The top story in English football today is the first hiring of an American to manage a Premier League team.
Bob Bradley is taking over Swansea City.
As such, the PL has turned to a man who’s played in England’s top flight and for Bob Bradley, longtime USMNT midfielder and Bolton star Stu Holden.
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“Bob Bradley’s probably the best coach I’ve ever played for in terms of organization,” Holden said. “He just knew how to get the best out of his players.”
Holden says Bradley’s coaching style “fits the Premier League to a T”.
From the Swansea angle, the PL media crew takes a peek at what’s behind the quick fire replacement move in the video below.
You just can’t make this stuff up.
Nigel De Jong is a known hard tackler who plays on the edge of violence. The list of players on the end of his nefarious deeds includes Hatem Ben Arfa, Stu Holden, Xabi Alonso and now Darlington Nagbe.
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But how’s this for a dark harbinger of what was to come for Nagbe? Before Sunday’s match in Portland, De Jong apologized to now broadcaster Holden for his horror tackle that cost the American many months of rehabilitation.
“It’s almost fate, wasn’t it, that this was going to happen. Nigel and I actually had an opportunity [to talk] before the game, and full disclosure, he sought me out and made an apology for this challenge [from March 2010]. As you can see there, I had a grade-2 MCL sprain and a broken right fibula which almost put me out of the World Cup in 2010. Now I did rehab and get back, and I felt that that was a nasty challenge.
“And I also felt that the one today, on Darlington Nagbe, he comes over the ball. I came away from it feeling … He talked about being in a dark period in that part of his career. About the media was on his back. He was under a lot of pressure on the field and was making challenges. In my book, it’s no excuse for breaking legs. It’s no excuse for bad challenges. But I walked away from that feeling good.”
Holden also said he felt sickened after the tackle, a surreal reminder of how he went through a similar things at the same hands (or feet).
Even given De Jong’s hard play, what a wild coincidence that the Dutchman apologized to Holden hours before taking out another USMNT player.
The Houston Dynamo‘s head coaching search to replace the departed Dominic Kinnear (San Jose Earthquakes), the only man to lead La Naranja in the club’s nine-year history, is heating up and could be nearing its conclusion with a pair of well-known names leading the way, according to multiple reports on Thursday night.
Former Bolton Wanderers boss Owen Coyle, and current New York Red Bulls assistant and former Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser have spoken with the Dynamo about the vacancy, per a number of reporters.
Coyle-or-Fraser-to-Houston was first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle.
Shortly after Carlisle’s first report, SI’s Grant Wahl seconded the Coyle rumor. Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle then made things seem imminent with a story advancement of his own. Predictably, the Dynamo say they have no comment to make at this time regarding their head coaching search.
For what it’s worth, one long-time Dynamo favorite had less than complimentary things to say of Coyle’s rumored involvement.
The only tie the Scottish manager has to the United States, and Houston in particular, is the fact he made former Dynamo midfielder Stuart Holden his first signing upon being appointed Bolton manager in January 2010.
Let’s be very, very clear. Stu Holden remains on the road to recovery and will be rejoining Bolton Wanderers soon enough.
But that doesn’t mean we won’t be able to hear from him as part of an excellent double header Wednesday on NBC Sports Network.
Following “Football at Fenway” at 7pm ET between AS Roma and Liverpool — which features a star-studded broadcast team of its own — Holden will join John Strong and Russ Thaler from Buck Shaw Stadium in California for the 1030pm ET kickoff between the San Jose Earthquakes and Chicago Fire.
Holden is jazzed for the opportunity, but also champing at the bit to get back on the field.
Holden was injured this winter playing for Bolton and was slated to miss between 6-9 months while recovering on surgery to fix ligament damage in his right knee. That puts his return sometime between September and December, though certainly there won’t be any rushing back for the midfielder who turns 29 on Aug. 1.
As for that ‘little’ match-up between American-owned European giants Liverpool and AS Roma in Boston, NBCSN will have a who’s who of their broadcast crew on point:
NBC Sports Group’s lead Premier League play-by-play announcer Arlo White calls the Liverpool-AS Roma match joined by former U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Kyle Martino, who will offer analysis from “between the benches.” Rebecca Lowe will be live on the field at Fenway Park to host pre-game, halftime and post-game shows joined by former Jamaican national team player Robbie Earle and former English footballer Robbie Mustoe.
Soccer never really left us after the World Cup, but it certainly is back.
It wasn’t lip service.
Bolton has not quit on American international midfielder Stuart Holden despite injuries limiting him to just five appearances over the past three seasons.
It was starting to look up for Holden back in February. The USMNT veteran looked like he could finally return to the lineup and Bolton was ready to offer him a new deal.
Then came another knee injury, and major surgery. At the time, Trotters manager Dougie Freedman stood by his man:
“I want to be very clear to everybody that Stuart Holden will be here in some capacity at this football club,” said Freedman. “He is such a fantastic lad and is a great ambassador for this football club. He is a giver, and I believe that this football club needs people like that. Some people are just take, take, take, but Stuart has never once talked about his situation – he only ever talks about how we can win games and that is music to my ears.”
And then came the news today from Bolton’s site, at the bottom of a post confirming the release of four players: Bolton is continuing contract talks with Holden.
It’s the latest positive sign for Holden, whose story has to be one of the biggest heartstring-pullers in American soccer, especially after his Facebook Q&A last week yielded this response:
Holden’s father fought cancer for six years, passing away in 2009.