USWNT'S CARLI LLOYD LIGHTS UP SCOREBOARD WITH FIVE GOALS IN FIRST FAREWELL MATCH
The reality is the 39-year-old Lloyd is ready to walk away. She now has just three games left with the national team, beginning with Tuesday’s contest, also against the Paraguayans, in Cincinnati (7:30 p.m. ET, FS1 and the FOX Sports App).
She’ll then play a few more times for Gotham FC in her native New Jersey as the club closes out the NWSL season. Then that’s it. There won’t be a comeback. She’s not changing her mind.
"I think you just get to a point where you get tired of being away from home," she said. "I just want to live life."
U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM LEGEND CARLI LLOYD ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT
Lloyd, 39, ends an historic international career that began in July of 2005 (a few days before she turned 23) when she debuted against the Ukraine in Portland, Oregon. She currently has 312 caps, which is second all-time in U.S. and world history behind only Kristine Lilly (354). Lloyd is one of just four international soccer players to play 300 or more times for her country.
“I would like to thank U.S. Soccer for helping to provide the opportunities and memories that will last a lifetime. I am forever grateful to have represented the crest and to be able to play for my country for the last 17 years,” said Lloyd. “I will continue to support and cheer this team on and continue to find ways to help grow the game and inspire the next generation.
“To end my career knowing my family was able to be by my side and share this last chapter with me could not have been any more special. We will all have a lot more time to spend together now, and especially with my husband Brian, who has been my rock and biggest support system for all these years. We are both looking forward to starting this next chapter of our lives without my everyday grind of training and playing, but I will most likely need to another outlet for my competitiveness! Perhaps that will be golf?”
Through her 312 caps to date, the USA has an overall record of 257-17-38, a winning percentage of 88%. She appeared for the USA in three different decades, at four World Cups and in four Olympic Games. She played in 25 World Cup matches and 22 Olympic matches, passing Kristine Lilly for the most games played for a USWNT player in world championship events. She has started 239 of her 312 caps, coming off the bench 73 times, and served as team captain in the latter part of her career.
Carli Lloyd Was A Self-Contained Superstar
Her career spanned the USWNT tenures of four different coaches, two different American professional leagues, and seven different club environments. Her defining feature as a competitor was an uncanny ability for picking her moments. In 2015, pre-World Cup final hat trick, she was described by Kim McCauley as "the weirdest world class professional athlete ever.” Sometimes Lloyd looked like she was coasting in meaningless friendlies, wandering in and out of dangerous spaces and disappearing into the midfield as different teammates took their time in the spotlight. But then, like clockwork, when the moment called for a big goal in a big game, Lloyd would be exactly where she was needed.
She scored game-winners in two tightly contested Olympic gold medal matches, one early in extra time against Brazil in 2008, and a brace in regulation against Japan in 2012. Her hat trick in the 2015 World Cup final provided a cushion for Lauren Holiday’s game-winning goal, and the goals themselves were iconic as much for their audacity and vision as for their competitive importance. There will never be a moment again quite like her half-field dagger in that game—the growing parity in the global game won’t allow it—and it will remain the stuff of legend forever.
Nobody Went After It More Than Carli Lloyd
Carli Lloyd's upcoming retirement means 'Mrs. Hollins' can go out into the world
That’s all well and good, except Lloyd doesn’t do things every other normal human does. Only one human has ever played more international soccer games for their country than Lloyd’s 312. Only three humans have ever scored more than her 128 international goals. Just one United States Women’s National Team player has matched Lloyd’s eight career hat tricks.
And no human has scored more goals after the age of 30 than Lloyd has. In fact, since the day she turned 30, no player anywhere in the world has scored as many goals as Lloyd.
The secret to Carli Lloyd’s brilliant career? Her magnificent fury
That drive hadn’t gone away. Last year, she said she wouldn't have continued playing for the US if Jill Ellis, who demoted her to a supersub role in the team’s victorious campaign at the 2019 World Cup, had remained as coach. This year, she launched some barbs at one of the most experienced women’s soccer journalists in the US, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jonathan Tannenwald, after the “hometown dude” dared to express some doubt that Lloyd would make the 18-player Olympic roster.
That wasn’t Lloyd’s first run-in with the media. After the 2016 Olympics, she refused to answer questions until the Houston Chronicle’s Corey Roepken, who had questioned why she had taken more time off than expected between playing in the Games and returning to the Houston Dash, was dismissed from the assembled group of reporters. Her reputation for blocking people on Twitter was captured in a "WoSo World Bingo" meme.
Lloyd has always insisted on doing things her own way, even to the point of fraying relationships. She spent much of her career with Australian personal coach James Galanis, who encouraged her to play with a chip on her shoulder and even helped her find adversaries whose enmity, real or exaggerated, could motivate her. That relationship contributed to a rift with her family that lasted through the peak of her career.
USWNT'S CARLI LLOYD RETIRING AS THE MOST CLUTCH INTERNATIONAL PLAYER EVER
Lloyd — who announced her retirement at age 39 on Monday, less than two weeks after she helped the USWNT to a bronze medal at the Tokyo Games — was rarely the face of the U.S. squad during her glittering, 17-year run with the national team.
But her career is second to none. And when it comes to big-game players, Lloyd is easily the most clutch international player of all time.
Lloyd didn’t score for the U.S. until more than a year after she joined the senior squad in 2005. But after she started scoring, she never stopped. Her two strikes in that Aug. 5 bronze-medal match were Nos. 127 and 128, pulling the scrappy forward-midfielder from the New Jersey side of Philadelphia’s suburbs into a tie with Prinz for fifth on the all-time list.
Lloyd will add to her 312 appearances, the second-most in history behind Lilly, when she suits up in red, white and blue a few final times in to-be-announced friendlies this fall. She’s one of just four players to break the 300-cap mark.
Legend Carli Lloyd calls it a career: USWNT will struggle to find another soccer player like her
Lloyd had been dropping hints into her interviews about the price of playing soccer at an elite level up to and beyond her 39th birthday. She talked about the sacrifices made by those around her, most notably her husband of five years, Brian Hollins, and how it was time simply to experience another sort of life. And still there were many in the soccer media who contended Lloyd never would consent to leaving the national team by choice.
She had displayed such insistence about her place in the game, on the USWNT, in these final few years that it was reasonable to assume she lacked the ability to shut it down. But she will finish this season with NJ/NY Gotham FC of the NWSL and play four fall friendly games with the USWNT, and that will be it.