Former U.S. soccer star Lauren Holiday, who is pregnant, has been diagnosed with a brain tumor, and her husband, New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday, is taking indefinite leave from the NBA club to care for her, the Pelicans said Sunday.
Lauren Holiday retired from soccer last year after helping the U.S. win Olympic gold medals in 2008 and 2012, and a FIFA Women's World Cup title in 2015, at which she scored the game-winning goal in the final.
The midfielder played in 133 games for the U.S. team, scoring 24 goals. She also played professionally in the NWSL, winning a championship with FC Kansas City in 2015.
Jrue Holiday told the Times-Picayune/NOLA.com, which first reported Lauren Holiday's condition, that their baby is due in mid-October but could be induced early, and that Lauren will have brain surgery about six weeks later.
She underwent heart surgery at three years old, according to U.S. Soccer. The official U.S. women's soccer team Twitter account wished Holliday the best, and her fans were leaving supportive messages on her most recent Instagram posts.
Pelicans general manager Dell Demps says he's encouraging Jrue Holiday to take as much time away as he needs.
"My family comes before basketball," said Holiday, 26. "I'm obviously blessed to play this game and be in the position I am in, but my wife is the most important thing in the world to me. She comes before anything else."
For the time being, the couple plan to reside Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, near the Duke University medical specialists who'll handle Lauren Holiday's surgery. After Lauren's operation, Jrue will be a primary caretaker for both his wife and newborn. The Pelicans said they plan to send a trainer to North Carolina to help Jrue maintain his fitness and basketball skills during his absence.
The couple met at UCLA, where she played soccer and he played point guard for one season before being drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2009. He played for Philadelphia for four seasons before he was traded to the Pelicans in 2013.