The NWSL announced today that the annual civically focused Nationwide Community Impact Award would now be known as the Lauren Holiday Award in honor of the National Soccer Hall of Famer.

Since 2021, the award has recognized one NWSL player each season for their character and contributions to community service off the pitch, according to a league release. The winner of the newly retitled award receives $30,000 toward a charitable organization of their choice.

"The NWSL is proud to honor Lauren Holiday as the namesake of this award recognizing exemplary athletes and their commitment to service and activism," said NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman. "Lauren’s influential work in the community and her outstanding character both on and off the field epitomize the values we look to uphold and celebrate in the NWSL every day. 

"I can think of no one more deserving of this recognition than Lauren and look forward to seeing the continued positive impact this program has on our clubs and communities with her example guiding our efforts."

In a statement, Holiday said that throughout her career she has always "believed in the power of giving back and creating positive change." A two-time Olympic gold medalist, World Cup winner, and former NWSL MVP, Holiday founded the Jrue & Lauren Holiday Social Impact Fund alongside husband and fellow professional athlete JRue Holiday.

The fund contributes to programs that combat systemic racism and socioeconomic inequality. Holiday has also long been an advocate for legislation to help close the racial inequality gap in maternal health.

"This award is a testament to the important work that athletes are doing to strengthen and uplift their communities every day and I am deeply humbled to take on its namesake," Holiday said. "I hope it inspires others to continue their efforts in making a lasting impact on the lives of those around them."

During her U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame induction on Saturday, USWNT legend Lauren Holiday recounted the “hardest thing” she ever went through.

While pregnant with her daughter in 2016, Holiday — who retired from soccer one year earlier — learned that she would need brain surgery in order to remove a tumor.

“Unlike the toughest moments I had endured in sports, I couldn’t work or train my way out of it,” an emotional Holiday said during her Hall of Fame induction speech. “I had to come to terms with the fact that I couldn’t outrun the fear of leaving my family too soon.”

Holiday, who won two Olympic gold medals and one World Cup title during her USWNT career, went on to explain her realization that soccer had prepared her for the unbearable feeling of waiting for her surgery.

“When I would run fitness, I would figure out the exact timing I would need to accomplish my goal. I would tell myself while running, ‘You can do anything for a minute. You can do anything for two minutes.’ Hell, on the beep test, you can do anything for 12 minutes, but you got to get to level 20.”

Holiday said she broke up the waiting — first for her daughter’s birth, and then for her brain surgery — with the belief that she just had to get through the next hour, or the next 10 minutes.

“I would repeat Psalm 30, verse 5: there may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning. And each time I repeated this to myself, I found the strength to keep going.”

You can read more about this year’s U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame inductees here.

The National Soccer Hall of Fame induction ceremony is upon us, with some of the best and brightest from the U.S. women’s national team set to be inducted.

Two-time World Cup champion coach Jill Ellis is set to be inducted Saturday at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, as are former USWNT players Kate Markgraf, Lauren Holiday and Hope Solo. On the men’s side, former players DaMarcus Beasley, Landon Donovan, and Slavisa “Steve” Zungul will be honored.

Jill Ellis

The winningest USWNT coach of all time, Jill Ellis helmed the team from 2014-19. She became the first coach to win two women’s World Cups, and she did so in back-to-back cycles, leading the USWNT to titles in 2015 and 2019.

She’s also a two-time FIFA Women’s Coach of the Year winner. 

Lauren Cheney Holiday

A member of the 2015 World Cup-winning team, Lauren Holiday is set to be the first member of that squad to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The USWNT great made 133 appearances for her country and also excelled as a member of the NWSL, winning MVP and Golden Boot in 2013 as well as back-to-back championships with FC Kansas City in 2014 and 2015. Holiday is also a two-time Olympic gold medalist. 

Kate Sobrero Markgraf

USWNT general manager Kate Markgraf is to be inducted into the Hall of Fame after having played for the team in 201 matches.

She’s one of just 13 American female players to record 200 or more caps. She becomes the final starter from the 1999 World Cup-winning team to be elected to the Hall of Fame and is also a two-time Olympic gold medalist.

Hope Solo

Former USWNT goalkeeper Hope Solo deferred her induction from 2022 after being arrested for impaired driving with her two children in the car, which she has described as “the biggest mistake” of her life.

In her 16 years with the USWNT, she helped the team to a 2015 World Cup and two Olympic gold medals.