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Klinsmann to call in Holden for May-June USMNT camp and Gold Cup

Stuart Holden


When Jurgen Klinsmann sang the praises of Stuart Holden a week ago, and pointed out that the last thing Holden needed after a year and a half injury layoff was rest, it seemed like Klinsmann was suggesting that he really wanted Holden to be a part of the U.S. Men’s National Team set-up sooner rather than later.

Those suspicions were proven to be justified on Thursday when Klinsmann announced that he would be calling in Holden for the USMNT camp in May ahead of friendlies and World Cup qualifiers in May and June, while also revealing that Holden would be a part of the national team’s Gold Cup set-up.

“We’ve been in touch with Stuart throughout this whole injury period,” said Klinsmann. “The last couple of months have given us a lot of positive signals.

“I spoke to his coach at Bolton, and spoke to his coach at Sheffield Wednesday where he played some important minutes and games while on loan,” Klinsmann said. “He’s on his way back.

“That being said, we want to have him back in our picture. We are going to bring him in for the May-June camp, and also for the Gold Cup.”

Klinsmann had made it clear that European-based players would be unlikely to pull double duty this summer, but cited Holden’s unique case. He had been sidelined for a year and a half recovering from a major knee injury, and this summer’s USMNT duty will serve as a part of his recovery, which still continues as he works his way back to the level he enjoyed when he was considered one of the better midfielders in the English Premier League.

“We have the backing from his club that we can play him through the summer,” Klinsmann said. “He knows there won’t be big vacation time, and he said ‘I don’t want vacation anymore. I had one and a half years off!’  So that’s exciting news for us, having him back in the group and seeing him and evaluating where he’s at, and helping him become the old Stuart Holden,  and even better because he’s still so young.”

What do you think of this development? Excited to hear Holden is back in the USMNT mix? Anxious to see him in a national team jersey again? Think Klinsmann is rushing things, or are you excited about this move?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. What world do some folks live in? Few thoughts. A coach’s comments about guidelines for selection process are made for public consumption and not always altogether the same as the tone set in the locker room. Further, they are guiding principles, not laws or commandments. Managing in uncompromising black and whites is foolish and of course, impossible. Keep in mind, the goal is to qualify for the WC while simultaneously looking ahead/focusing on putting the best team together for 2114. It’s an inexact science at best. Many factors go into this, not a single principle… a team is a melding of many into a complimentary one. It’s the real world… sometimes there are extenuating circumstances, sometimes there are conflicting principles…. there is a constant balancing act that must be played between setting a tone/sending a needed message vs form vs. talent, vs chemistry vs team specific assets and shortages vs developing potential etc, etc, etc.

    Holden is a player that has demonstrated extreme character and dedication as a person, coupled with an upside, quality and attributes as a player that are unique and at the top end of our player pool. What he needs more than anything is to play. If Klinsman is in a position to provide that and possibly accelerate his return to form…. why in the world would he not do that? Sorry, but I’d much rather see a spot invested in the possibility for an excellent starter than say a Beckerman or Davis or some other player who at best would sit deep on the bench in Brazil. Seems like a no brainer to me.

    • You hugely overrate Stu Holden, a player who was never a difference maker for the USMNT BEFORE his injuries. Why you think now, at age 28, he is suddenly a top line player is beyond me. I get that you’re a fan but be a bit more realistic. He’s not in the top 25 USMNT players right now and doesn’t deserve to be in camp yet.

      • To be fair to Stu he was just coming into his own, and off a broken leg, leading up to the World Cup after the roster was more or less settled. The next season, he was Bolton’s player of the season and was struck down at the peak of his powers.
        National team camp isn’t about bringing in the “top 25 USMNT players” every time. As the guy above you said, there are always exceptions and extenuating circumstances. This is one of them. Tying yourself down to absolutes is asking for trouble. Holden coming back in to the fold is a positive thing. Don’t think its not

      • I beg to differ, in the 2009 Gold Cup, Holden routinely started and had 2 goals. After that he was a routine sub or starter in the 2010 cycle qualis, and started the last contract-obligation Costa Rica game. He also was playing in the important European friendlies after that, right until the infamous Dutch game. He then made the South Africa 23 and played in a game. He and Feilhaber used to be the young mids on the make, and it was his injury that shuffled him behind Torres for South Africa.

        If he has wheels back he offers another Dempsey/Donovan wing speed merchant with technique to boot, rather than Shea dancing around aimlessly or Zusi who can’t beat anyone to get his cross off. It’s that wing Fear of God element we need, which I think we wish Gatt was polished enough to provide.

      • Mr. Voice,

        I never saw Holden play for Houston but I saw every one of his USMNT games. Other than a great cross he made against Mexico I never saw any indication that he was inclined to be a Ribery/Robben kind of winger.

        If anything, with his excellent range of passing, he reminded me more of a Beckham kind of right winger, putting in the early cross. I do remember reading an interview when he said his tendency was to drift inside to look for the ball. This came after a Colombia game where the US wingers, nominally Holden and Shea in a 4-3-3, seemingly spent all their time in the middle of the field at the same time instead of being out on the wing.

        Taking that game and comparing it to his performances for the B team in the Gold Cup it was clear to me that chaining Holden to the sideline was likely (a) impossible and (b) a waste of his talent.

      • Mr. Hunting,

        The “top 25 USMNT players” is a dynamic, rotating list.

        Realistically, it probably changes in some way every couple of weeks. Today’s list could be significantly different by the time the Belgium and Germany games roll around for example.

