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USWNT great Lauren Holiday named to National Soccer HOF

(Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)

Lauren Holiday, who won the 2015 World Cup with the U.S. women’s national team, will be inducted as the first member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023, the organization announced Tuesday.

The USWNT great made 133 appearances for her country. She also excelled as a professional player, winning the NWSL MVP and Golden Boot awards in 2013 and then leading FC Kansas City to back-to-back championships in 2014 and 2015.

“I don’t know if I have the words to express what kind of player she is,” current USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski told the Kansas City Star when he was head coach of FC Kansas City in 2015. “She’s a magician. … All the players around her, she makes them better.”

Holiday’s husband, Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday, and her mother, Rita Cheney, surprised her with the news of her selection Tuesday.

Holiday started her USWNT career in 2007, the same year she earned Young Female Athlete of the Year honors from U.S. Soccer. In 2008, she made the Olympic roster in place of an injured Abby Wambach, and she played three matches en route to the gold medal.

She went on to win another Olympic gold medal and the 2015 World Cup. She scored a goal in the USWNT’s 5-2 win over Japan in the 2015 World Cup final, then retired the next day.

“I know this is where I was supposed to be for so many years, and I know that I gave my all to soccer, to the sport, to this team,” she told Sports Illustrated at the time.

The National Soccer Hall of Fame will induct Holiday and the rest of its 2023 class, still to be announced, at a May 6 ceremony in Frisco, Texas.