in NYC in 2011 vs Argentina only to watch the Johnny Evans challenge live ruin Bolton and Holden’s season. Boy its been a long road. Hopefully there is a happy ending.

    Reply

  8. Posted by Crow on 2013/05/04 at 9:31 AM

    Wow, what a devastating late goal from Leicester- I know promotion was still sure from a far thing for Bolton but how disappointing. I’ll be cheering for Crystal Palace George.

    Tim Ream started today too- he had been out of the lineup for awhile too- what happened there?

    Reply

  9. Posted by blahblah on 2013/05/05 at 11:23 AM

    Any thoughts on a projected lineup with a fit SH in the mix at CMF? Can one of the three (MB, JJ, SH) float as a makeshift winger or would a 4-1-2-3 attacking side make sense with 3 CMFs?

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    • Posted by blahblah on 2013/05/05 at 11:30 AM

      Pure fantasy:

      ———–Jozie/Boyd———-
      Demps——————–Herc/LD
      ——Holden———-MB——
      —————-JJ—————–
      Fabian—-OGon–CB—–TC
      ————–Howard—————-

      Demps can tuck in from the left and Fabian can make runs up the flank for a stronger left attack with Holden tracking back. Then let JJ accumulate yellows on the counter…

      Reply

  10. Posted by Wxman40 on 2013/05/05 at 5:18 PM

    Too many words could not describe my feeling any more…Happy Happy Joy Joy

    Reply

  11. Posted by Alex on 2013/05/06 at 12:23 PM

    Cautiously optimistic. But if a guy like Holden is called in and plays over more proven and/or in-form players like Diskerud, Bedoya, O’Brien, Wooten, Morales, and Kljestan I will seriously question Klinsmann’s personal assestment abilities

    Reply

    • Posted by Alex on 2013/05/06 at 12:25 PM

      And that list is just Euro based players. There is a long list of MLS guys who deserve looks because they are in-form

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    • Posted by schmutzdeck on 2013/05/06 at 3:27 PM

      Alex,

      “But if a guy like Holden is called in and plays over more proven and/or in-form players like Diskerud, Bedoya, O’Brien, Wooten, Morales, and Kljestan I will seriously question Klinsmann’s personal assestment abilities”

      “There is a long list of MLS guys who deserve looks because they are in-form”

      So you have already decided, in the absence of any up to date, current evidence that Stu is not going to have a better camp than those guys would?

      Why? Are you going to be at the camp and are your personal assessment abilities better than JK’s?

      What if Holden outplays everyone else at his position in the camp? How will you know?

      If you aren’t going to be there, do you believe the “personal assestment abilities” of the people who will be reporting on it are better than JK’s. Why?

      Supposedly the USSF has some of the best fitness experts and fitness programs in the business. I have to feel like they would not let him play if he couldn’t do it.

      And who determines “more in form”? I haven’t seen Holden’s recent games and practices with Wednesday or Bolton. Have you?

      The skimpy reports I read on them said he came through them looking good but there was not a lot of elaboration as in ” Stu looked ready for his transfer to Barca” or anything like that. What have you read?

      Or should the lineup be decided by a USMNT fan popularity contest?

      Stu will win a spot for sure given his near mythical, demi-god status.

      The last time I checked JK was not a soccer mom and is not inclined to make sure everyone gets their fair turn in line and that everyone’s self esteem is preserved and gets enough nap time and so on.

      If they used your system all they would need to make out a lineup is your list,not a manager.

      I would not be surprised if Holden nevers plays another minute for the US but I also would not be surprised Holden starts over all your faves.

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      • Posted by Alex on 2013/05/06 at 3:51 PM

        Well I said I was cautiously optimistic. Holden was one of my favorite players, but the fact that he’s coming back after so long away from the game, and the fact that he’s getting spotty minutes for teams in the 2nd division of English soccer makes me wonder how well he is performing. Now, he can come in and play at the level he was playing at, or he could come in and be nowhere near the player he is. The thing is, we don’t know.

