The IX Carli Lloyd appreciation edition
What sets Lloyd apart is her sheer focus and determination. We all saw it leading into the Olympics how focused she was on making the team, and then going out in style. She and Megan Rapinoe each scored twice in the bronze medal match against Australia.
I’ve said it before, but I wish I had even half of Lloyd’s drive.
“You all see the first 10 minutes of a training session the day before a game, you watch us play 90 minute games once or twice a month. But you don’t see everything that goes into this behind the scenes, having to be your ultimate best every single day. Having to evolve under different coaches, in different positions, in different areas of the game. It is so, so hard to be here, and we all have had different journeys, different stories but I think what makes people great on this team, what makes great athletes great in their respective sports, is how hard their journey is. And you have to really just embrace it and be able to persevere through anything that’s thrown your way.”
CARLI LLOYD: COMPETITOR, WINNER, LEGEND
Consider that between the time she debuted for the USA (six days before her 23rd birthday) and her 30th birthday, Lloyd scored 36 international goals. Since turning 30, she has scored a remarkable 98 goals in 179 games over a span of a little less than nine and-a-half years.
No player in the history of international soccer has scored more goals after her 30th birthday than Lloyd.
Only 17 female players are credited with scoring 100 or more international goals. If Lloyd can average a goal per game over her last two international matches, she would hit 100 goals scored AFTER THE AGE OF 30, and that might be one of the more remarkable achievements of her legendary career.
Lloyd is the oldest player ever to score a goal for the USA and has reset the record with every score. Her most recent goal – against Paraguay on Sept. 21 -- came when was she was 39-years-and-67-days-old.
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.