Soccer

A Life-Threatening Brain Tumor Led Lauren Holiday to Retire From a Championship Soccer Career

World-class athletes sometimes feel as if nothing can hurt them. After all, if you’re in elite shape and can do things other humans only dream of, you may feel unbreakable. Former U.S. women’s soccer player Lauren Holiday was at the top of her game when she found out otherwise after winning the 2015 World Cup. Holiday retired and then later found out she had a brain tumor.

This was obviously sad for her soccer career, but Holiday’s still able to pursue a fulfilling life outside her sport. Let’s take a closer look at her career, what ended it, and what she’s up to after retirement. 

Lauren Holiday’s soccer career

Lauren Holiday (R) and daughter J.T. Holiday smile during the 2020 NBA Summer League
Lauren Holiday (R) and daughter J.T. Holiday smile during the 2020 NBA Summer League | Cassy Athena/Getty Images

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Holiday had a great soccer career, becoming the most successful athlete in her family. That’s impressive when you realize the fact that her husband is NBA player Jrue Holiday. According to NBC Sports, Holiday won two Olympic gold medals. She also won the National Women’s Soccer League MVP Award in 2013. After being part of the U.S. team that won the 2015 World Cup, she called it a career, saying: 

“I’ve been praying about it for a couple years now and really just this last year, it was so clear to me … I had so much clarity about it. I knew that I wanted to give my all to the World Cup. I wanted to be able to say that I gave it my all to fulfill the final dream of winning the World Cup and I feel like I did that.

Even if we wouldn’t have won, I felt very comfortable in my decision. I feel like God had led me to that decision, so I was ready either way.”

The major scare Lauren Holiday suffered from

After retiring, Holiday’s life took a major (and scary) turn when she suffered a brain tumor while she was pregnant, according to Oregon Live. It was such a shock that it caused her husband Jrue to take a break from basketball for a while to support her. She had the tumor removed after giving birth in 2016. 

While Holiday has recovered, it did come after her decision to retire from her career as a soccer player. It was an unfortunate ending to an otherwise great career, but Holiday can rest easy knowing she’s one of the most accomplished players in U.S. soccer history. She also prioritized her health above all else, which is a positive. 

Lauren Holiday’s life post-retirement

Holiday’s competitive soccer career is at an end. She’s been out of the game for several years and even watched some of her former teammates take home yet another World Cup in the summer of 2019. So what is Holiday up to now? Enjoying life with her family.

The Holidays have a beautiful young daughter to raise, and she says that’s what gives her strength: “Every time I see this smile I’m reminded that joy does come in the morning…Maybe not the next day, maybe not even the next month but it comes.”

She also supports her husband Jrue in his attempt to win an NBA championship. That dream moved even closer to reality when he was traded from the New Orleans Pelicans to the Milwaukee Bucks, a title contender. He’ll now play alongside superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. It’s not certain whether Jrue will be able to take home an NBA championship ring just yet, but if he does he’ll have his wife beside him in full support. 

Holiday’s soccer career may be over, but she has plenty to look forward to.