        But I have managed to catch a game of O’Briens, and I’ve been consistently watching MLS matches, and I follow what others have to say about the performances of players have listed. And from I’ve concluded, they are all playing very well. I’m not sitting here trying to make my opinions seem more than my opinion; I have no insider information. I am just a big fan of the sport and the USMNT. And I wanted to voice my opinion on the matter, just like you.

        Maybe my original comments weren’t perfect, I wasn’t trying to say that Holden can’t come and be the player he was, but to me, it seems like he isn’t quite back. The only source of info I have is some Sheffield Wednesday sites and Big Soccer, but his performances sounded like they were pretty average. And he has been hard fought to find minutes for Bolton’s 1st team. To me, it feels like calling in Holden sounds a little bit like a PR stunt because he was so popular with US fans. Especially because he announced it long before he releases the full roster.

        I ‘m not trying to predict the future of Stu’s international career here. I was just trying to include some well known names of midfielders who should get an opportunity at least at the Gold Cup roster because they are getting consistent minutes in leagues that (in my opinion) are at least on par with the English Championship. No need to get worked up over my personal opinion

        Reply

        • Posted by KickinNames... on 2013/05/06 at 5:04 PM

          That’s not worked up. He just got a great deal on quotation marks a few years back and has to get rid of them before they expire….

          Reply

        • Alex.

          “To me, it feels like calling in Holden sounds a little bit like a PR stunt because he was so popular with US fans. Especially because he announced it long before he releases the full roster.”

          Holden , the poor dear, is entitled to USMNT royalty MB90 status exceptionalism because of his hair and because he was picked on by that evil Evans and his evil buddy DeJong.

          Of course it’s a PR stunt. Absolutely, 100%.

          But there are some practical aspects to it. If JK was going to have any chance of getting something out of Holden in the World Cup, Stu hanging with the USMNT set up and doing the Gold Cup this summer is the best possible rehab Holden could get. It also sets a certain tone to the summer, one where JK is trying to get these all the guys to compete harder with each other.

          And of course it has been done before. In 2008-2009 BB was giving Adu a run of games with the USMNT. Unfortunately, Freddy wasn’t playing much for Monaco. So BB called the alleged most skilled American player the world has ever seen or will ever see into the camp for the Confederations Cup team and took him to South Africa and also put him on the Gold Cup roster.

          However, I don’t remember BB making a big deal about it. Freddy never got off the bench in SA and only played two games in the weak B team environment. The only comment I ever read about Coach Killer Freddy was that he looked rusty. Hopefully, Holden who seems to take his career just a bit more seriously than the erstwhile Union maestro will show better.

          I don’t see him on the 2014 WC team but you never know. There’s about a year left, plenty of time for other US players to get hurt or lose form.

          Reply

          • Posted by Alex on 2013/05/07 at 11:23 AM

            I believe that Holden’s chances with the US team would be better served by getting back to game form by playing week in and week out with his club. There is certainly nothing wrong with him getting a chance in camp to prove he’s back, but I don’t think a PR stunt is the best way to handle this. I believe that lesser players have proven that they deserve a chance to be invited because they are playing consistently (something Holden hasn’t been able to do) for their clubs. I hope that none of these players are left at home because their spot was already given to a player with a big name.

            And I do not think Holden’s situation correlates to Freddy Adu back in ’08/’09. Adu wasn’t getting consistent minutes, but he also didn’t suffer a near career ending injury that kept him out of the game for 2 1/2 years. He was still training. And that was under the management of Bob Bradley and I doubt that he has a say in who currently gets called up.

            In an ideal world Holden does show everybody whos skeptical, that there is nothing to worry about and he’s the player he was. I just want Klinsmann to be less “media-friendly”. I just think that he talks too much. I do not think our results back up all the things that he has said. And PR stunts do not result in success on the field.

            Reply

            • But the camp Holden gets called into starts after the season ends. This gives JK a chance to see Holden in his own practices (and maybe games) and lets Holden spend more time at game speed once Bolton’s season ends.

