BRIAN SCIARETTA - Thursday, January 31, 2013
After joining Huddersfield Town's academy as a young boy, Duane Holmes is making great strides in the 2012/13 season and has his eyes set on breaking into the first team soon.
Holmes, 18, has been with Huddersfield Town for over a decade when he began playing with the club's under-9 team. Since then he has progressed through every level of the club's academy and last week he was named to the first team's matchday roster for a fourth round FA Cup game against Leicester City.
Holmes did not play in the 1-1 draw against Leicester but it was a signal that the youngster is making progress in his career. As of now, he is currently the leading scorer for Huddersfield Town's U-18 team with nine goals through 14 games. He has also begun seeing minutes with the U-21 team where he has one goal in five games.
"Honestly, it's going well," Holmes told YA of his season. "I have confidence at the moment because I'm scoring a lot of goals and the team has been doing well. It came as a big surprised to be involved in the FA Cup game but it was a good experience."
The fact that he is scoring goals is impressive given his role on the team. Huddersfield Town teams usually play with two holding midfielders sitting just in front of the back line and Holmes occupies one of these two positions. The 5'7" Holmes is usually given the freedom to move forward into the attack and he has been effective in this role on both sides of the ball.
Holmes is currently in the second year of a two year academy contract and in the coming months Huddersfield Town will decide if they will sign him to a professional contract.
It's a pivotal time in his career but Holmes insists he is not thinking about a contract but is instead focused on developing and trying to earn valuable first team minutes.
"You just try to put it out of your mind and enjoy playing really," Homes said of his contract status. "Obviously I was really happy to make the [FA Cup match roster]. It's a good feeling. I think that's my aim for the rest of the season to keep doing well at my level and maybe get some time with the first team. "
While Holmes has lived in Wakefield, West Yorkshire for most of his life, his early childhood was far from settled. He was born in the United States on November 6, 1994 in Georgia to an English mother and a father who was in the U.S army. Soon after Holmes was born, he moved to Alaska after his father was assigned to be stationed there.
Holmes would eventually return to Georgia again but when his parents separated, he moved to England with his mother. It was there he began to play soccer with local junior teams Kellingley Welfare and Normanton Athletic prior to joining Huddersfield Town.
Holmes is still in close contact with his father and returns to the United States every year to see his family. Despite carrying both American and British passports, he has never represented either the US or England internationally.
The US U-20 team is hoping to participate in this summer World Cup in Turkey with qualifying set to begin in just a few weeks. Holmes has never been in contact with US Soccer but he does hope that Championship minutes this season could grab the attention of US U-20 head coach Tab Ramos when the World Cup approaches.
"I've always wanted to represent the United States because I am American and that's where I'm from," Holmes stated emphatically. "I've always had my heart set out on playing for America, to be honest."
For now, however, Holmes has his sights set on progressing with Huddersfield Town and earning a first team contract. Huddersfield Town is currently enjoying a strong season in 2012/13. Just one season after earning promotion, they are poised to finish midtable in the Championship and are also heading into a replay against Leicester in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Huddersfield Town is an ambitious club after earning promotion and Holmes is excited over the possibility of continuing his career with the only club he has known since he was eight.
"I've progressed through every level of the academy since I was just a little kid," Holmes concluded. "Hopefully now I can make it all the way through to the first team. Ever since I was nine I've watched the team. Just to be on the pitch with them is a dream come true. It's definitely the best football I've played in my short career so far. It's been going well."