Legend Update: Lauren Holiday Visits FCKC Practice
Having visitors to FC Kansas City practice is not uncommon for Vlatko Andonovski. Today’s visitors were a little special though. Former FCKC and USWNT star Lauren Holiday was a surprise spectator. She wasn’t watching alone, as she was surrounded by her daughter Jrue, Sydney Leroux’s son Cassius and Amy Rodriguez’s son Luke.
“Really, I didn’t watch practice at all, there were too many babies,” said Holiday. “I don’t think I saw even one minute of practice.”
Andonovski didn’t mind his VIP guests at all.
“It’s fun to be around. I don’t mind having them around while the ladies are practicing. I would rather have them there and have the players feel comfortable knowing that the kids are here and that’s the environment we have here…you know, we’re family. The babies are part of the family. The players are helping each other out. They watch the babies, you know, they play with them. It’s good, it’s a fun environment.”
Holiday arrived with the practice already in full swing. The team worked through their normal routine and the progressions of Andonvoski’s drills. One by one, the players started to notice their audience. As they did, a noticeable increase in the energy became apparent.
“Just having her around is inspirational,” said Andonovski. “You know everything that she went through. She’s full of enthusiasm and energy.”
The entire team was happy to see their former captain. Following the end of the training session, Holiday was mobbed by her old teammates, while players who only joined the team last year and this year’s class of rookies lined up to introduce themselves to the legend.
Andonovski loved having the crowd and enjoyed seeing his players interact with their extended Blues family.
“You know, that’s what is good about this team. It is a relaxed professional environment. They know and they can separate business from pleasure. When it’s time to play with the babies they play with the babies. When it’s time to work, they kick each other’s butt…that’s all that you can ask for.”
Holiday retired following the 2015 NWSL season to start a family with her husband, NBA player Jrue Holiday. The couple announced shortly after that they were expecting their first baby. During the pregnancy, it was discovered that Holiday had a benign tumor that would need to be removed after she gave birth.
In September, little Jrue Tyler Holiday was born and the next month Lauren underwent successful surgery to have the tumor removed. Since then she has worked hard towards recovery while savoring every moment with her family.
“Oh, it’s the greatest, it really is. Everyone says your whole life changes and it really does. It doesn’t matter if you only get three hours of sleep, you wake up happy. It’s been awesome. She’s been such a bright spot with everything that’s been going on in my life so, it’s been awesome.”
She added, “I’m doing really well. I feel good. I obviously have some healing left to do, but I feel good. I feel a lot more like myself than I did a month ago, so as long as there’s progress, I think that’s good.”
Lightning in the area forced Andonovski to cut FC Kansas City’s practice a little short this morning. As he ushered the team off the field and into the field house, he reminded players to make sure to take everything inside with them.
“Grab the babies, don’t forget to take the babies with us!”