HOUSTON – Former Houston Dynamo midfielder Stuart Holden attended Tuesday night’s U.S. Open Cup match between Houston and Chivas USA, and took a moment away from the action to talk about the World Cup and his first season in the English Premier League at Bolton.
MLSsoccer.com: Talk about your experience in South Africa.
Holden: It was a lifetime experience just to feel the buzz and be a part of the atmosphere, as the U.S. made history and won the group. We had a good run in the tournament and a disappointing end, but it's something that I will never forget.
MLSsoccer.com: Was there any disappointment in not playing more?
Holden: Slightly disappointed I didn’t play more, but I understood the situation and the team was doing well. At that point, it was my job to support the team however I could. I was the first one to every celebration and was diving in, and you get so into it. You want to be out on the field helping the guys however you can, but it was still an experience I will never forget.
MLSsoccer.com: How disappointed were you for Brian Ching not making the squad with you and Ricardo Clark?
Holden: Brian is a good friend and longtime teammate, so it was tough not seeing him make the squad, and I know how disappointed he was. As professionals, sometimes things don’t go your way. I know Brian and by his MLS play, he has picked up right where he left off. He has gotten right back to business scoring goals for Houston and hopefully he can bring more success to the team.
MLSsoccer.com: Talk about your first year at Bolton. You took a risk signing a short-term contract like you did, but you obviously got rewarded with a long-term deal.
Holden: It was a tough decision to leave the Dynamo, since I spent four years here and this is home for me. I really feel a part of this franchise, which is why I'm here now supporting the guys, as they are still my friends. But it was a decision I made and a decision I'll never regret. I love Bolton, I love being there. I love the team and coaches and everything. I'm really looking forward to having a healthy year and playing a big part in their success.
MLSsoccer.com: As you started to push into the starting lineup, you suffered a disappointing injury that put the World Cup at risk.
Holden: It's a part of soccer, and it was unfortunate timing before the World Cup. It forces you to dig deep, and find more about yourself as a person in rehab and getting back fit. But, I did that and put the injury behind me and still made the World Cup. Now I'm 100 percent and I hope to go back next year and contribute.
MLSsoccer.com: What was your highlight on the year?
Holden: That’s a tough one. One would definitely be stepping out in the World Cup against England in the last 10 minutes, but a close second would be playing for White Hart Lane in my debut for Bolton. We lost 4-0, but it is an experience I will never forget, as it was my first Premier League game. It's still behind the World Cup though for me, since that is something I have dreamed about as a kid.
Dwain Capodice is a contributor to MLSsoccer.com. Questions or Comments can be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org