Holden eyes jump overseas

STEVEN SANDOR, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:51 PM ET

When it comes to music, most dressing rooms are filled with either rock or rap. But, if Stuart Holden has his way, Bolton Wanderers' room could soon sound like the Grand Ole Opry.

Born in Scotland but raised in Texas, Holden -- who was part of the U.S. squad for the 2010 World Cup -- will join his Bolton mates as they wrap up their North American pre-season tour with a game Wednesday at BMO Field against Toronto FC.

While Holden is very proud of his Scottish heritage, his tastes are very, very Texan. And he's enthused that his manager, Owen Coyle, has a soft spot for Kenny Rogers.

"Can't say the guys have taken to it," Holden said of his teammates.

Holden, though, is looking to become yet another MLS product who has made a successful jump to the Premiership. MLS MVP Landon Donovan was nothing short of outstanding when he went to Everton on loan during the North American off-season. Holden, though, made a permanent move, hoping to emulate the likes of Everton goalie Tim Howard and fellow Texan Clint Dempsey at Fulham.

Heck, if Holden and Dempsey keep bringing it in England, maybe "Texas" and "football" won't be words immediately associated with Friday Night Lights, the University of Texas and the Cowboys.

Fulham will open the EPL season against Bolton in mid-August.

Holden left his hometown Houston Dynamo in January, looking to make an impact with Bolton right off the bat. Instead, he spent almost all of the season recovering from a broken right leg, suffered as he wore the American colours in a friendly against the Dutch. Nigel De Jong, who famously cleated Xabi Alonso in the gut in the World Cup final, was the one who snapped Holden's fibula.

"It's great now," Holden, who rejoined Bolton just in time for the Toronto game, said of his leg. "Whenever you come back, you have little setbacks. It's always tough coming back from injury ... it was especially hard because I was going to get the chance to get a run with the team. But injuries are part of the game."

After Bolton wrapped up its practice at BMO Field, Holden greeted Toronto FC's Dwayne De Rosario. The pair won MLS Cups in 2006 and 2007 as teammates in the Lone Star State before moving on -- and remain close friends.

Holden spent the time after the World Cup back in Houston, recharging and watching as much of his old club as possible -- and he desperately wants the Dynamo to get back into the race in the Western Conference. Ironically, his departure may be the major factor in Houston's slide; the Dynamo has badly missed Holden's great runs out of midfield.

But it's the reality of where MLS is at right now. Talents like Holden, if they succeed in Europe, show fans across the world that soccer in North America is making great strides. And, in the end, that's good for MLS.

"They (the Dynamo) are all still good friends of mine. I still consider myself part of the Dynamo franchise," he said.

Coyle, who left Burnley to take over Bolton halfway through the previous season and save Wanderers from relegation, is enthused about having a healthy Holden at his disposal.

"He's been a breath of fresh air."

Coyle said the fact that the American national team was competitive at the World Cup showed off just how soccer is growing on this side of the Atlantic. And, based on what Holden and the likes of Dempsey and Howard have done in the Premiership, he'd be glad to take on more North Americans.

"Everybody has my number."


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