HOUSTON – Playing for four teams in four years in both England and Denmark, Euan Holden has logged some serious mileage while learning first-hand the peaks and pitfalls of professional soccer.
His last stop on a trek through Europe was with English League Two side Bury and ended with his release last month. Now the defender is training with the Houston Dynamo and looking for the next step in his career, which could mean heading back to Europe or a permanent stay Stateside.
“At this point in my career, the standard of the MLS has come very far. It’s been very good the last four or five years and is only getting better,” Holden told MLSsoccer.com. “Playing at the level of MLS would be a great step for me. But if I’m going to go back or stay here in MLS, I’m not sure. I don’t want to commit to this or that. … Either way it’d be great, and playing in MLS would be great for me.”
Holden, the brother of former Dynamo standout Stuart Holden, could have started the MLS portion of his career when the Dynamo drafted him in 2010. Instead, the defender out of the University of New Mexico chose to sign with Danish first-division side Vejle BK. He wasn't able to stake down a starting place with his new team, and though he bounced around Europe for the next few years, he got a hands-on education on the inner workings of high-level soccer.
“It was great for me going to England and seeing how cutthroat it is over there, and that’s been great for me as well,” Holden said. “You’ve got to know what to expect. You’ve got to know going into it that there’s always kids coming up that are just waiting for that chance to get in.
“I think it’s helped me sort of grow up and be ruthless on both sides of it, and I think the MLS is a good place for me to be at the moment.”
Getting out on his own was a chance for Holden to grow up. Now the more mature Holden is preparing for his next step while trying to stay sharp in Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear’s high-paced camp.
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According to Holden, he and the club have not discussed a contract and there’s no sign he will stay in Houston. However, playing in scrimmages and preseason games with the Dynamo is a way to showcase his talents to other teams. He featured at left back and put in an effective shift against the Colorado Rapids on Sunday. He will now head to Tucson, Ariz., for two preseason games, against Portland and San Jose, this week.
“When I left England I spoke to Dom, and I’ve always been an admirer, since my brother was a Dynamo, of the training and business in general,” Holden said. “I’m enjoying it. We’ll see what happens in the coming weeks.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.