BRIAN SCIARETTA - Thursday, April 11, 2013
After being told he would be offered a professional contract from Huddersfield Town, American midfielder Duane Holmes is looking forward to breaking into the first team soon.

Holmes, 18, has been with Huddersfield Town ever since the Under-9 level and has continuously progressed through each level of the academy. Despite playing in a withdrawn midfield role, he led the club's U-18 team in scoring and began to earn significant minutes with the U-21 team.

Being offered a contract was not a surprise for the Georgia native but now he knows the significance of the challenges ahead.

"I wouldn't I was surprised because I thought I did enough to get an offer," Holmes told YA. "It was just a big relief when I was actually offered one. It was a bit of a relief because I've worked so hard ever since I was so young. I'm excited because my next step is to try to break into the first team. It's a challenge but I'm looking forward to it."

Holmes' accomplishments did not go unnoticed. Last month he was nominated by the Football League for Apprentice of the Year along with Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Dimitar Evtimar and Watford's Bernard Mensah. Evtimar ended up winning the award but Holmes was very excited to be part of the process.

"Obviously I was a bit disappointed not to win but it was fantastic to be nominated," Holmes said. "It was great to go down to London because I've never been to London before. It's a different world completely."

For the rest of the season, Holmes hopes to progress at Huddersfield and perhaps catch the eye of US U-20 head coach Tab Ramos as he has yet to represent the United States internationally. He is not yet part of the first team for Huddersfield but he is well aware of the importance of their games the rest of the season.

Huddersfield is currently in 21st place in the Championship and is just one point clear of the relegation zone. As Holmes begins to establish himself as a professional player, he would rather do so in the Championship than in League One. He is optimistic, however, that the club will survive dropping this season.

"There in a bit of a bad place now but I don't think we'll go down," Holmes concluded. "We've got good enough players and I think we'll avoid relegation."

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