              Also, Stu Holden is not a huge PR stunt. He’s not a guy who will put butts in seats. And here’s the thing: these are, in the big picture, meaningless games from a WC standpoint. Playing Belgium and Germany won’t get us any closer to qualifying in the Hex. We can, however, get team assembly answers from these guys – and if Holden is what he was before Jonny Evans tagged him (remember, he came back healthy, looked good, got his leg snapped again), he’s probably the second best midfielder in our pool behind MB. Remember, this isn’t a soft tissue thing or a joint…he broke his leg. That’s not a wear-and-tear problem, it’s not a “this could be reinjured from just playing” thing. It’s not like a ACL tear or a concussion.

              And a healthy and game-speed Holden is a really, really good player. If I were JK I’d be doing the exact same thing – bring him in, get a good look, see if he’ll be able to help us this summer. If not, okay, we move on and Stu spends the summer with Bolton or wherever he may wind up getting ready for the fall. If he is able to help, our “oh freaking hell why do we have to play Edu and Beckerman together” problem can go poof into the wind. As for results – JK may be reaching too far for our talent, but at the same time, a chance in playing style is going to be necessary at some point. CONCACAF is getting better and eventually is going to catch up with us if we don’t continue to evolve as a national side.

            • Alex,

              Alex

              “I believe that Holden’s chances with the US team would be better served by getting back to game form by playing week in and week out with his club.”

              Absolutely. Unfortunately Bolton’s season is about to end and this camp and the Gold Cup are both happening during Bolton’s off season, i.e. Holden’s vacation time.

              “I believe that lesser players have proven that they deserve a chance to be invited because they are playing consistently (something Holden hasn’t been able to do) for their clubs.”

              If Holden shows he can now play consistently then “lesser player x’s ” advantage {playing consistently (something Holden hasn’t been able to do)} has suddenly disappeared. Every national team manager out there already has a list of favored players they are hoping will be able to make their final 23 next year. JK is tipping his hand early with Holden, by trying to help him along.

              Lesser player x is just going to have to keep working to prove JK wrong and force JK to call him up. That is what JK wants and that is how competition works. If lesser player x is discouraged by this “PR stunt” then the USMNT is better off without such milquetoasts.

              Is this fair?

              Most US players get capped too easily. It is supposed to be extraordinarily difficult to get noticed and then to get a call up to your national team. What mostly separates US soccer players from their opponents in competitions like the World Cup is their comparative “softness”, their innate lack of understanding what real full blooded red hot competition is like. JK understands this and so does Donovan which is why I think LD dropped out for a while. He knew he didn’t have it anymore.

              Ironically, I think JK is doing this PR stunt as a reminder to his guys that the kind of drive and sheer desire that Holden has shown is the LEAST of what JK expects. JK is big on each player contributing something to the team and Holden’s role, even if he does NOT get to the World Cup, is to serve as an example.

              “And I do not think Holden’s situation correlates to Freddy Adu back in ’08/’09. Adu wasn’t getting consistent minutes, but he also didn’t suffer a near career ending injury that kept him out of the game for 2 1/2 years. He was still training. And that was under the management of Bob Bradley and I doubt that he has a say in who currently gets called up.”

              What makes you think Bob Bradley had anything to do with JK calling Holden into camp? Bob is busy with Egypt and has his own issues with players needing PT.

              JK is doing the same thing with Holden that Bradley did with Freddy for basically the same reason, that player’s need for more games and the managers’ need to see him play in more games.

              It does not correlate exactly but in both cases the season was ending and the USMNT manager needed more games to evaluate the player in question with regards to the upcoming World Cup.

              ” I just want Klinsmann to be less “media-friendly. I just think that he talks too much. I do not think our results back up all the things that he has said. And PR stunts do not result in success on the field”

              If JK were less media friendly you wouldn’t have known about this move until Holden showed up at camp.JK does talk too much. Bradley didn’t make a big deal about his Freddy experiment but it did help BB decide to not bring Freddy to the World Cup. We shall see how this PR stunt turns out. Hopefully it turns out better for Holden.

  12. Posted by ME on 2013/05/08 at 5:39 PM

    P.s. he’s on loan to sheffield wednesday not sheffield united.

    Reply

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