        Besides you are forgetting that at this point in time, personnel moves have effects beyond just affecting the depth chart.

        The USMNT has had to deal with questions of injured players possibly coming back in time for tournaments before.
        In the run up to the 2010 World Cup there were all kinds of questions about whether or not Charlie Davies was recovered enough to play for the US. When he was not included on the WC roster a huge outcry rose up questioning Sochaux’s motives in declaring Charlie unfit to play as well as BB’s mental acuity and competency in going along with it. I remember posters characterizing Davies’ exclusion as a career defining blunder by Bradley.

        It’s unlikely that a similar controversy would have arisen this time over Holden’s possible participation in the WC but this low risk move by JK definitely defuses that potential. A smart move.

  2. I love Stuart Holden and hope that he makes a full comeback–and gets back to playing on a first division club. I fail to see, however, how a guy who has rarely featured for the Nats in meaningful games warrants so much excitement. He played great for Bolton, but he is not a game changer for the USMNT. Maybe an incremental improvement, but not a game changer. There are only a couple of those in the pool, and at least one of them (yes, Adu) is so far out of the picture that he’s almost not worth talking about. People are really overestimating what Holden can do for the National team…

  3. This has nothing to do with this article, but for all of you who see the Barcelona Camp ad in the top right, doesn’t it look like Iniesta just sharted?

  4. Bradley and Holden is exactly the kind of two-pivot, good passing, high work rate central midfield that Klinsman wants to feed the forwards and protect the backline. If Holden can get into form and familiar with the Nats again, his play this summer is a given. No more needs to be said except good luck to Holden.

    • “Bradley and Holden is exactly the kind of two-pivot, good passing, high work rate central midfield that Klinsman wants to feed the forwards and protect the backline”

      you really think only Klinnsmann wants that??? Stu and MB would have had the exact same roles for the Nats under Bradley until Stu got hurt!


  5. Man some of you will complain about anything. This is good news and all you can do is whine about Klinsmann.

  6. Just in time for Klinsmann to run him into the ground with the two and three adays that caused the many tired and lethargic performances we have seen.

    • Holden is on a very conservative rehab plan.

      It does Holden and JK no good to deviate from it.

      Players will need to be very fit for the World Cup.
      The group games generally include 3 games in 11 days.
      If they get through, the round of 16 game is about 3 days after the last group game.
      A win and the Elite 8 game is about 6 days later.
      A win and the Semi final is 4 days later
      The final is 5 days after the semifinal

      That adds up to seven games in about one month for the winner.

      And all those games will likely be close, hard and brutal. So if Holden is to be a part of the US WC , the fitter he is the more he is likely to play.

  7. I fully support Holden being called up for this camp for an evaluation, to give Holden an emotional boost and to lay the groundwork for potential integration. I doubt that he sees the field in any WCQ games, but maybe Gold Cup if the Bossman thinks he is ready.

    The one thing that troubles me, though, is that Klinsmann did not call up Eric Lichaj during the past year for the same reasons that he is now calling up Holden. Inexplicable to me. Lichaj certainly could have benefited from the experience. Klinsmann did in January call up Alfredo Morales, who was not even making the Hertha Berlin bench in order to give him a boost. Why not Lichaj?

    Here is an article in a German paper saying that the call-up of Morales from Klinsmann was a major boost for his club career, basically saved it. And Morales at the end of the article saying he really wants to play at WC 2014, so is working harder at the club level. But again, if Klinsmann can do this for Morales, why not for Lichaj?

      • just to clarify: i don’t actually know that chitown thinks that (but he might!); it was just a snarky comment in reference to his theory above that criticism of klinsmann was likely due to xenophobia.

    • I’ve had the same theory on Lichaj and certain others and Gold Cup. Give some of the peripheral people an extended run out, since we can build up and control their fitness, we can see what they offer when fit.

      As opposed to playing this, “well, but x is not playing” game, when we have some need positions where players who got form and fitness back could easily make an impact. You have several weeks to work on people, and you don’t have to rush your projects into this round of qualis. But you can try and hone some of the young kids or people out of favor over about 6-8 weeks.

      • Maybe it’s because Lichaj is just not good enough? Have you ever thought of that?

        He impressed in a few spot showings a few years ago, but the fact that he wasn’t seeing the field (and sometimes not even the bench) for the PL’s worst defensive team speaks much more to his abilities than any slight that Klinsmann may or may not have against him.

      • that’s the point…others who impressed in the past but were currently struggling still got the nod from Klinnsman, while others have not

        it’s nothing new though, they all do this

      • Maybe Klinsmann just doesn’t like what he sees in Lichaj. Maybe he likes other players more. We all have differing opinions about how good players are, Klinsmann included. No player situation is the same no matter how much we try to simplify it. Saying he brought in player X for this reason but not player Y for the same reason is a bit misguided when we clearly don’t have all the same information that Klinsmann has. or like I said before he just may not like lichaj. could be as simple as that….

      • like I said, it’s nothing new. All coaches have favorites and non-favorites. i think you and I just said the same thing

      • must have hit respond to the wrong comment.
        favorites and non-favorites. exactly

      • yeah, the unmistakeable Ronaldinho, that is the most logical explanation, that he simply does not like him. Or maybe he likes Timothy Chandler more.

      • It’s an 18-23 man team, and merely preferring the starters to Lichaj shouldn’t end the discussion. Who are the backups? Parkhurst? Evans? Cameron? Beasley? Sure, Chandler’s better, but is he worse than the backups? We don’t decide the whole forward pool on whether they are better than Dempsey, it’s are you good enough for the roster.

