Lloyd’s Reign Comes to a Conclusion

Elijah Dale, Staff Reporter

As Carli Lloyd walked off the field for the final time, United States National Women’s Team (USWNT) jersey in hand, she left behind her legacy as one of the most influential soccer players in US history.

Lloyd has been playing soccer at the international level longer than most of our school’s students have been alive. Making her debut in July 2005, the legend made her mark on the USWNT over the last 16 years, setting countless records and winning dozens of awards.

Lloyd has the second most appearances in international women’s soccer games with a total of 315, and the third most goals scored for the USWNT with 134. The icon made herself a household name in the 2015 World Cup Final when she sealed a hat-trick from midfield in just 16 minutes, the first ever in a women’s World Cup Final. Additionally, in the 2021 Summer Olympics, Lloyd became the oldest women’s soccer player to score in an Olympic soccer match. She has won two World Cups, two Olympic gold medals and a bronze.

Her entire career, Lloyd has been preoccupied with perfection; her work ethic demonstrates as much. Yet, her intensity has been off-putting for many people.

“I know I’ve probably been misunderstood throughout the years by teammates, coaches, fans and just about everybody. But I’ve just tried to be my most authentic self — truthful, honest, raw,” Lloyd said in an interview with the Washington Post.

Early in her career, Lloyd gave off an impression of being arrogant and extreme, but towards the end of her career, she shifted her attitude towards becoming a role model for both young players and inexperienced members of the USWNT. Lloyd runs a training camp for young soccer players, where she says she is able to teach them not just about the physical skills required to play soccer, but the mental skills as well.

“It’s not all rosy. I’ve had struggles, I’ve had ups and downs. It’s the moments, the struggles [that] enable me to come back stronger and that’s the importance of these girls listening to me. I’m able to teach them how I persevered, how I’ve gotten through certain situations and never give up,” said Lloyd.

Now, retiring at 39 years old, the world champion is grateful to live her life without the constant pressure to perform.

“Throughout my career, I have just wanted to be the best soccer player I could be. I have often missed out on going to do things for fun. I am not missing out on anything now,” Lloyd said.

After prioritizing soccer over many of her personal relationships, leading to a rift between her and her family, she is excited to focus on repairing those strained connections.

“I think I was numb to it for many years and just (had) tunnel vision of not sort of letting it penetrate …. I think when we get older our thoughts change. My parents aren’t getting any younger, and life’s too short.” Lloyd said.

Over 16 years, Lloyd has cemented herself as one of the most important players in US soccer history, and her legacy as an intense player and strong role model will live on after she steps off the field.

“I am ready. And I think that that’s the beauty and kind of, you know, getting to this next step is knowing I gave it everything I had. I have no regrets,” Lloyd said.