But they never expected he would go on to be a player worth millions of pounds to an English Premier League club.
Holt made news last week, when A-League club Melbourne Heart unsuccessfully attempted to recruit the Norwich City striker for the 2013-14 season.
Heart could not foot Norwich’s estimated two million pound ($3.2 million) asking price for the Canaries’ Hall of Fame member.
Sorrento secretary Kerry Slater recalled Holt being a class above the State league when then-coach Trevor Morgan lured him to the Gulls 12 years ago.
After seeing Holt ‘destroy defences’ in the WA competition, he could not understand why he wasn’t playing a higher standard of soccer in England’s Football League.
His instinct was correct with Holt lasting just half a season at Sorrento before joining Sengkang Marine in Singapore’s S.League.
The youngster caught the eye of Football League Division One side Sheffield Wednesday in 2002 and so began his English playing career. ‘Grant got his confidence back by playing here and in Singapore,’ Slater said. ‘He returned to England and because of his determination and focus he created ” and is having ” a great career.’
The 32-year-old, who captains Norwich, had requested to leave the club last year, but it rejected his request and signed him for another three seasons.
There had been whispers he could break contract during the upcoming English summer, which led to Melbourne’s recruiting attempt.
But Norwich manager Chris Hughton downplayed the talk.
‘Grant is a player who signed a new contract in the summer and he has two years left,’ he told media.
‘Anything you read or hear is speculation, because for me it is not an issue.’
Holt has played 80 Premier League matches and scored 23 goals for the Canaries since they earned promotion to the league in 2011.
He joined the side in 2009.