        Also, if we don’t take a full A team to Gold Cup, then the question is not are you better than the people who might be allowed back to their teams, but are you better than our second tier options, again, Parkhurst, et al. People may not care for Lichaj but the real question is, is he as good or better than the last hypothesized defender on a Gold Cup team. If a fit and in-form Lichaj is competitive, I think you give him the camp to see.

        Put up or shut up to me is he was worthy of the Gold Cup last time, why not this?

      • He played well for the US under Bradley. I think I did consider that……which is more relevant than how Villa handles their ramshackle team to me.

        As I understood it the complaint was he was not playing regularly at Villa. For isolated qualis that is quite valid, but if you have a situation where you can train, build fitness, and evaluate a player once you’d gotten him ready to play….the two camps…..why not see what he has when fit?

        I think he can’t be a scrub on the books at Villa and there is no harm in seeing what he has, just like Holden. You may not care for him but many of us do, which makes it not so “self-evident” what the result should be. The whole reason many of us want him in is we’ve seen him play well. So, consider that?

      • Okay, call in Lichaj and build up his fitness then what? Regardless of how well he then does he then goes back to Villa where he loses his fitness because he can’t get off the bench so what good is that?

        Part of JK’s deal is it’s up to the player to maintain his fitness. Something about showing desire and initiative.

        Clearly, as BB did with Adu in 2009, managers will make exceptions in the case of players they believe may prove useful in the near future.

        Holden showed, albeit briefly, that he was an exceptional EPL player. Lichaj has never shown that.

        And if you are talking a needed position then, along with Holden, why not spend your time and rehab effort on players you might really be able to use, if they were in form, like Gooch, Parkhurst, Shea and CD9 , Charlie Davis.

        JK also appears to believe Morales is exceptional and may prove useful in the not too distant future.

        Why is it so hard for you to see that JK clearly does not rate Lichaj and isn’t worried about our current fullback pool?

        It has been my experience that managers often have different opinions from fans on which players merit attention, just like mother in laws often differ from their daughters on who the aforementioned daughter should have married.

        In four years at Villa, Lichaj could not convince O’Neill, Houllier, Mcleish and Lambert than he was anything other than an occasional fill in ,emergency starter for two exceptionally mediocre fullbacks in Warnock and Hutton.

        As for his USMNT career, in his 9 games he benefited from being compared to Bornstein and when it really counted in the 2011 Gold Cup Final showed very little adaptability or grace under pressure in a rancid performance by every US player. It was his soft giveaway in the penalty box directly to Guardado from a weak cross that led directly to Mexico’s second and tieing goal.

    • have had the same thoughts on Lichay for about a year now. It is interesting to see some get Coach’s love while others get the shut out, but that’s a coach’s prerogative. It’s interesting to me since depth at the outside back position is a constant discussion, but it’s not news in itself that some get rated while others don’t, whether I agree or not. All coaches do this, all coaches have favorites and non-favorites

  8. Sounds to me LD is in the dog house. Stu has to proof again he belongs in the top 23. I’m not so sure, he hasn’t been playing THAT good. I don’t have a problem him going to camp or even LD, I just hope neither of them make the 23 solely based on their reputation.

      • I rate current form not legendary reputations. so far he had 4 mediocre games and one good one and then he didn’t make the next game. Is that your interpretation of top few players in America? He still has time to get better and consistent which to me that is one of my biggest worries with him.

  9. Well done Stewey!
    HOWEVER, I believe this is a bit of smoke and mirror. JK is bringing Stu back WITH Bolton’s blessing??? Shuddup—-the rest of the team is on holiday, so of course he has Bolton’s blessing. This is a perfect opportunity to give him some valuable pt, which he has not gotten over the last couple of months. Kinda like the final stages of rehab.
    It’s a smart move — JK wants an attaching central midfielder…Holden is that and if he can regain 90% of his previous form, he may be EXACTLY what we have been lacking. Creativity in the final 3rd.
    I also see this as a message to Lando —

    • Is he even still under Bolton contract? I thought the Wednesday loan was running out his current Bolton deal. In which case, unless Holden has all but signed the re-up, why do we have to “run it by the boss?” Heck, Holden might want to play somewhere else.

  10. Great news, especially considering JK’s unconventional decision making, you never know which way he is going go. He could have just as easily said he was going to take a slow methodical approach with Stu… so it’s a huge surprising positive for nats fans. I was hopeful we would have Stu and LD in the fold by the Panama home game…still might happen, JK needs to check his ego on the LD front and move on.

    • It appears to me Klinsmann is trying to light a fire under Donovan, to really instill a desire to play and perform for the national team. Call me crazy, but I don’t think the drama between them will last long. Donovan will prove himself with the Galaxy, then the USMNT, and guide us to our first World Cup final.

      Ok, well, maybe 2 out of the 3.

  11. Soooo everyone pegging Stu in the Gold Cup and May June camp early on was way ahead of themselves, right Ives? Not with this kid, I bet he had this circled on his calendar all along. Congrats Stu!

  12. I don’t know if people realize this but Klinsy can call in like 26 or 27 players into camp. It’s very unlikely that Stu will see minutes in WCQ’s, but just having him sharp and training and playing is huge. It’s better than having him at home watching the game on TV. Plus Stu at 100% is one of our top 3 center mids, along with Jones and Bradley.

