Report: Holden to sign with Portuguese leaders Braga after Bolton passes

Stuart Holden 3 (ISIphotos.com)

Stuart Holden went to England with the hopes of landing a contract. It looks as though he will have to move elsewhere in Europe to find a deal.

According to the UK-based Mirror, Bolton has passed on signing Holden, and now the U.S. national team midfielder is heading to Portugal to sign with Sporting Braga. Currently in first place in the Portuguese Liga, Braga is tied with Benfica atop the league standings.

We have yet to find a second story to corroborate the Mirror's story (including a search through Portuguese media on Tuesday morning), but Bolton passing shouldn't come as a complete surprise given the delay in offering Holden a deal. If true, Braga could be a great option for Holden because the club is in good position to be playing Champions League soccer next season.

What do you think of this development? Surprised Holden couldn't latch on in England? Think Braga is a good option? Still holding out hope that Holden returns to the Houston Dynamo?

Share your thoughts below.

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81 Responses to Report: Holden to sign with Portuguese leaders Braga after Bolton passes

  1. shraf says:

    wow. Did not see this coming. kind of like it

  2. AJ says:

    Either way, he is going to have to work to get into the starting 11. The nice about being in England is that it would be easier for us Americans to follow him and I think the Premier League is an elite league. With that being said, the Portuguese League certainly isn’t anything to laugh at.

  3. rich says:

    really hope braga doesnt screw this up..

  4. Ian says:

    Excellent! Portugal usually works out really well for our rising-stars…

  5. PGS says:

    portugal has a solid league. as long as he can break into the starting 11 in a reasonable amount of time, this will be a great move.

    can’t wait to see holden tear it up in SA.

  6. J.M. says:

    I’m sure if you asked all of us last which American would most likely be playing Champions League Soccer in 2010, I doubt Stuart Holden would be get a vote.

    Says a lot about the kid that he’s risen his stock that much.

  7. Scott says:

    I don’t hate it at all. Little lower profile which is good and bad. I think it’s good for him, hopefully a bit more playing time, but bad for us fans although I’m sure we’ll find streams.

  8. Isaac says:

    I think you mean hard-working stars….. hehehehe

  9. LKWHGLK says:

    It’s the MIRROR, come ON!

  10. Aquaman says:

    Technically, I believe Agboussamonde was on Braga first and he would certainly be the least likely US Soccer product to be in the Champions League in 2010

  11. Dan says:

    The Mirror is not good for everyday use, but it is excellent for footballing news.

  12. J.M. says:

    True, though I don’t think he’ll fit into the starting lineup at Braga anytime soon. Holden has a much better chance of actually playing, but I see your point.

  13. Isaac says:

    Like I said last post, Holden is going to lose that energy and speed as the years go by. As that happens, he’ll need to develop his technical skills and tactical awareness so that he can depend on them. Braga, I would think, will be able to develop that. He really reminds me of Frank Lampard in that he’s got skill, creativity, toughness, a great shot, set piece ability, versatility and professionalism.

  14. GMD says:

    Nice one…

  15. El Michael says:

    Gale is practicing with the first team and probably will make an appeareance sometime this year. This kid is a total stud.

  16. Jamie Z. says:

    I wanted to see him in the Prem, but I think I like it.

    …I think I like it.

  17. Adam in Cali says:

    Love this move! The top teams in Portugal are always a lot of fun to watch, and I really did not see him getting a fair go of it at Bolton while they fight relegation. Wish him the best and hope he continues to develop into a quality player for the US!

  18. Scott A says:

    Either way, good luck Stu

  19. BooThisMan says:

    I don’t really see how him failing to get an offer from a relegation-zone team can be construed as a good thing.

  20. KCB says:

    As long as he plays.

  21. Tim says:

    Well, its pretty simple really. Now if he signs for Braga, he will then play for a better team. And will have the opportunity to play for a team in the Champions League if they continue their success.

  22. Moose says:

    It pains me to think this way, but the development of Holden could become all the more important if Dempsey’s knee injury does prevent him from playing in the World Cup. Hopefully the Braga move will be successful.

  23. Barry U says:

    I am a little surprised. But Coyle did say he needed to be better than what they had and that to me comes down to the threat of relegation. If they where mid table Stu would be at Bolton in my opinion. If he is the same as Bolton has at 23 years old that is pretty good. Bolton has a really small window for error and I am actually happy they passed. I like the Portugal route especially with the WC coming up and Clint possibly not able to play. I hope this works out.

