United States women's national team forward Carli Lloyd announced her retirement post Olympics and is stepping away from the game at the conclusion of the 2021 National Women's Soccer League regular season. Lloyd has had a storied career on the pitch with two World Cup championships and was named U.S. soccer's female player of the year in 2008 and 2015. The forward also had two gold and one bronze medal as a four time Olympian, and was voted FIFA women's player of the year in 2015 and 2016.
After competing in a handful of games with the USWNT, the New Jersey native will conclude the NWSL season with her home town club NJ/NY Gotham FC, and the long time veteran spoke with Attacking Third about her extensive playing journey, the announcement of her retirement, and her emotion surfacing around the final weeks of her professional playing career.
"I think throughout the course of my career -- I've just been this, you know, tough as nails, iced out Carli. And I haven't shown much emotion throughout my career, I've just been flipping the chapters, one chapter after the next getting ready preparing, and I've now reached the last chapter."
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The striker is currently with the USWNT as they prepare for two international friendlies against Paraguay in Ohio. The team has two additional games that will take place next month in October at Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas and Allianz Field in St. Paul, Minnesota. Lloyd admits that the upcoming matches have unlocked more of her emotional side over these final weeks.
"There's been so many incredible signs at games and they're [the fans] getting to enjoy it as well. So, just trying to savor these last couple of months and enjoy every bit of it, I think that I do become emotional, and more emotional every time I step out into the field, because I know I'm getting closer and closer to that end. So I can imagine playing with the national teams, the next four games, I'm going to be pretty emotional so we'll see what happens."
The NWSL, Gotham FC, and MLS franchise Philadelphia Union, recently announced a relocation of Gotham's upcoming match against Washington Spirit to be held at the Union's home field, Suburu Park. For Lloyd, a native of Delran, New Jersey, it will be a bit of a homecoming for her and she's embracing every final moment.
"There's a few more pages left to be written. And it's emotional, and I don't know if that's just coming at the tail end of my career or, you know, me being in a different mindset, just in life in general, being a bit older" she said. "I think that, you know, the heartfelt Carli [has] been coming out a little bit more and I'm embracing it, I'm enjoying it and I think that I've just had this love and appreciation for the game, in this last year or so, especially in these last couple of months where I'm just I'm just smiling.
"I'm just literally saving savoring every moment I'm out on the pitch, whether it's a training field whether it's grinding away doing stuff on my own, with my team. Just, just trying to soak it all in because I know once, once that final whistle comes, and I walk off the field for the last time. It's going to be extremely hard, she said. "But 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."
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