    People need to think sometimes.

  13. Only way this upsets me is if mixx, corona, gatt, gyau, morales, and even adu are left out if these camps and holden is included. I agree his inclusion is a bit hypocritical.

    • Mixx and Gatt have been called in and apparently didn’t impress a great deal. People are getting way ahead with themselves on this whole Stu thing though. At least wait until the roster is out before losing your heads.Some people just really like to argue via internet.

  14. Here’s the reality. JK isn’t saying what he means, he’s saying what he thinks the players need to hear. Landon knows this. Stu has the most talent of anyone in the USMNT system at our greatest position of need. Central midfielder. Because of this we will give him a shot, and this camp is really the only chance we will have of getting him into the system and seeing if he fits and where he is at.

    As for donovan. He’s our top transition player, and we need him in order to get the type of attack JK wants. He makes the connection between Bradley and dempsey/altidore. As long as he’s committed he’ll be included on the team. JK is saying what he’s saying to send the message. “Landon, if you’re not committed than don’t waste my time.” that’s it.

    Conclusion: this is a meritocracy, and because of that both will be given a chance. JK’s just sending them each the message they need right now.

    • Thank you paulwp.

      With some of the comments on this thread you’d think Klinsmann had said “Stuart Holden will be in the starting 11 for the next qualifier, and Donovan will never see the field again for the U.S. team.”

      When in actuality Klinsmann has said, I’m going to call in Stu along with 25 or so other guys to take a look at him and give him a chance to train when he would have been on break. And just because Landon’s back playing again, doesn’t mean he’s an automatic call-up.

      Stu has worked his ass off to get to a point where he can get on the field and Klinsmann is giving him an opportunity to continue working out and getting back to form, which is good for the USMNT. Landon has taken some time off and is now working on getting back to form and Klinsmann is motivating him to get back to his best, which is good for the USMNT

    • “Stu has the most talent of anyone in the USMNT system at our greatest position of need. Central midfielder.”

      No. Bradley is, and consistently has been, our most talented midfielder. Holden had a great season with Bolton but has never even had the chance to prove himself internationally.

      • This may come down to semantics, and I don’t want to be in a position of placing Bradley below any of our midfielders, however: When Stu got injured by DeJong, he was, IMO, the most talented midfielder the US had. Somebody has to agree with me who watched the US games back then. Bradley was still learning, and was prone to many turnovers in those early years. Stu has something else – that MB has acquired through sheer will and intelligence – let’s call this something, “talent.” Yes, Stu has more talent in the midfield, when in form, than we’ve seen since Reyna and O’Brian. MB now has caught up and blows me away with how good he has become, but Stu has something other US players simply don’t show: Composure and pinpoint passing, with no sign of forcing anything, no need to do more than he can. Surely Klinsmann views Stu in a similar light.

      • Skyman

        “When Stu got injured by DeJong, he was, IMO, the most talented midfielder the US had. Somebody has to agree with me who watched the US games back then. … Yes, Stu has more talent in the midfield, when in form, than we’ve seen since Reyna and O’Brian..”

        Correction, Stu HAD something. It remains to be seen whether that something is back.

        I watched the USMNT closely back then. MB90 was an established starter and Stu was just breaking into the US setup. The De Jong injury seriously derailed that process until after the World Cup.

        After the World Cup Stu came out on fire for Bolton and played the best he ever has for about 26 games. Then he got busted up by Evans.

        No one knows if that “something”, if Stu gets it back, can be productive for the US.

        The comparisons of Holden to Mikey are useless. Their battle for best central midfielder never got off the ground. And never mind Holden, people forget Jermaine Jones had his shin shattered about that time.

        My expectation at that time, prior to the injuries, was that Jermaine Jones would be the dominant US central midfielder and Holden, Edu or Mikey would be Robin to Jermaine’s Batman.

        Stu may or may not be more “talented” than the son of the coach Bradley but talent has to be placed in a context. Talent is only relevant if it can be harnessed productively by the team. Otherwise, it’s just another wasted onanistic fantasy.
        Jose Torres is very talented but he and JK have not been able to get the USMNT to take advantage of it.

        MB90 is and has been productive. Maybe Stu is more talented but it does not matter because Holden has never had the chance to show what he can do. Mikey has shown up every day while Stu has not.

        Holden and Whitbread share an ironically bad sense of timing when it comes to injuries and until things change, they remain “could have beens”.

      • I was talking about when Holden was in form, not his playing record.

        Jones, when in form, is by far the most impressive midfielder the US has seen, based on what I’ve seen when he’s played for Schalke (especially the last CL game he played in vs Galatasaray).

    • I’m pretty sure Adrian doesn’t really know who he is. That’s why he keeps changing handles over the years and posting under pseudonyms. . .

  15. Klinsi wants to give Holden an opportunity and that is fine. I would guess he is in the WCQ squad so they can see where he fits and what shape he is in and, if all goes well, he would play some in the Gold Cup. That would give us a good evaluation of his status.

    • Yup very unlikely to get time during that camp’s games except maybe a few token minutes against Germany. It’s about getting him acclimated to the rest of the team, getting a better feel for where he’s at, recognizing the work he’s done to get back to where he is, getting hima few more chances in more active situations while Bolton is in the offseason, and recognizing him as a key part of any potential succes in Brazil. In that order. He may drive the Gold Cup team, but that’s always been understood to be a B tournament for the US. He’s not taking anybody’s spot and likely won’t even make the game-day rosters for the May/June Germany/WCQ matches.

