Golden Girl… She Got Game… Going for the Gold… American Hero… and so on. These and a plethora of other cliché phrases are applicable when talking about US Women’s Soccer midfielder, Carli Lloyd, however theses phrases do not do her justice. She lead the team to gold medal victory in the 2008 Olympic Games (scoring the lone goal in that gold medal game in overtime) and she was also the one who lead the US Women’s National team to its fourth Olympic gold medal against Japan in London this summer at the 2012 Olympic Games.
Carli scored both of the US goals in that gold medal game, securing the 2-1 victory. “It was so surreal and didn’t feel like it was actually happening. I just did my best to make sure to close the game out. I didn’t want to go into overtime. We were all waiting for the final whistle. When it came, I had to ask my teammates to pinch me,” Carli excitedly recalls.
She may have made things look effortless in that game, but this Rutgers University alum worked hard to get to where she is now and continues to work her hardest. “My goal is to be the hardest working player on the field all the time. If your touch is on or not, the only thing you have total control over is how hard you work,” expressed Carli.
Engaged in the sport since the age of 5, it is impossible for Carli to imagine her life without soccer. To date her only regret is she didn’t value the importance of being more fit in college. “You cannot rely on talent alone; talent will only get you so far.”
This two-time gold medalist has overcome injury, persevered, and continues to work harder. She has new goals, more to accomplish, and is not ready to settle or slow down.
One of the most incredible things about Carli is that she was a bench player going into the 2012 London Games. She didn’t let this deter her or get her down. Her determined attitude proved valuable. She came off of the bench during the sixteenth minute of the play against France to score a goal. “You have two choices: pout or dig deeper. I did what I had to do to get ready to show the world what I can do. I kept my focus.”
With the help of her hero and trainer, James Galanis (owner of Universal Soccer Academy), Carli continues to become a household name when it comes to women’s soccer. He is her source of inspiration and encouragement, not only pushing her physically to be the best, but also equipping her mentally for international play. “He keeps me focused and driven, without him I would not be the player I am today,” Carli admits.
While having her sights on the next Olympics, the upcoming World Cup, and working towards her goal to be the best player in the world, Carli enjoys the occasional mint Oreo, watching sports, books, music, and spending time with her boyfriend. “I have grown to enjoy golf as well. My boyfriend is a golfer. I’ve grown a strong appreciation for that sport. It is harder than it looks and I am so fascinated when I hit the ball well,” she laughs.
While one of her weaknesses may be her golf game (though I suspect it won’t be a weakness for long), Carli’s biggest challenge is her own personality. She tends to be very unsure of herself. “I am always concerned about what I could be working harder on. I stress and worry about being enough … ready enough, good enough. But those fears and concerns are what help me push myself harder.”
Keep up with Carli (or try to) on Facebook, Twitter (@carlilloyd), and her website (www.carlilloyd.com). Also, keep up on all of the national team action on ussoccer.com.
“Winning gold in London was a dream come true! But that was just the beginning. I have more to accomplish, more to conquer. I’m not done yet.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
LeAnn Secord is a local fundraising professional,
go-kart champion, and aspiring guitar goddess.