Stuart Holden

Real Mallorca/Twitter

U.S. owned Mallorca promoted to La Liga

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A handful of American soccer and sports stars have been celebrating overnight.

Big time.

Real Mallorca beat Deportivo La Coruna 3-0 at home on Sunday, as they fought back from a 2-0 first leg deficit to win the Segunda division playoffs and seal a return to La Liga after a seven-year absence.

[ MORE: La Liga scores, schedule

The owner of the Phoenix Suns, Robert Sarver, and his ownership partner Andrew Kolhberg, lead the American group that bought Mallorca, from Spain’s Balearic Islands, in 2016 for around $22.7 million.

NBA legend Steve Nash, plus former USMNT stars Stuart Holden and Kyle Martino (one of our PL on NBC analysts) also own a minority stake in the club, while Martino’s fellow NBC analyst Graeme Le Saux is also a team consultant.

Rafael Nadal, a Mallorca native, was at the second leg to witness the incredible comeback, as the goal which sent them to La Liga arrived in the 82nd minute from Abdon Prats as Mallorca led 1-0 at half time. A huge pitch invasion at the Estadi de San Moix then capped off a a memorable season as Mallorca finished fifth in Spain’s second tier, one place ahead of Deportivo who just snuck into the playoffs.

Martino revealed his delight in seeing Mallorca complete back-to-back promotions to get back to the top-flight of Spanish soccer.

“Last night was one of the greatest in my short life in football. Over past few years a truly great club fought odds to reach top tier of Spanish football once again. Humbled and grateful to be part of this club. Thank you to our incredible fans, honored to be one of you.”

Mallorca will now be heading to the Nou Camp and the Santiago Bernabeu next season to take on Barcelona and Real Madrid, as their incredible rise through the leagues will be rewarded by taking on the likes of Lionel Messi and Co. in 2019-20.

Look out for Martino, GLS, Nash and Holden in the directors box at the Nou Camp next season.

VIDEOS: Stu Holden, media react to Bob Bradley’s hiring at Swansea

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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.

[ MORE: Marsch, Harkes talk Bradley hiring ]

“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.

De Jong apologized to Holden for past tackle before injuring Nagbe

AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu
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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.

[ MORE: Previewing the UEFA Champions League second legs ]

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.

From MLSSoccer.com:

“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.

Report: Ex-Bolton boss Owen Coyle emerges as leader to fill Houston Dynamo head coaching vacancy

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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.

Stuart Holden joins NBC crew to call midweek MLS clash

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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.