Carli Lloyd, a soccer legend and one of the greatest players in the history of the U.S. women’s national team, announced on Monday that she’s calling it a career.
Lloyd, 39, will play in four soon-to-be announced friendly matches this fall, which will serve as the capper to her storied USWNT career. She’ll then finish the season with NJ/NY Gotham FC, ending her 12-year professional career.
“When I first started out with the National Team in 2005, my two main goals were to be the most complete soccer player I could be and to help the team win championships.” Lloyd said in a statement. “Every single day I stepped out onto the field, I played as if it was my last game. I never wanted to take anything for granted, especially knowing how hard it is to get to the top, but even harder to stay at the top for so long.”
A legendary career
The word “legend” is thrown around a lot, but Lloyd has more than earned it. She’s appeared in 312 international matches (239 starts), second only to Kristine Lilly, and is one of just four players to appear in 300 or more international matches. She’s played for the U.S. in three different decades, and appeared in four World Cups and four Olympics, earning two World Cup titles and two Olympic gold medals. She’s played in more championship matches for the USWNT than any player ever.
Oh, we’re not done yet. There’s more. Lloyd’s 128 international goals are fourth-most all time in U.S. soccer history and tied for fifth all-time in world history. She’s the USA’s top Olympic goal-scorer with 10, and her 10 World Cup goals place her third all-time. She’s one of just two people on the entire planet to score a hat trick in a World Cup final, which she did in the USWNT’s final against Japan in 2015.
Her most memorable of those three goals? A stunning strike from midfield.
She was named U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year in 2008 and 2015, and FIFA Women’s Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016. She and Mia Hamm are the only players to win FIFA Women’s Player of the Year twice.
In her statement, Lloyd thanked her teammates for their support and friendship.
“We’ve basically been like family over the years,” said Lloyd. “The number of days we spend together on the road is more than the time we spend with our own families and significant others. We have been able to share some unbelievable moments together on and off the field, and we’ve also shared some heartbreaking moments. I’m just thankful for both the highs and lows because that’s what has helped us grow as people, players and as a team. I will always be thankful for the friendships I have formed along the way and the fact that I was able to play and compete with the best players in the world.”
She also thanked her husband, her family, and U.S. Soccer. She even snuck in a joke about where she’ll channel her competitive energy in the future.
“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?”
What Carli Lloyd is most proud of
Lloyd is undoubtedly proud of her accomplishments, but those aren’t at the top of her list. She said that she’s most proud of staying true to herself throughout her career.
“Through all the goals, the trophies, the medals and the championships won, what I am most proud of is that I’ve been able to stay unapologetically me,” said Lloyd. “My journey has been hard, but I can honestly say I’ve stayed true to myself, to my teammates, my coaches, the media and the fans throughout my entire career and that is what I am most proud of. Everyone sees the moments of glory, but I have cherished the work behind the scenes and the adversity that I’ve had to overcome to get to those glorious moments.”
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