  16. I fail to see the problem here. He will be called into a camp to get some training and reps in. I doubt he is going to see the field during that camp. Then he will be a part of a B roster, with other players who don’t have a wealth of experience either. It is possible that depending on how he does, he won’t see the field in the Gold Cup either (though I personally believe he will).

    It isn’t like he will be starting on June 7th, and yes this situation iss

    A) Nothing like LD’s case

    B) Really an extenuating circumstance.

    The idea that JK is being a hypocrite is laughable. He is being flexible, which is a good quality for a coach to have.

  17. Did you guys read that Klinnsy’s comments w/r/t to Shea? Ouch…Regardless of getting match fit or lacking sufficient EPL talent, sitting on the bench for such a long stretch will kill Shea’s chances for this summer. Maybe Gold Cup?

    • Same thing as Holden…..bring him in for the camps and see what we can do for him in lieu of Stoke play. The one caveat being he seems to have a lingering foot problem even after surgery, so it may be all for naught.

      • The big question to be answered about Shea is whether its the foot problem or if he just hasn’t been good enough. Does anyone have more info on that?
        With Stoke’s top flight status secured, I’d expect to see Brek given a chance in the last few weeks.
        I’ve never been a huge Brek Shea fan, but the more options we have the better.

      • I understood at least in terms of the last set of qualis he was hurt, played all of 8 minutes. Davis got called in and actually played more minutes (29). Because before that my memory was he created a PK one game for Stoke, he wasn’t blowing people away but was effective.

        He had surgery in the 2012-2013 winter and either it’s not been given the time to heal or hasn’t done the job.

  18. Favoritism. Indeed, as E.H. pointed out, that if the team is chosen on merit, neither Holden or Donovan would merit a call-up through their lack of recent playing time, True, while one had no choice and the other made it a choice, it’s still the same. Klinsmann has denied several players a call-up with the USMNT camp because ; 1. Lack of playing time, 2.) lack of fitness, 3.) still recovering from injury and not yet match fir, despite playing minutes for thier club team.
    Yes, JK has been caught playing favorites. It may be a good thing for the USMNT, Holdenballs (as the British pundits hailed him for his precision passing. ia la Beckham’s “GoldenBalls”, is a good player, and should he make it to the point where he was injured, he will be a vital factor in the USMNT WCQ campaign and possible WC berth. But now in all honesty, if JK gets on his high horse and say all spots on the USMNT are earned. I’ll call him a hypocrite.

  19. I don’t think this call up is sign that JK sees Holden in his A team now. I believe this call up is to reward Holden for his hard work and dedication. If he was recalled from his loan spell to help his team win promotion, that’s an incredibly positive sign. Nothing wrong with rewarding hard work.

    As for LD, he’s far from his best form…enough said.

    • LB far from his best form? Didn’t he score a goal and assist on another two weeks ago against then the best team, KC in MLS? Yes, yes he did. His form is almost completely back.

    • I think the concept is that if he is still a working machine, 6-8 weeks or so of US practices will get him fit and give an idea what he can contribute….at least by the end. He may not actually make the 18 for the qualis, and the first camp may almost be more to get him in shape for Gold Cup.

    • BS on LD…you don’t watch the games. No way. Or if you do and make that comment, your analysis skills suck

    • The call up is obviously made with an eye towards next summer. This isn’t a handout to reward a player for working hard. Klinsmann sees something in Holden (don’t we all) that can add something to the team. This call up will allow our staff to get a first hand look at him and aid in his continued recovery. Its not like he is stealing another player’s spot who is threatening to break into the starting 11.

      I hate to use an NFL analogy, but this is like using a late round draft pick on a boom/bust player. If it works out, you have yourself a starting caliber player who will make an impact in the World Cup (isn’t that the end goal of every cycle???). If it doesn’t work out, no big deal at all. The average player who was replaced was not likely to make an impact anyway. It is a LOW RISK and potentially HIGH REWARD decision.

  20. I doubt he will make it back to his old form, but I don’t doubt he deserves another crack. Best wishes Stu. You have done well for the Nats and I hope you experience a resurgence.

  21. love this news. when stu was at his best, he was a huge asset to our midfield. here’s hoping he can recapture that form.

    and yeah, comparing this to the donovan situation, JK seems to be a bit contradictory here, but as we have seen in the past, he tried different things with different players to try and motivate them. i’m not worried, donovan will be back.

  22. So Landon Donovan, arguably the US’s best player EVER in a national team shirt, takes some time off and needs to earn his way back into the side, but Holden is out nearly two years and comes into the side for a major international tournament after playing a few games in League One? Ridiculous…

    • One player is coming back from an injury and has apparently been playing very well and has been supremely dedicated to his teammates and self. The coach is rewarding him by giving him an opportunity to continue that improvement when his team is out of session.

      The other player lost all form and abandoned his team and teammates for a walkabout. Frankly his legacy is irrelevant. He wasn’t injured and his CHOICE left the team reeling. So yes, he has to earn his way back. This is a meritocracy.

      The bigger question is how you find those two situations remotely similar.

      • If it’s a meritocracy, then neither should be in camp. Holden has played five games on loan. Be honest and realistic and you’ll have to admit that his inclusion is ridiculous.

      • Take a long look in the mirror.

        Sheffield Wednesday is in a relegation battle and their coach (a very well respected coach) thought his form strong enough to see minutes as they battled to stay up in the league.

