At three-years-old, Lauren Holiday had open heart surgery. She was playing GI Joes with her brother when she went off to surgery – “I remember my brother told me we’d finish when I got home, even though he knew I wouldn’t be home for a long time.”
During post-op, doctors had a difficult time slowing her down. As she puts it, “I’ve never been a good ‘rester’ – I still don’t rest.” The hospital kept a red wagon on hand so that adults could pull kids along for a ride, but Lauren had different ideas. “I didn’t want a ride, I wanted to pull it,” said Holiday. “The doctors were like, ‘Lauren, what did we just do to you – you just had open heart surgery.”
The whole taking-it-easy thing didn’t go much better at home. “I tried to get her to read books, and do puzzles, but I couldn’t keep her from going outside to play with her brother. I’d hide the bikes, hide the squirt guns, but there was no stopping her,” says Lauren’s mother.
Lauren’s brother was six years older and she wanted to do whatever he did. “We were out there playing tackle football not long after my surgery; my mom was horrified,” laughs Holiday.
“I wanted to be everything my brother was, I always wanted to follow him around,” says Holiday. If he was playing a sport, so was Lauren. Her brother always picked her for his team.
He remembers one game when he was 14 or 15, she was eight or nine. “One of the other kids caught a pass and she was right there. She put her shoulder in his gut, put him on his back,” said Aaron Cheney. “She was never afraid of anything. I knew she’d always be okay – she was never going to have any trouble taking on any challenge thrown at her.”
In July 2013, Lauren married Jrue Holiday, a point guard for the New Orleans Pelicans. While they undoubtedly share a competitive streak – the wedding weekend dress rehearsal BBQ morphed into an intense pickup basketball game – they also see their relationship as a kind of safe zone away from the intensity that defines their careers. “What I like about our relationship is that it’s neutral territory. I don’t have to talk about soccer. Soccer’s not in my house, basketball’s not in my house, unless one of us is playing a game,” says Holiday. “But he still understands what it feels like to lose, or not play well, and he can give me the support I need without it dominating our lives.”
U.S. National Team: One of the USA’s most versatile players over the past four years, she has become a key player in the U.S. attack … Tremendously strong and one of the USA’s best with her back to the goal, she has also shown to be an adept passer and scorer when facing the net … The former Lauren Cheney started using her married name on the back of her jersey during the inaugural NWSL season and in the fall of 2013 with the U.S. WNT.
- 2015 Women’s World Cup Champion
- Scored game-winning goal in 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final
- Silver Medal 2011 Women’s World Cup
- Scored twice at the 2011 Women’s World Cup, including the first goal in the semifinal
- Gold Medal 2012 Olympics
- Gold Medal 2008 Olympics
- Did not play in the first three matches of the 2008 Olympics, but then came off the bench in the final three games to contribute some vitally important minutes, and played a part in the movement that led to the game-winning goal in the Olympic gold medal game
- 2014 U.S. U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year
- 2007 U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year
- 2011 Women’s World Cup All-Star Team
- 37 assists – 10th all-time
- Career high for games in a calendar year: 31 in 2012
- Career high for starts in a calendar year: 24 in 2012
- Career high for minutes in a calendar year: 2,131 in 2012
- Career high for goals in a calendar year: 7 in 2010
- Career high for assists in a calendar year: 11 in 2012
- Earned first WNT cap at the age of 20
- Assisted on Abby Wambach’s first two goals in her four-goal performance on June 20, 2013, against the Korea Republic, setting up goal No. 157 and No. 158 that tied Mia Hamm’s world all-time international scoring record
- At the 2011 Algarve Cup, she scored in three out of the four matches while totaling four goals, including the game-winner in the 3-2 championship game victory against Germany
- A member of the U.S. team at the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Russia, she ended her U-20 career with 15 goals in 20 U-20 international matches, which included the Pan Am Games in 2007, where she scored six goals
- Had four U-21 caps and two goals
Professional / Club – 2014: Was named NWSL Championship Game MVP after providing both assists for teammate Amy Rodriguez’s goals to clinch FCKC’s first NWSL title after a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Reign … Also scored a goal during FC Kansas City 2-0 victory over Portland Thorns FC in the semifinals and was Named to the NWSL Best XI First Team … Appeared and started in 21 matches during the regular season to help FCKC to a runner-up finish, a 12-7-5 overall record and a spot in the playoffs … Scored a team second-best eight goals and recorded a team-leading seven assists during the regular season … 2013: Allocated to FC Kansas City for the inaugural NWSL campaign and had a fantastic season, leading the NWSL in goals (12) and assists (9) and was named MVP of the league … Played every minute of all 18 games she started … Also named to the NWSL Best XI and led FCKC to a second place finish in the regular season and a berth in the playoffs … Finished fourth in the league in shots (63), just two behind second place Megan Rapinoe … Was also fourth in shots on goal (31) … 2011: Played 764 minutes in nine games for the Boston Breakers, scoring three goals during the regular season, including two in the season finale, a 2-0 victory over New Jersey to put the Breakers into the playoffs … 2010: The first round pick of the Breakers and second overall player taken in the 2010 WPS Draft … Played in 23 games for Boston in 2010, starting 21, and scored five goals with two assists … Helped Boston to a playoff berth and scored her team’s lone goal in the playoff match … Named as a starter in the WPS All-Star Game … 2009: Signed to play with the Pali Blues of the USL W-League in the summer of 2009 … Youth: Played on boys’ teams from the age of six until 12, before moving to Carmel United Heat … Won five state championships with the Heat.