  24. Frank Simek says:

    What. The. F$%K.

  25. Curtis says:

    In addition to what Tim said, Coyle (reportedly) didn’t say he was bad — just that he wasn’t better than the options currently. A couple points:
    1. Better than the options currently also means fitting into a playing style better. I think that Coyle was interested in him at Burnley because they play the type of ball that Holden would be good for. Bolton, however, plays a different game and Coyle wouldn’t be able to surround Holden with enough players in the same style to make it worth it.
    2. Both Chong-Yong Lee and Matthew Taylor are excellent outside midfielders — although you might not have guessed it from seeing the opportunities that Taylor missed. Since Holden would have been competing with Lee for spot in the starting 11, and Lee is one of the shining outside mids of the season, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a joint decision with Holden eager to get playing time.

  26. I <3 MLS says:

    Stay in the MLS stu! Better fight real hard to get a spot over there.

  27. Steven says:

    “Currently in first place in the Portuguese Liga, Braga is tied with Benfica atop the league standings.”

    You wanna try that one again Ives?

  28. Eurosnob says:

    Well, playing with Braga in the Champions’ league beats playing with a relegated team in the Championship league next season. There are many good teams in Europe are better than English relegation-zone teams. Just ask Liverpool fans about their team’s latest experience in the Champions’ league.

  29. Gitecmo Slunkmeat says:

    Portugal, where young, promising American soccer players go to have their careers disappear. Portugal is like the Bermuda Triangle.

  30. BCC says:

    Terrible defending.

  31. Brian says:

    Woahh…what? I don’t like this. Rather he’d remain with MLS but it’s his decision. I’m surprised there was no interest from any Championship level teams

  32. Erik says:

    Good luck Holden – maybe the Portuguese can work on your hair…

    Also, he won’t see much playing time.

  33. frank says:

    I hate to see him at Braga, one of the best upcoming stars, I would rather see him at SL Benfica

    will have to beat out the veteran brazilian Alan for a spot, one of the best wingers in the Portuguese League. Portuguese league is very strong because of most of the teams have a average of 7 brazilians on the roster along with stars from Argentina and of course Portugal.

  34. cfig says:

    Unfortunate, but very very good, point.

  35. frank says:

    You are a 100 percent correct, no easy task to play in Portugal,

    because of Brazilians don’t count as foreigner players, teams average 8 brazilians per team

    In Portugal you have to work, very hard to make it to the main team.

    only the strong will survive, we need a good american to do well to open the doors for others.

  36. cfig says:

    While I would’ve liked to see him in England so we could more easily catch matches, I like this move. More playing time in a smaller technical league is a good thing and I think he’ll be better off for having more playing time (assuming that he gets minutes). I like the type of league it is, hopefully he’ll develop a bit more creative and the CL is never bad thing. Well, unless you’re Liverpool.

    Also keep in mind that he’s played in the middle more than on the wing and could play either of those spots for Braga.

  37. Chris says:

    I’m sure Braga wants to give a lot of minutes to a new player while they are battling the most successful club domestically in Portugal for their first ever league title.

    (SBI-Oh, so teams in title races never buy players during the winter transfer window. Who knew?)

  38. BFT says:

    This really does not look like a good fit to me, at least in the short term. Holden needs to play, and it’s going to be very difficult for a young, inexperienced American to break into the first team on a European club sitting near the top of the table in the middle of their season. He is a very talented young player who has the quality to play at a high level, but he’s going to have to really blow these guys away to get playing time.

    Also, this is kind of besides the point, but the Portuguese league is home to some of the most appalling cheating and diving you will ever see. Don’t want any of that nonsense rubbing off on our man.

  39. Zach says:

    Maybe Stu just wanted to play in a stadium that’s built into a mountain :)

    If you don’t know what i’m talking about, google image Braga’s stadium.

  40. cfig says:

    Ok, that’s pretty freakin’ cool.

  41. Andolini says:

    Anybody else find it odd that so many Americans are signing with Portuguese clubs all of a sudden? Agbousse-whatshisname, Bryan Arguez, now Holden, plus Kamani Hill and Adu. Nobody on that list has gotten playing time, at all. Call me crazy, but I would feel better if Holden went to an Anglo club where the cultural and footballing differences are not as daunting.

  42. jig says:

    isnt there less of a chance hed see the field with benfica? they have a ridiculous group of midfielders.