        And once again, not all situations are the same. Stu–as his coaches have apparently said–is making a comeback and by the Gold Cup and camp will be in even better form.

        So who needs to be honest with themselves? Here’s a hint–it isn’t me.

      • So now the USMNT is a means to get players in good form for their clubs and increase their contract potential? Because supporting his inclusion in the side for the Gold Cup is doing exactly that. He’s played 5 games in the last 18 months and that’s good enough to represent the US?

      • You seriously have no idea what you’re talking about.

        Stuart Holden is in good form. He was entrusted to play for Sheffield on loan ahead of existing players while they try to stay up.

        And again, nobody said anything about contract potential because he has a contract with Bolton that isn’t going anywhere.

        But you know best. Yup. You. Some guy on the internet that hasn’t seen, heard about or spoken to this player. The people who have says he’s ready.

        But you. You know the truth. Ignorant.

      • from above and this summer’s USMNT duty will serve as a part of his recovery, which still continues as he works his way back to the level he enjoyed when he was considered one of the better midfielders in the English Premier League.”

        This quote indicates that he’s not here based on the form you speak of, but simply because it will aid in his recovery. My entire beef with this idea is that a roster space for a tourney should be taken by someone completely ready to aid in the goal of winning the tournament, not to get an injured player fit again.

      • 2 shoes,

        You make a fair point.

        JK is clearly making a comparison between Donovan’s Hamlet act and Stu’s desire.
        It serve’s everyone’s interests.

        The shame and insult can serve as a motivator to Donovan. And he has always needed one.

        The Stick.

        The increased attention should motivate Stu even more.

        The Carrot.

        Stu may not make it all the way back but the drama will serve as a motivational lesson to all.

        I see no way the USMNT does not benefit from this little morality play.

      • GW,

        Great response. I think you hit the nail on the head with that.

        Too often we look at these things at face value without realizing there’s probably an ulterior reason… (not sure if ulterior is the best word but you get the jist)

      • Is it possible that him getting called in for the USMNT is to get him in good form for the USMNT (primarily) and also for Bolton? Giving him a chance to get comfortable with the team he hasn’t played with makes a lot of sense if you still see him as a viable part of the 2014 World Cup team.

      • Yea. Think about it.. big picture.. If you think Holden is progressing and capable of helping in2 014. You do what you can to get him into a better club situation. The only way you can do that is to showcase him.

      • *Who needs to be honest with himself (or herself, if you so choose)? Come on. This isn’t even my first language.

        I only left this comment because of your poor attitude.

      • His coaches all believe he’s good enougHunting and play for a new club in a relegation fight.

        But Elite Hunting says he isn’t good enough despite most likely not having seen him play.

        Do you realize how foolish that is?

      • You are all misguided. And please, don’t get defensive too soon until I have my say.
        Stuart Holden is going to be called up into camp. Big deal, he will be evaluated by the medical staff, and fitness coaches. They will firsthand be able to evaluate his form and fitness. His club will soon be on break and he still hasn’t worked his way up to first team. Now is a good time for him to be given a good run-around and see where he stands overall. Game fitness is one thing but not being on the pitch in competition for almost two years is another. Five matches are a beginning, but in the English B league mind you. This is the best time to evaluate where he stands and where he is going to stand. No one is saying he is going to make either the Gold Cup or World Cup qualifying teams. It’s just camp, but I hope he does.
        As far as Donovan goes, he will be in camp as well. And most likely starting for the World Cup qualifying squad. So he needed time to find himself, once again, big deal. He now has to pay the price for it and earn his way back. That doesn’t change the fact that he is one of the US’s best players and a game changer. He will be involved this summer.
        Too many times I see people post on this site to senselessly bicker about nothing.
        And finally, I’m almost done with my rant. About someone’s rant above about Holden being injury prone. He found himself in the wrong place at the right time. I agree certain players can tell when to go into a challenge and when to bailout. The knee gash was a bit of bad luck and he probably should have bailed with being served a hospital ball like that. With that said, a spell of bad luck and working hard to reestablish himself is what America is about.
        Good for Holden. Now my pint is ready and I’m done.

      • Mr. Schmoe,

        Have you seen Stu play lately?

        Because I haven’t and I don’t think Sheffield Wednesday are shown too much over here.

        Do you know what his coaches actually said to JK? From the article, it seems to me they cleared him to train with the USMNT for the balance of the summer. They agreed that was a better idea than staying in rehab in England. I’m not sure that is the same as saying he is a guaranteed USMNT starter. And of course they are going to be positive about him. This is all part of his rehab and the US is doing them a favor.

        This is reminiscent of 2009 when Bradley took Adu to South Africa on the Confederations Cup roster and then put him on the Gold Cup roster even though Freddy only played 10 games for Monaco that season. Hopefully, this will end better.

        Holden is being given every chance to regain his best form but it is important to remember there is no guarantee that he will.

      • LD has also been caught in interviews (prior to Azteca W1-0) indirectly criticizing JK…”the idea of this is stupid…I’m not sure why we’re even here”…he’s got talent, but is an arrogant A$$, thinking JK would fail without him. As it turns out, it was the best thing to happen to the MNT in uncovering talent and building depth. His talent makes an impact, but with his mouth/age I’d use him as a super-sub.

      • An arrogant ass? When has he ever hated on the US team, or his fellow US players? When did he state a desire for the US team to fail? Who has given more the the U.S. team in the last six years? I haven’t counted, but who has must be near the top for most caps for the US in recent years. You fourteen year olds don’t get it. He probably lost his marriage due to his dedication to to soccer and especially US soccer. The dude has run nonstop for years on end. He earned a break, get over it and stop the hate.

