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Holden: Playing For The U.S. A No-Brainer

Stuart Holden is in the middle of his best year as a professional soccer player. Not only is the midfielder lighting up Major League Soccer after taking the reigns of the Houston Dynamo attack, but Holden has drawn great reviews from his time on the pitch with the U.S. National Team. But as Holden told the Scottish Sun this year hasn't been all roses.

"It's been a strange year. In many ways it has been the best 12 months of my career, but it has also been the worst year of my life," he said. "My father lost a six-year battle with cancer in February and it's sad he's not here to see me. In my heart I believe he'll be somewhere looking down on me and hoping I make it to the World Cup - and I know my mom and my sister will be there to see me."

Then again, the path the 24-year-old has taken to this point is his career has never been an easy one. Holden's career was nearly ended when he was jumped by a group of "thugs" during his youth days at Sunderland. His eye was badly injured, only to be saved by corrective surgery.

As a boy, he dreamed of playing for Scotland, but a move to Texas with his family soon pushed him into a new life. Then when a young professional, Holden had to bide his time behind one of the most successful midfields in MLS history.

Through it all, Holden says he dreamed of playing in the World Cup. With the U.S. only one win away from clinching a spot and the Dynamo maestro inching his way ever closer to a regular spot on the U.S. roster, that dream could become a reality next summer.

"If things had been different I might even be playing for (Scotland) now," the midfielder said. "My dad was born in England, I was born in Scotland and so was my mom. I had a few options open to me.

"We only left Scotland because my dad worked in the oil industry and he got a big transfer out to Houston on my tenth birthday.

"There was also talk a few years ago that Scotland were watching me. When Alex McLeish was the manager he watched a few of my games and was quoted as saying he was monitoring my progress. But nothing came of it and when the USA called me up it was a no-brainer. I spent my teenage years here and have an affinity to America.

"I'll be proud if I get the chance to play at the World Cup. It will fulfill a dream, but it's maybe not quite how I expected it all those years ago."

Allen Ramsey,

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