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Stuart Holden Rejoins U.S. National Team

Stuart Holden Rejoins U.S. National Team

Note: Holden played at Clemson in 2003 and 2004, and was named second team All-ACC in 2004.

CHICAGO (AP) – Midfielder Stuart Holden will rejoin the U.S. national soccer team after an absence of 2½ years for its training camp ahead of three World Cup qualifiers next month and for the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July.

A member of the 2010 U.S. World Cup team, Holden injured his right knee on a challenge by Manchester United’s Jonny Evans during Bolton’s Premier League game March 19, 2011. Holden returned from surgery to play in a League Cup match against Aston Villa that Sept. 20, then had surgery on the knee eight days later.

The 27-year-old didn’t play again until Jan. 15 this year. He made four stars during a one-month loan to second-tier Sheffield Wednesday that ended last week, but has yet to play more than 72 minutes in a match.

“We’ve been in touch with Stuart throughout this whole injury period,” American coach Jurgen Klinsmann said Thursday on the U.S. Soccer Federation’s website. “The last couple of months have given us a lot of positive signals. I spoke to his coach at Bolton and spoke to his coach at Sheffield Wednesday, where he played some very important minutes and games while on loan. He’s on his way back. That being said, we want to have him back in our picture. We are going to bring him for the May-June camp, and also for the Gold Cup.”

Holden has two goals in 17 international appearances and hasn’t played for the U.S. since Oct. 12, 2010, against Colombia.

While his contract at Bolton expires at the end of the season, the club has said it wants to sign him to a new deal.

Relegated to the second-tier League Championship at the end of last season, Bolton is sixth heading into its regular-season finale at home against Blackpool on Saturday and has a chance to earn a spot in the promotion playoffs.

“We have the backing from his club that we can play him through the summer,” Klinsmann said. “He knows there won’t be big vacation time, and he said, ‘I don’t want vacation anymore. I had one and-a-half years off!’ So that’s exciting news for us, having him back in the group and seeing him and evaluating where he’s at, and helping him become the old Stuart Holden – and even better because he’s still so young.”