      • btw that is in regards to chitown’s comment about how they are two completely different situations.

    • Just so you know, Stuart is playing in the Championship, not League One. As I see it, Klinsmann saw Holden’s commitment to his team through his play in the Championship. Donovan left because he lost his dedication and that rubbed Klinsmann the wrong way.

      • If they don’t get a result, they may very well be in League One come Saturday evening.

      • Um no, they are fighting for promotion right now, worst case scenario is Championship for Bolton next year.

      • He’s currently playing for Sheffield Wednesday, which is a point above the drop. That is the team I was referring to when I said “after playing a few games in League One”

      • Well, in that case, I guess his inclusion by JK is wholly deserved! Finishing a five game loan spell at a crappy Championship side always seemed like grounds for making the roster for a major international tournament.

      • Being in camp and being on the roster aren’t the same thing. Having him train with the side doesn’t mean he will be on a gameday roster or playing. And given how good a guy he is in the locker room, I see absolutely no downside here whatsoever.

      • timmy, why are you so desperately reaching for reasons to bring him down? Pay attention, and you’ll realize the only reason he’s not playing for Bolton is because the current squad has won a ridiculous amount of games in the last couple months, and nobody wants to tinker with that. However, now that it looks like they’re going to to the promotion playoff, and stu was obviously playing well during a short loan, the coach recalled him for depth during the playoff, much to the dismay of the sheffield coach, who publicly stated they want to keep him but understand the situation.

        Again, not sure why you’re so desperately grasping for straws to knock an american player on an amazing recovery. But hey, to each his own. Or as some say, “haters gonna hate” I guess.

      • he did not lose his dedication…that is flase. He took a sabbatical.

        I dare you to earn one in whatever you do after 15+ years of dedicated service that saw you become the most prolific American of all time, and make sure it’s not even close btw as LD has, scoring more points for country than any other TWO players combined

    • Fairness to Holden, he’s been “out” as opposed to “indisposed.” Landon’s time off was voluntary. When Howard hurt his back, you don’t count that against him, no? This is an extended version of the same thing.

      And let’s be real about it, Klinsi has laid down a somewhat farcical gauntlet for Donovan — I think just going through the rhetorical motions because it doesn’t pass the laugh test (Zusi, really?) — with the real question being how he factors into the team at the end…..XI? Bench? Begin bench and move towards starting if he plays well?

      Whereas I think Holden is being given probably an even iffy-er opportunity, come in, train, get in shape, prove yourself all over again. He is being handed both camps but that’s because he probably needs two camps’ worth of fitness and form work.

      I mean, if you think about why they were out, you would want to motivate Donovan, while happily encouraging Holden. What’s the point of getting tough love with someone who’s been out hurt? So obviously it’s a rosier message. But I doubt he gets anysuch preference when the money’s on the table.

  23. Klinsmann is a savvy PR man, give him that. I hope that Holden can make his way back to USMNT starter-level by 2014, outside of Dempsey and Donovan, he may be the most uniquely skilled/irreplaceable player in the set up-somewhat crazy to say given how little he actually played and contributed to an A-level USMNT squad… But, all other attacking-oriented central mids have failed thus far (Torres, the 3 defensive mid triangle, the 3 defensive mid line….)

    In form (big assumption at this point) he slots in very nicely in front of one or two D-mids, helps keep possession, sends in good crosses…

    a line up like this one would quite versatile and offensively skilled:


  24. Cool news. Did one of Klinsmann’s gurus tell Stu he needed to do more girly-man pushups to make the Gold Cup roster?

      • Hypocrisy in this regard? Please attempt to stay on topic. Or go to another posting on this site. See? I was even resourceful and not disrespectful to you. Try it out, your current costume is ill fitting.

      • Hypocrisy or what you probably call hypocrisy is practically a requirement for a top manager. I prefer “flexible” or “pragmatic”.

  25. Huge showing of faith in a young(ish) talent to work this out with Bolton and for showing Stu that his hard work and dedication is being rewarded.

    Very well done, Coach Klinsmann.

      • Stop responding to my comments.

        And Stuart Holden is not injury prone. He had his flesh ripped open by a hard, studs up tackle.

      • Ehhhh…. I don’t know if he’s not injury prone. While I’m not a Holden aficionado, the tackle that produced the most recent injury was certainly one that a more savvy player would have avoided. To wit: he was in the the offensive third and there was no need to go in so hard. I witnessed this disaster live. If I’m not mistaken, he’s had his share of injuries, more than, say, other elite American players, like Donovan for instance, no?

      • more savvy? “Savvy” players get injured quite often… because they are pretty competitive. They pick and choose their moments, and get it right, sometimes get it wrong. That’s just football m8. I wouldn’t slight Holden for being any less ‘savvy’ because of it. Though I would say he does seem more injury prone and in some instances suffers from terrible luck/fortune.

      • Actually, didn’t mean it to read that they get injured all the time, rather that some ‘savvy’ players do get injured. It happens. It’s a kind of silly comment (savvy vs. unsavvy) and doesn’t have anything at all to do with Holden.

      • Really? I don’t know, holmes… I saw the tackle that led to the injury. No way, bottom line, a more experienced or, as you quote me, ” ‘savvy’ ” player would have went in like that. Those players pick and chose, much more wisely, when to go in. And the result is they play way more and have careers with very few serious injuries. Donovan is a great example of that.

