Hey, I’m Carli Lloyd
I grew up in Delran, NJ and I stated playing soccer at the age of 5. I was your typical tomboy growing up, playing any and all sports. Our neighborhood consisted of many kids all of whom loved to be outside. I played roller hockey, football, basketball, softball, soccer, volleyball and swimming. I loved being outside. I would come home form school, drop my book bag and immediately change into my athletic clothes and go outside.
My parents had an easy decision to make when it came to what sport I liked best. There was no question it was soccer. Everywhere I went I brought a soccer ball with me. I loved it. The ball was my life. My younger siblings and I used to play in our long hallway upstairs with a soft ball and I had no mercy on them. I wanted nothing but to win, it didn't matter who you were.
Life was easy when I was a child. There was no social media, no pressure to live up to certain standards. It was just me and the ball. I used to walk from my house to the local field named after Peter Vermes and take thousands of shots. I also would hop in with boys who were playing pick up. My competitiveness and passion drove me.
I eventually left my town team and went to play for the Medford Strikers. We went on to win two state championships. It was some of the best memories I have had in my career.
Playing High School ball at Delran gave me the confidence I needed to go on to play for Rutgers University. My next goal was to play for the full women's national team.
Life was all good until I realized that playing with some of the best players on the Under-21 national team was a huge wake up call.
I was cut from the Under 21 Women’s National Soccer Team in 2002 and I realized things weren’t as simple and straightforward as they seemed.
I was devastated; I wanted to quit soccer for good. At that point, I was planning to get a ‘real’ job and move on with a normal life. But, life always takes a crazy turn when you expect it the least.
My whole life changed in a parking lot when my dad approached a guy named James who was working with my brothers team. He gave my dad his business card and told him to have me reach out. When my dad came back home and talked to me about James, I was adamant about quitting and nothing was going to change my mind.
At that point in my life, I had no idea how to persevere through a challenging situation and understand how to be a pro. I never had to. When it was just me, alone with my thoughts, something hit me - The sport I loved playing my whole life was slipping by, and I couldn’t let that happen.
I had one dream.
I was thinking about it day and night before I even knew what it meant.
I had the dream before the ’99 USWNT rocked the world. It was all about this connection I had with the ball. It was all about that one dream. It took me two full weeks, in constant thought and emotional turmoil, before I finally called him.
All of that; the fame, the glory, the dream… it had to come at a great cost. It would require my full dedication, no matter the circumstances in my personal life. If I was asked to train late at night, I’d have to drop everything and make my way to the field.
Dedication and commitment to soccer became my priority ahead of everything else in my life, and I had some important sacrifices to make.
I had to be 100% in, 100% of the time.
There was no other way to become the best player in the world. In 2003, the training began.
Over the years, my confidence in myself and my abilities only grew stronger.
Throughout every obstacle in my journey or moment of doubt that I've had in my career, it made me hungrier to achieve more.
I learned how to get out of my own head and focus on what I can control.
Doing whatever it takes to get the job done.
When I look at all the moments of joy and hardship, and I think about the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the Olympic Games, it reminds me of why I persevered through the trials along the way...
Why I stayed on the soccer field long after practice at night.
Why I trained on holidays and in the snow.
Why I trained twice, even three times a day.
Why I sacrificed everything in my personal life...husband, family and friends.
Why I woke up early in the morning to get a workout in before the ‘normal’ day started.
Why I lived, breathed, and did everything around soccer and always tried to achieve more.
All of this made me into who I am both on and off the field.
Ultimately, it hasn’t been an easy road by any means. But, without the continuous support of my family, closest friends and the ones who have genuinely been there for me since the beginning, I wouldn’t have been able to go on, do all that I’ve done, and grow.
I am thankful to have them in my life.
And what now?
This is what I’m doing. I enjoy every moment and look forward to the next challenge that I will embrace.
There are still a few chapters left in this story, and it’s up to me to decide how that story is going to end.
I am still learning and improving every day, and I’ll always be hungry for more.
As I move toward the next chapter in my life, I am looking forward to being able to give back and encourage people to help emulate that drive to become the best version of themselves.
If you want to learn more about me, I’ve detailed my journey to the top and all of the lessons learned along the way in my book,
My Top Achievements
- Women's Player of the Decade, voted by Fox Soccer Fans
- Two-Time FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion (2015, 2019)
- Became the first player to score in six straight Women's World Cup games
- Two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist (2008, 2012)
- FA Cup Champion (Manchester City Women) (2017)
- Inductee to New Jersey Hall of Fame (2017)
- Three-Time Olympian (2008, 2012, 2016)
- FIFA World Player of the Year (2016)
- Nominee for ESPY Award for Best Championship Performance (2016)
- FIFA FIFPro World XI (2016)
- FIFA Women’s World Cup Golden Ball (2015)
- FIFA Women’s World Cup Silver Boot (2015)
- FIFA Women’s World Cup All-Star Team (2015)
- FIFA Women’s World Cup Goal of the Tournament (2015)
- FIFA World Player of the Year (2015)
- U.S. Soccer Player of the Year (2015)
- Became the first player in FIFA Women’s World Cup to Score a Hat Trick in a Final (2015)
- CONCACAF Goal of the Year (2015)
- CONCACAF Women’s Player of the Year (2015)
- March of Dimes Foundation Sportswoman of the Year (2015)
- Women’s Sports Foundation Sportswoman of the year (2015)
- First Player in WNT History to Score in Four Straight World Cup Games (2015)
- CONCACAF Women’s Championship MVP (2014)
- Rutgers University Hall of Distinguished Alumni (2013)
- Bleacher Report Top 100 Athletes of (2012)
- Glamour Women of the Year (2012)
- FIFA World Player of the Year Shortlist (2012)
- Candidate for U.S. Soccer Player of the Year (2012)
- NJ Youth Soccer Hall of Fame (2012)
- NJ Sportswriters Woman of the Year (2012)
- U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year (2008)
- Algarve Cup MVP & Top Goal Scorer (2007)
The Chapters of my Life
- Born on July 16, 1982
- Went to Delran High School (1997-2001)
- Went to Rutgers University (2001-2004); Graduated in 2005 with a degree in Exercise Science and Sports Studies
- Previously played for the Chicago Red Stars, Sky Blue FC, and Atlanta
- Beat in Women's Professional Soccer (WPS). In 2013, I was allocated to the Western New York Flash for the inaugural season of the NWSL and helped my team win the regular season championship. After two seasons with the Flash, I was traded to Houston Dash prior to the 2015 season and then to Sky Blue before the 2018 season
- Played for US Women’s U-21 National Team (2002-2005)
- Playing for US Women’s National Team (2005 - present)
- Married to my high school sweetheart Brian Hollins (2016)
- Published my NY Times best seller memoir “When Nobody Was Watching.” (September 2016)
- Named Member and co-Chair of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition by President Barack Obama (2016)