Bolton Wanderers: How Relegation Affects Careers of Americans Ream and Holden

Joe TanseyFeatured ColumnistMay 13, 2012

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 20:  Stuart Holden of Bolton Wanderers during the Carling Cup third round match between Aston Villa and Bolton Wanderers at Villa Park on September 20, 2011 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Michael Steele/Getty Images

With the relegation of Bolton Wanderers on Sunday from the Premier League to the Championship, it leaves plenty of talented players in limbo on whether they should stay with the club or move on to greener pastures.

Two specific players involved in the relegation are American defender Tim Ream and midfielder Stuart Holden.

Both players came to the club from MLS, Ream from the New York Red Bulls and Holden from the Houston Dynamo, and they have been solid players in the squad since their transfers across the pond.

However, the two players also have a different role on the United States national team. Ream is still trying to break into the squad as a consistent member. On the other hand, Holden was a fixture in the center of midfield under former manager Bob Bradley, but he has not played under current manager Jurgen Klinsmann because of an ACL injury.

The two also should have different career paths going forward.

Ream should stay with the club as he is only 24 years old, and a full year playing in the Championship would not be a bad thing for the defender's development.

With center back being a position where the United States will need players in the next few years with captain Carlos Bocanegra and Oguchi Onyewu now in their thirties, a season of development for Ream may not be a bad thing.

Ream's competition at the position includes a plethora of players who still play in MLS, with Clarence Goodson being the only center back playing overseas with Brondby in Denmark.

The 26-year-old Holden faces some stiffer competition from players his age, and playing top-flight football is his only choice to get back into the American squad once he is healthy.

Holden was named Bolton's Player of the Year for the 2010-11 season and has proven that he can play in the Premier League, but the question every one will have is how he will come back from his injury.

The midfielder should be ready to play during the preseason, but he will need some time to get back into the swing of things.

A stay at Bolton would not be the worst thing, as Holden would be inserted into the first team and get playing time, but he will not be in the spotlight as much by playing in the second tier of English football.

A move to one of the promoted clubs, Reading or Southampton, may present a good opportunity for Holden, but he may have to wait until January to transfer away from Bolton due to his injury problems over the past year.

Regardless of where these two Americans end up next season, one thing is for sure: Relegation to the Championship is one of the worst things that could happen to both Ream and Holden at this point in their careers.