      • Injury prone does not mean reckless.

        Injury prone means continually missing time due to an abnormal amount of minor and nagging injuries.

        Stu’s had several back-to-back major traumatic injuries… not minor nagging ligament and muscle issues.

      • Exactly.

        Holden’s good, and tough and gritty.

        Surprised Klinsmann will aggressively seek out a player with little playing time and not a long run of form. While simultaneously excluding and verbally minimizing players who “haven’t had a lot of PT”, but who have had more across a longer duration than Stu.

        Love Holden, love to have him in our top 23. But again, odd from Klinsmann. Hope all these things he’s doing works out.

      • Johnny Evans is a goon and has no real soccer skills + Holden playing with no fear = Holden being out for 6 months

      • While the injury he received at the hands (feet?) of deJong was one any player would have been laid up by, I seem to recall after the second injury many folks observing that part of the problem is that Holden plays very aggressively and does not shy away from the kinds of plays that result in injuries like the one he suffered this last time around. My impression was that his greatest strength as a player (tenacity) is also something that gets him in trouble.

      • Holden Sunderland stint was punctuated by an attack and then an ankle injury. He then came home because his father took ill and he needed a fresh start. He had a relatively injury free stint in Houston, but then in his Bolton period he has suffered the deJong tackle, the Evans tackle, a separate hip injury, and 2 years worth of up again down again rehab from the Evans injury, which lest we forget occurred in 2011! 2011!

        Whether this makes him injury prone or the target of harsh tackles, it’s fact. We have to see if he’s coming back or if he’s Convey/ Olsen/ O’Brien. Significant US history of exciting US middies who never reached potential (or at least couldn’t sustain it long) because of injuries.

        I think one way of protecting him would be to play him wide. I think his McCarty-esque give n go tiki-taka style in the middle encourages people to take his legs out. I think he can hit a cross as good as anyone in the pool and if he has legs left can offer attributes currently less on offer from the pool right now. We have plenty of central mids.

      • depends heavily on how Klinsmann decdes to set up the team. In the current 4-2-3-1, he is more likely to play outside. If we add a third central midfielder, Holden could occupy that role. In the past Ive suggested:


        Obviously this is contingent on Stu and LD returning to form, but I like the formation in general for us. Especially if we have Cherundolo, Chandler, and F. Johnson to choose from at the outside back positions to provide the width.

      • He is not injury prone. He has had two serious knee injuries from tackles from other players. did you see the tackles. could have happened to anyone. He is unlucky, not injury prone. He re-aggravated his second knee injury when he tried to come back too soon, that is why he has been out for so long.

      • +1

        Unlucky and unfortunately the one time ambition can work against you is when it turns into anxiety when recovering from an injury – cost him a chunk of his prime when he came back too soon. But I’m very happy to see that he can still salvage this cycle and be a contributor if he can regain somewhere close to the form he had 3/4 years ago.

      • How does having a studs up reckless tackle that split his knee open reflect in any way on him?

      • A more savvy player wouldn’t have been there in the first place… Iniestia, Xavi, Donovan, Valbuena, J. Torres…

      • But then again Holden isn’t quite an Iniesta, Xavi etc. is he? He’s a different type of player altogether.

      • Sure: a not-even-remotely-in-the-same-galaxy-kind-of player. I saw the tackle that led to the injury. No way, bottom line, a more experienced or savvy player would have went in like that. Those players pick and chose, much more wisely, when to go in. And the result is they play way more and have careers with very few serious injuries.

      • Chi Town,

        There are a lot of tough guys in the game and a lot of dirty players. But not a lot of players have Stu’s injury history.
        Injury prone means prone to injury for whatever reason. Nowhere does it say anything about it being his fault.

        Stu has been with Bolton for about three and a half seasons. At top player like him usually puts in about 40 appearances a season. Stu has 37 appearances for Bolton. That means he has missed about 103 or 74% of his appearances. That is a lot of games, That is Van Persie territory.

        More to the point, he missed being able to capitalize on his EPL success when Evans tackled him. He also missed making a real impact on the USMNT when De Jong tackled him. Finally there are indications he might have had a job with Sunderland back in 2005-6 had he not been assaulted by some thugs.

        So call him injury prone or just unlucky but whatever you call him the guy has a long, untimely and unfortunate association with performance reducing injuries.

      • Dude you know you are reaching, stop reaching.

        Injury prone is DaMarcus Beasley, John O’Brein. Little nicks and landing wrong and little things like that. Not getting you bones broken by a crazy players tackle.

      • Lmao GW proves that Holden has missed 103 games…and your response is “Dude stop Reaching” lmao!!! WoW.

      • no, gw is right: ‘injury-prone’ has nothing to do with the type, cause, or seriousness of the injury.

        if a player misses a majority of his games over several years due to various injuries, it’s fair to say he’s injury-prone, for whatever reason.

      • It’s not his fault but I know with quick little central passing players my approach as a defender was to be quick and hard into the tackle, before they could turn or get dribbling or passing. Kind of a Beasley thing, you don’t let them get running. We can debate the ethics of it, or the legality of particular approaches, eg, studs up, but it is a fact that physical defensive types will see it this way.

        And I know the purists don’t want to hear this but if he gets routinely clocked like this maybe he needs to be deployed in a way that lessens the risk. Holden is pretty skinny and to me a lot of the CMs who hold up are stouter looking, Maradona, Messi, et al.

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