Double World Cup winner Carli Lloyd to retire from women’s game

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One of the most successful icons in the history of US women’s soccer has announced her retirement at the end of 2021. 39-year-old Carli Lloyd will bow out at the top having played a key role in cementing the USA women’s soccer team (USWNT) as the finest women’s national side on the planet. Lloyd has featured in 312 games for the USWNT and scored 128 times, making her the second most-capped player in USWNT history. Most recently, Lloyd played her part in helping the USWNT to a bronze medal in the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Lloyd has confirmed that she will be taking part in four more international matches for the USA women’s soccer team (USWNT) and closing out the remainder of the NWSL campaign with NJ/NY Gotham before retiring for good. USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski described Lloyd as a “true legend” of women’s soccer Stateside. However, in more recent years, Lloyd has taken a back seat as the likes of Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe drive the sport to new creative heights having been the most feared players at the last women’s World Cup.

As part of her press release with US Soccer, Lloyd said that her two primary aims when making her USWNT debut in 2005 were to become the “most complete soccer player [she] could be” and to “help the team win championships”. Lloyd certainly delivered on both counts. Andonovski described Lloyd’s career as “unique” and an inspiration to up-and-coming USWNT stars that they can “aspire” to emulate in the years to come.

The story of Carli Lloyd’s domestic soccer career

It all started for Carli Lloyd in the W-League, when she was recruited to represent the Central Jersey Splash, followed by the New Brunswick Power and the South Jersey Banshees. Lloyd played a solitary game for the New Jersey Wildcats in 2004 before taking a five-year hiatus from competitive action – largely due to the lack of a women’s professional league Stateside.

The arrival of Women’s Professional Soccer in the US saw Lloyd immediately return to the fray, appearing for the Chicago Red Stars, Sky Blue FC and Atlanta Beat. It was Lloyd’s 2013/14 spell with the Western New York Flash that saw her demonstrate her true potential, notching 16 goals in 34 appearances in the newly formed National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).

Lloyd went on to be traded to the Houston Dash for a two-season spell, before a brief sojourn into the women’s professional game in the UK during a loan with Manchester City. Lloyd would go on to score in the final of the 2016/17 FA Women’s Cup and has joined a growing list of famous followers of Manchester City since her departure. Since 2018, Lloyd has nailed her colours to the mast as a Sky Blue FC player, with the team changing its name in 2020 to NJ/NY Gotham FC.

A two-time World Cup and Olympic gold winner

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Lloyd’s international career took off as early as 2005, when she debuted against the Ukraine. She made her first appearance at a FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2007, making five appearances and earning a third-place finish in their playoff with Norway. Lloyd led the USWNT to their 2012 CONCACAF title ahead of the London Olympics, when Lloyd grabbed the headlines to score both goals in their 2-1 final victory over Japan to win gold.

In 2015, USWNT head coach Jill Ellis appointed Lloyd as captain of the team for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada. It was in the 2015 World Cup final that Lloyd would cement her name in soccer history, scoring a 16-minute hat-trick to overcome the Japanese once again. Lloyd’s third goal was described by the press as “one of the most remarkable goals” ever seen at a Women’s World Cup. Unsurprisingly, Lloyd took home the Golden Ball award after the 2015 final.

Lloyd was once again involved in the USA’s fourth Women’s World Cup triumph in 2019, with her goals against Thailand and Chile setting a new record for scoring in six consecutive Women’s World Cup games. However, after scoring two goals in the USWNT’s edgy 4-3 victory in this year’s Olympic bronze medal contest with Australia, Lloyd has called time on a glittering career.

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