  43. Matt says:

    Don’t like this move in the short term i.e. In term of World Cup preparation given the highly likely chance of him warming the bench for the next few important months.

    As for greater career aspirations that’s anyone’s guess. Just hope that Portugal is kinder to him than it was to Freddy Adu.

  44. JC says:

    Although that I am happy that Holden found a deal in Europe, I feel like this is another disaster.

    He wasn’t good enough for Bolton, how is he going to start regularly for Braga, which is fighting for 1st place and the place in Champions League next year?

    Even if he works hard and eventually crack into the first team,in a WC year, he will probably not get much playing time any time soon.

  45. Cyrus says:

    I think you have to look at this opportunity a lot more optimistically than Adu at Belenenses. I think the fact that Braga has already signed an American in Agboussomonde shows that the club has confidence in American players. If Holden can cement his place in the starting line up he immediately becomes one of the few Americans playing in the Champions League next season as well. Like any move this could go really badly or really well, but regardless, Holden has a very high ceiling at Braga which should definitely help him in his development.

  46. fischy says:

    In the long run, it could be a good move. For a guy who was hoping to play his way onto the plane to South Africa, not so much of a good move in the short run.

  47. Jason says:

    Well, if he can play some, I like it. Good, technical league.

    I’ve always liked Stu more in the middle (in MLS). He probably doesn’t have the skills to play there for Braga, but he’s played DM, CM, RM, and CAM in his time at Houston.

    Everyone is pegging him as a winger. I disagree. No reason to peg him as a RM, just because Bradley always plays him there. Yes, he can play wide, but he can chip in anywhere in midfield.

    I wouldn’t be pegging Braga for CL footy yet. Porto is only 6 points behind for 2nd, and only the top 2 go the the CL.

    On the bright side, Europa league seems assured, as Braga are 15 points ahead of 5th place Nacional (and 12 up on Sporting who sit 4th).

  48. MiamiAl says:

    I agree. Bad move.

  49. A.J. says:

    Don’t like the move going to a first place team rather him a mid-table.

  50. Andy in atlanta says:

    Having watched Bolton… I am very curious as to why they are not signing him… he is every bit as good if not better than most of their midfielders… just odd… Portugal has not been kind to US players… Adu, Kamino Hill never sees the bench even…

  51. wilyboy says:

    Yeah, great, cuz if there’s one thing Portugal really needs, it’s talented, creative midfielders. (sigh).

  52. hernandez says:

    Braga is ahead on goal differential…….rookie.

  53. evan eleven says:

    i can’t see how this makes sense. Braga is surely a better team than Bolton is…

  54. BetaMale says:

    Definitely is not going to be an easy place for him to get minutes, but Stu always has been a hard worker with a positive attitude, not to mention a bit of skill. If anyone can succeed over there, its Stu

  55. Michael Vann says:

    I’m not the biggest fan of the Liga Sagres. Outside the Big 3 + Braga there is some dreadful football. It is very hard to watch and stomach some of the play. It’s an okay league but it is highly overrated. But since this is a top side and a side that is in reach of a championship, I’m all for this move, provided he’ll play. Braga have finished outside the top 5 just once in the last 6 yrs. They have a good set-up and a good mix of contracted and loan players. They have solid vets and youngsters. Like I said, I’m not the biggest of fans of the league but it can provide something for Stu and that’s competition in a pressure cooked environment.

  56. Chong-Yong Lee was really excellent this weekend and might have been a bit too much for Holden to unseat from the starting 11.

    Holden strikes me as a player that is going to work hard and really takes his chances, so to speak. The thing is – can he get matches with Sporting Braga, can he get starts? It’s a tall order with a Championship on the line.

    Truthfully, any player coming out of the MLS needs accelerated development to make it in a top league. If Holden thinks they need him, then he’s doomed. But with Bolton taking a pass on him, maybe he’ll be fired up more than ever to prove himself.

    Ands he seems to be able to raise his level, which speaks positively to his talent potential and his mind set.

  57. jeff says:

    This wont happen.

    1. No Portuguese papers mention it.

    2. Braga’s mid is already full, and they just bought 2 new players this month.

    3. Even if he did sign for Braga, he’ll be in the bench.

  58. Jon says:

    I’m skeptical that he’ll play much. If Braga’s atop the league, what use do they have for a guy who couldn’t get a contract at Bolton. I like Stu, but I think he screwed up by going to the UK to try to win a contract. That trial thing never seems to work out. Also, I don’t see his strengths valued that much in the Portugese league. More UK/USA-based energy/crossing/defending. In the long-run, he’ll benefit from learning to be more tactical and improve his technique. But short term–for the World Cup–probably not the best scenario, assuming he doesn’t play much. That said, it’s probably better than staying in MLS(that’s how little I think of our league, sadly).

