Written by Joe Gabbert
Brian Holt, who joined the University Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks as a goalkeeper coach prior to the 2012 season signed a contract with the Major League Soccer team the Philadelphia Union to play goalie last Monday.
Holt set the NCAA record with his .207 goals against average at Creighton, and was named Missouri Valley Conference goalkeeper of the Year his senior year. He finished his career with an NCAA record 44 shut outs.
After college, Holt moved to a small professional league in the United States, and then he got a chance to be part of the coaching staff at UNO
“I went to Creighton, and then in between that I went out and played in the USL out in Harrisburg Pennsylvania and then in between the seasons, during the offseason, that’s when I went to UNO. Jason Mims kind of gave me that opportunity and it allowed me to use my ability to go in there and train the goalkeepers and also be able to train and stay sharp myself while I was in the offseason,” Holt said.
The team in Harrisburg he referred to was the Harrisburg City Islanders of the United Soccer league who advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Holt got his chance with Philadelphia through his play during his off-seasons at Creighton.
“So I didn’t do a tryout or anything, but what I did do was in between my junior and senior year I was called up to play in the PDL, which is basically what a lot of college guys will do during the summer to kind of come together with other guys from parts of the country and just play on a team together,” Holt said. “Almost like a summer league team. So I got called out to come to Pennsylvania to play for the team that they have there and the coach I had that season was also a coach within the Philadelphia Union organization. So after my time at Harrisburg I ended up getting a call a month or so after they started the season I came in and had that opportunity to come in and go on with them.”
Holt, a native of Omaha, Neb. has had the oppurtunity to travel all over the country and now gets the chance to reside in Philadelphia.
“I’ve been to Philadelphia a lot in the last couple years it seems like. I’ve liked it. I’ve met some great people along the way. There’s a different type of atmosphere then back home, but you’re able to adjust to anywhere you go. So I’m kind of seeing different areas, different parts of the country and some beautiful scenery.”
Last year the Philadelphia Union finished just outside the playoffs with a record of 12 wins, 12 losses and 10 ties for a total of 46 points.
Last season, the Union started goalkeeper Zach MacMath for all their games and he recorded 101 saves, and along with Holt and another keeper they now have three.
“We have three keepers; one of them is a keeper that for several years now has been starting. So they have that keeper, another guy that came in and then me. It’s a good healthy competition where everyone can hopefully grow as keepers and feed off each other and then whoever is starting can make sure they’re ready to go come game day.”
The Union got to face off against the New York Red Bulls last Wednesday in a preseason game where they lost 2-1, where Brian got a chance to play against some of the most famous professional players in the world.
“Yeah you play some of those teams during preseason and when you play them during the season as well you get to meet some of the guys and you get to know some of them as well,” Holt said. “We were down in Florida down in the preseason for a friendly match against New York and we were able to meet Henry and Cahill and then we have some fairly well known guys on our team as well. So being able to watch these guys growing up and then come full circle to be able to meet them and share the field with them,”
Holt seems to have a bright future ahead of him in professional soccer, and will get his chance after being a player and coach here in Omaha.
“I guess I haven’t thought about it too much right now. It’s mostly been working to where I am right now. I’ve just kind of been taking it day by day and making sure I show up to practice and getting everything out of it. I’m growing as a player and an individual and I think by doing that it will put me in a good position and lead me into the future.”