A statement goal from Carli Lloyd likely punched her ticket to the Olympics
Some things about Lloyd haven’t changed, including an internal fire fueled by critical fans and media. It burned as brightly as ever Sunday night.
“I literally haven’t switched off for 17, 18 years — it’s been hard-core craziness,” she said. “I’m sure my husband and friends and family are going to be excited when I’m done playing, because I’ll actually get to do things, but it’s been all worth it to me. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, I don’t have any regrets.”
It’s an essential part of her nature that she has, as she put it, “done everything possible to continue to play to this point.”
And it’s pretty clear that she won’t let up any time soon, especially if she gets a ticket to Tokyo in a few days.
Carli Lloyd, 38, becomes oldest player to score for USWNT
At 38 years and 332 days old, Lloyd took over a record previously held by Kristine Lilly. Her goal was also the second-fastest in USWNT history.
In April, Lloyd became the third player in the history of men's and women's international soccer to earn her 300th cap in the USWNT's 1-1 draw against Sweden.
DON’T COUNT HER OUT: A focused Lloyd, 38, is out to prove to her critics that she still has plenty left in her tank
And now in her 39th year, Lloyd is out to prove her critics and skeptics wrong as she prepares for her fourth Olympics. Well, she hasn’t been selected just yet, but it likely will be difficult for Vlatko Andonovski not to put her on the 18-player roster for the Tokyo Summer Games.
She’s one tough cookie who is focused on winning a third gold medal, demonstrating so in the USWNT’s 4-0 win over Jamaica in the Summer Series Sunday night, scoring the second fastest goal (23 seconds) in team history and becoming the oldest player to find the net (38 years, 332 days), breaking Kristine Lilly’s record.
U.S. SOCCER GREAT CARLI LLOYD REMAINS ‘GOAL’-FOCUSED FOR TOKYO OLYMPICS
The soccer supremo has also started working with expert trainer, Chris Halladay. “He introduced me to a new type of training that is a neurological-based physics approach, to help with sports performance and movements,” says Lloyd. “Since I started training with Chris back in November 2020, I’ve never moved better. I’m more explosive than I have ever been, and stronger than I was before my injury. It’s played a huge factor in my game at the age of 38.”
As a player, she understands that staying on top means constantly pushing herself. “I have always tried to continue to break barriers with my fitness to become the best that I can be,” says Lloyd. “As I have gotten older, I have valued this even more so I can be as efficient as possible. I’ve found that throughout my career, bodyweight exercises, plyometrics, and soccer specific-fitness has helped me feel my best and contribute to the career longevity I have had.”
Carli Lloyd accomplished a feat so rare only 3 soccer players have ever pulled it off, but USWNT legend Abby Wambach wasn't surprised
From early on, she said, Lloyd's unrivaled commitment to her craft was apparent. It's no wonder, then, that the prolific forward is still bolstering the USWNT's dynamic offense, two World Cup victories, two Olympic gold medals, and 16 years later.
"I've seen her from the beginning grow into this professional player," Wambach said. "When she turns her professionalism on, she has never looked back. That is why she is still a player. That is why she is still playing soccer for 300 caps."
USWNT’s Carli Lloyd Set To Become Third-Ever Player To Make 300 International Appearances
Carli Lloyd on 2020: Worst of times, best of times as soccer star reunites with family
If Lloyd plays in that game, she’ll join former teammates Kristine Lilly and Christie Rampone (née Pearce) as the third player to appear in 300 international games. But the real milestone achievement will come afterward, when she receives calls and messages of congratulations from relatives she wasn’t talking to just a few months ago.
Lloyd entered 2020 having gone a dozen years without speaking to her parents and brother, a rift she wrote about in her 2016 book “When Nobody Was Watching: My Hard-Fought Journey to the Top of the Soccer World.”
Opinion: Carli Lloyd keeps on grinding after injury because that's what Carli Lloyd does
Cut from the Under-21 team in 2003, Lloyd has spent the rest of her career outworking, out-training, out-intensifying everyone. Which is no small thing on a team that has won the last two World Cups and boasts so much talent that those left off coach Vlatko Andonovski’s roster for the Tokyo Olympics could probably contend for a medal, too.
“She’s coming off a knee scope and playing 90 minutes. I think that’s incredible,” Andonovski said. “It was just a good example for some of the younger players in terms of what it takes to be on the next level.”