courtesy Wikipedia

Carli Lloyd ends soccer career on high note

Sports writer Callie Hummel looks back at Lloyd’s career and her next steps.

Four World Cups, four Olympic tournaments, fifth in scoring in the all-time world history with 134 career goals, 64 assists, two-time FIFA Women’s Soccer Player of the Year awards and two-time U.S. Female Soccer Player of the Year.

Carli Lloyd grew up playing peewee soccer in New Jersey like any other kid. However, as she got older, she continued her passion until becoming one of the most well-known soccer players in the country for the United States Women’s National Team. After 13 years playing for the USWNT, Lloyd announced she will be retiring after a series of international friendlies.

Even though Lloyd premiered in her USWNT game against Ukraine in 2005 at 23 years old, she didn’t become the well-known player she is now until at least six years later at 30 years old.

In 2011, Lloyd was one of the five shooters in the World Cup final against Japan that ended in penalty kicks. Her kick went high over the crossbar and was one of the reasons Japan took the lead and won the World Cup, the United States coming in second.

Although the kick landed her a spot on the bench, it seemed to light a passion inside of Lloyd to prove herself again. Benched at the beginning of the next major tournament, the 2012 Olympics, a fellow teammate went down with an injury in the first match, putting Lloyd back on the field. Lloyd never ended up coming off the field that tournament, scoring two goals in the finals to win the USWNT gold against Australia.

From that tournament on, Lloyd solidified her starting spot on the team and continued to prove her importance to the team. She increasingly became a house-hold name, especially after her performance in the 2015 World Cup. In the final game against Japan, Lloyd scored three goals and broke the record for the fastest hat trick in World Cup history. At the end of the World Cup tournament, she was given the Golden Ball, an award presented to the proclaimed most important player of the tournament.

Lloyd was also crowned the FIFA Women’s Soccer Player of the Year in 2015 and again the following year. Mia Hamm is the only other U.S. player to be given this
recognition two times, earning it in 2001 and 2002.

Both of these USWNT players succeeded in all aspects of the sport from fitness, offensive ball skills and defensive capabilities even though they were attacking players. Just as impressive is the mindset both Lloyd and Hamm kept throughout their years of playing—a laser focus on winning, and being the best player they can be no matter the circumstances. Their mindset towards soccer could be summed up in the title of Hamm’s book she wrote for herself at 10 years old, “Winners Never Quit.”

Prior to Lloyd’s final game, the team attended a Rolling Stones concert. Lloyd joked that she started doubting her decision to quit soccer at 39 after seeing Mick Jagger perform at 78 years old. However, she officially played her final game, a friendly against South Korea, on Oct. 26 and ended her career with a massive 6-0 win.

Lloyd announced that although she would no longer be playing for the team, she’d continue to support them in the background, and boost the sport in any way possible so that another young girl from New Jersey could get the opportunity to play soccer for the United States.

Post Author: Callie Hummel