[MLS 2014 COUNTDOWN]Up against returning starter Zac MacMath and No. 1 SuperDraft pick Andre Blake in the Philadelphia Union goal, Brian Holt would seem to up against impossible odds. But he's come a long way just to sign with the Philadelphia Union after going undrafted out of college despite a record-setting senior season. The knock on Holt? At 5-foot-8, he's the shortest keeper on an MLS roster.
Holt is one of five keepers under 6-feet currently on MLS rosters, and he's not in bad company. Until now, the shortest keeper has been 5-foot-9 Nick Rimando, who is expected to go to the World Cup as the No. 3 U.S. keeper.John Busch (5-foot-10) won MLS Goalie of the Year honors in 2009 while Luis Robles (5-foot-11) started every game in leading the New York Red Bulls to the 2013 Supporters' Shield.
No one gave Holt a chance out of college despite setting an NCAA record with a 0.208 goals-against average in his senior year at Creighton in 2011. His pro experience consists of one game for the USL PRO Harrisburg City Islanders in 2012.
“Brian is a tremendous competitor and we have seen a lot of his dedication, hard work and resolve while he trained with us last year,” Union manager John Hackworth said. “We’re really happy to have him as part of our team going into the season.”
(The shortest goalie in MLS history is believed to be Paul Marcoullier, listed at 5-foot-6 in MLS record books. The George Mason grad played three minutes for D.C. United in 2000 as an emergency call-up. Mexican star Jorge Campos, who played in MLS for Los Angeles and Chicago, was listed at 5-foot-7.)
Shortest Active MLS Goalies
5-8 Brian Holt
5-9 Nick Rimando
5-10 Jon Busch
5-11 Brian Perk
5-11 Luis Robles
IMPACT COACHING HIRE.Greek-South African Nick Kounenakis, who spent the 2010 season with Kansas City but never played in an MLS game, has joined the Montreal Impact first team as assistant coach. He was previously an assistant coach with Greek club OFI Crete, where he spent the majority of his career. He also had stints in Belgium, the Netherlands and Cyprus.
MLS: Preseason Schedule
Around training camp ...
Among the trialists in Philadelphia's camp are Brazilian Fred, who spent five seasons in MLS with D.C. United and the Union before returning to Australia, and 20-year-old Mozambique international Clesio Bauque, who most recently was at Benfica.
MLS Offseason Departures (Americans)
Juan Agudelo, New England to *FC Utrecht (Netherlands)
Report:Gabriel Farfan, Chivas USA to Chiapas (Mexico, loan)
Michael Farfan, Philadelphia to Cruz Azul (Mexico)
Zarek Valentin (Montreal to Bodo/Glimt, permanent transfer)
Jose Villarreal, LA Galaxy to Cruz Azul (Mexico, loan)
*On loan from Stoke City (England).