Alert: Our February 19 Scholarship Day event has been cancelled due to inclement weather/travel conditions in the region.
Scotland’s Luke Holt Brings Experience, Poise To Trapper Field
For sophomore transfer Luke Holt, starting goalkeeper for the Northwest College men’s soccer team, a love and passion for the sport has been a way of life for as long as he can remember.
“I’ve played all my life,” Holt said at a recent practice.
A native of Kilmarnock, Scotland, Holt’s dad Gary is a legend in the sport, having played professionally for the Kilmarnock Football Club, as well as the Scotland national team.
“He never forced me to play, but he gave me the opportunity in getting to see the way he plays,” Holt said of his father. “It made me fall in love with the game even more.”
Holt dabbled in other sports as a kid, but soccer always came first. When the opportunity arose after high school to play in the U.S., Holt jumped at the chance. He began his career in the states at Wayland Baptist University in Texas before transferring to NWC.
“It was really about opportunities,” Holt said about making the jump to America. “New coaches, a new way of playing. The way it’s set up gives you a platform to play on, your games are all recorded. And you get an education alongside it, which is a big thing for me.”
During his time in Texas, Holt learned of NWC’s program from a pair of former Trappers, Ryan Montgomery and Dean Johnson.
“They had both done well here, and they knew I wanted to move on to pastures new,” Holt said. “They couldn’t speak highly enough of this place, so I ended up here.”
Holt said he’s enjoyed every minute of his time in Powell, on and off the pitch.
“The soccer has been excellent, the school itself, everyone has been welcoming,” he said. “Just the whole area, I like it. There’s always something to do.”
With a new team comes new teammates, as well as a new coach. Of head coach Stan Rodrigues, Holt said he’s enjoying refining and improving his game under the first-year coach’s watch.
“I like him. He gets angry sometimes,” Holt said, laughing. “But all coaches do. He’s helping us all develop as players. He’s always there for us, as is his wife Angela. That’s a big thing for me, the trust. He trusts in all his players. He wants us all to succeed, which you can’t say about all coaches.”
For his part, coach Rodrigues said Holt has been an integral part of the team’s early success, and credits a good work ethic and attitude on the field and in the locker room.
“Being from the states, you always hear about these kids that are coming from overseas,” Rodrigues explained. “A lot of them have a great pedigree, but with that pedigree comes great ego. And a goalkeeper is kind of special — you have to be borderline nuts.”
“But Luke [Holt] is a true professional’s professional,” the coach said.
Rodrigues also credits Holt’s unique upbringing for making him the person he is today, noting his father’s status as a highly respected midfielder in the English and Scottish Premier Leagues.
“... Luke [Holt] comes with a family history and pedigree that not many kids have,” Rodrigues said. “He brings with him a level of professionalism, but he also has one of the best senses of humor on the team and of any kid I’ve coached in my entire career.”
At 20, Holt is a bit older than most of the crew, and he’s reveled in the opportunity to help the “young lads” progress.
“I’ve been around the block a little bit,” he said. “A lot of people are in the same boat — they’re a long way from home. So we all help each other.”
The Trappers are 2-1-1 on the season. Their latest was a 3-0 shutout of Gillette, highlighted by Holt’s save on a penalty kick in the game’s final seconds. NWC heads to Laramie Saturday for a conference matchup against Laramie County Community College, and Holt said he likes where the team stands at four games in.
“I think we’re playing excellent right now,” Holt said. “We’re on the ways up and we’re going to keep getting better. I think we have a real chance at winning conference. We’re the only ones that can stop ourselves, really.”