  59. Thomas says:

    Braga should buy him, then loan him back to Houston until after the World Cup. It’s win win. They get the player, he gets playing time in a WC year, and then he reports for preseason training.

  60. Joamiq says:

    Would he play at Braga? If not… I don’t know about this.

  61. jim says:

    why should he? They are tied for first place meaning they are in first place!!! Tied is not a position, you have to be tied for a position and in this case its first place. so they are in first place, what did you think their in second??

  62. Micah King says:

    Don’t like this move. I am starting to get scarred about the World Cup for us(USA). Everyone is getting hurt, and most players are struggling finding playing time. Hey Ives, did you hear about Vincenzo Bernardo, who played for Napoli is trialing with some MLS teams ?

  63. Slyboy says:

    I dont know how many games you have watched, you seem to have some knowledge. Because i find it a highly entertaining league. Braga, Nacional, Maritimo, and Uniao Leiria all play very good passiing attacking soccer. And that is to say nothing of the Big 3. The bottom 5-7 of the table are fairly horrible, but not much more then watching the bottom of any league.

  64. OmarVizquel says:

    Haha. Wait, are you serious?

  65. asdasdasd says:

    good point. ives does make a ton of mistakes tho tbf, this was not one of those cases tho :)

  66. SG says:

    Kinda sad that one of our up and comers can’t make a bottom feeder in the Prem.
    He’s not really that young either compares to some if other countries young
    talent. Oh well we ‘ll just have to wait
    and see…..

  67. DC Josh says:

    I like it, I like it a lot. Him and Agboussoumonde on the Portuguese leaders together would be great for both players. As long as Holden is logging minutes I could care less where he goes. Just go somewhere!

  68. vince says:

    when has any american player ever come out of one of these ‘trials’ with foreign clubs with a contract? Never. If they were good enough they’d just sign them outright.

  69. Andy in Atlanta says:

    This report is BS… from Coyles mouth yesterday…

    One player who could be about to sign on with Wanderers is United States midfielder Stuart Holden, who has impressed Coyle during a trial with the club.

    “Stuart did well since he came in,” Coyle said. “He’s picked up a little thigh injury in the last couple of days which has curtailed his movement a little bit. But he’s done well and I’ll have a chat with him today and his representative and see where we go from there.”

  70. Jersey Scouser says:

    If the reports are true I have to hold judgement on this one. We all thought that Gooch going to AC Milan was a good thing. He was getting a little pt. We need Holden to go to a team where he would be the starter the moment he gets off the plane. I’m sure he is up for the challenge but until he is a consistent starter this does not look like a good deal to me.

  71. froboy says:

    Ricardo Clark close to signing with Eintracht Frankfurt according to a certain Washington Post blogger, would be a solid move to an upper half of the table team in the Bundesliga

  72. rico says:

    I found this on espn……………..

    One player who could be about to sign on with Wanderers is United States midfielder Stuart Holden, who has impressed Coyle during a trial with the club.

    “Stuart did well since he came in,” Coyle said. “He’s picked up a little thigh injury in the last couple of days which has curtailed his movement a little bit. But he’s done well and I’ll have a chat with him today and his representative and see where we go from there.”

  73. Stephen says:

    It might be ok if Dempsey is hurt bad.

  74. jtd says:

    oh man is that a cool stadium!

  75. Fire BB says:

    Good news. Get as far away from MLS as you can. Run away!!!

  76. Charles says:

    Says a lot about American coaching….at least, Kinnear.

  77. Charles says:

    I can’t figure out why soccer doesn’t succeed in this country.

    Hopefully he is playing in the US next year, where I can watch him play, rather than in Port,England etc where I can read about it on a blog I love with people that either live in Europe or don’t go to soccer games.

  78. Stephen says:

    I agree. That is pretty sweet.

  79. madmax says:

    This must be a different Bolton side than the one near the bottom.

  80. RNG says:

    From No Short Corners:

    UPDATE: The Holden-to-Braga report is full-on hokum. I do not know where the UK scribes get this stuff. I’ve spoken to the club, who have already made their full allotment of five winter moves (league rules). In a word, Braga says it’s ‘impossible’.