After decorated career, Lloyd will savor final game with US

Oct 25, 2021, 2:23 AM | Updated: 2:28 pm

United States' Carli Lloyd warms up before an international friendly soccer match against South Korea in Kansas City, Kan., Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)

(AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)

Reality is starting to set in for Carli Lloyd, who plays her last game for the United States on Tuesday night.

Lloyd, who memorably scored three goals in the opening 16 minutes of the U.S. victory in the 2015 Women’s World Cup final, is retiring from soccer after a decorated career that includes two World Cup titles and a pair of Olympic gold medals.

Admired by teammates and fans alike for her fierce determination, Lloyd will say goodbye when the U.S. takes the field against South Korea in St. Paul, Minnesota.

“Sure there were times where maybe my focus was too intense, but I gave it all I had. And I think that’s what’s really special, walking away from this is knowing that I did give it all I have,” she said.

“This next phase of mine, I think, is going to be no different. I’m going to find something that I’m passionate about and do it to the best of my ability. I want to eventually start a family with my husband and want to be the best mom and strive to be the best wife that I possibly can,” she added. “Yes, it’s going to be a little different. I’m not going to be feeling the pressure of having to perform in World Cups and Olympics, but I got to do that. Now I’ll just shift gears and do something different.”

Lloyd ranks second in the world for most-ever international appearances after having played in 315 career games. She has scored 134 goals with the U.S., third most in the history of the women’s team.

Lloyd hinted for more than a year that she was nearing the end of her career before the Tokyo Olympics. The United States won the bronze medal this summer, with Lloyd scoring a pair of goals in a 4-3 victory over Australia.

She became the first American to score in four different Olympics, and her 10 total goals in the event set a new record among U.S. players.

“She’s a soccer icon everywhere in the world. I’ve said this before: If she was a male soccer player in Europe, we would have statues of Carli Lloyd all over the country, in Europe. I mean, streets would be named after her, complexes, stadiums, everything. That’s how big she is,” U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski said.

Following the team’s 0-0 draw last week against South Korea in Kansas City, Kansas, Lloyd passed her No. 10 jersey to teammate Lindsey Horan, who will wear the number starting in 2022. Horan was honored before the game for her 100th appearance with the team.

“I think it was probably one of the most special moments in my career,” Horan said, close to tears. “I think Carli Lloyd is truly one of the most incredible women’s national team players that has come through the system. And over the past few years, she’s been such a role model for me and I’ve gotten closer and closer with her and gotten to learn so much from her.”

Lloyd, who made her first appearance with the senior national team in 2005, is probably best known for her hat trick that led the United States to a 5-2 victory over Japan in the 2015 World Cup final. Her third goal in that match was a blistering strike from midfield.

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Lloyd scored in a 1-0 overtime victory over Brazil for the gold medal. Four years later, she scored both goals in the gold-medal match against Japan at Wembley Stadium, becoming the only player to score winning goals in consecutive Olympic finals.

A New Jersey native, Lloyd has also played professionally for some 12 years, spanning stints in the now-defunct Women’s Professional Soccer league and the National Women’s Soccer League. She also played briefly with Manchester United.

Along the way, she’s said, she tried to play each game as if it were her last. But on Tuesday she said she’ll allow herself to enjoy the moment.

“I’m going to let the emotions flow the way they’re gonna flow. I think I’ve been iced-out Carli for so long, and people have always seen that, people haven’t seen the different side of me. But I’m going to savor it,” she said. “I think it’s going to be truly special for one last time to give everything I have for this team, for the crest, for the country, for the fans. I’m going to soak it all in, that’s for sure.”

After the United States’ run to the 2019 World Cup title, Lloyd said she would try to make the roster for the Tokyo Games, but it would likely be her last major tournament with the national team.

When the Olympics were pushed back a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, Lloyd underwent a knee procedure and worked her way back under a new trainer. She took advantage of the downtime to reconnect with her family, from whom she’d been estranged for much of her career.

Her family will be in the stands to cheer for her Tuesday.

“Having them here being able to close out my career is going to be the one of the best things that’s ever probably happened to me,” she said. “Just knowing I can walk away, at peace and content, is really, really special.”

___

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams, left, jokes with center Al Horford, right, as the NBA basket...
Associated Press

NBA unveils No. 6 patch to honor Bill Russell across league

CANTON, Mass. (AP) — As the longest-tenured player on the Celtics, Marcus Smart has been in Boston long enough to appreciate what Bill Russell meant to the team, the city and the country. “We’ve heard things like ‘pioneer,’ ‘trailblazer,'” Smart said Monday while wearing a patch honoring the Celtics Hall of Famer who died this […]
16 hours ago
Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan, center, DeMar DeRozan (11) and Zach LaVine laugh as they po...
Associated Press

Bulls set sights higher, look to build on run to playoffs

CHICAGO (AP) — Zach LaVine had quite the offseason. The Chicago Bulls’ two-time All-Star and Olympic gold medalist landed the richest contract in franchise history when he agreed to a $215 million, five-year contract. He and his wife, Hunter, welcomed their first child, a son named Saint Thomas. LaVine also had arthroscopic surgery on his […]
16 hours ago
Charlotte Hornets guard LiAngelo Ball poses for a photographer during the NBA basketball team's med...
Associated Press

Hornets enter training camp; Miles Bridges’ future uncertain

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Miles Bridges’ future with the Charlotte Hornets remains uncertain as the team prepares to open training camp on Tuesday. Bridges, the team’s leading scorer last season, was charged with three counts of felony domestic violence in June. According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, Bridges allegedly assaulted the mother […]
16 hours ago
FILE - Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett runs during an NFL football practice in Berea, ...
Associated Press

Browns’ Garrett in accident, injuries not life-threatening

CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland Browns All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett did not suffer life-threatening injuries after he was involved in a one-car accident following practice Monday. The team said Garrett was taken to a hospital, but did not give any specific details about his injuries or condition. The Browns said they are gathering more information. […]
16 hours ago
Alabama linebacker Will Anderson Jr. (31) celebrates a sack against Vanderbilt during the second ha...
Associated Press

No. 2 Alabama faces 3-game stretch of ranked foe

Alabama has mostly breezed through the first month of the season, with one big scare and three games that were frightfully but predictably easy. How good is ‘Bama, really? Check back in a few weeks. The second-ranked Crimson Tide (4-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) start a three-game stretch against ranked teams with Saturday’s visit to No. […]
16 hours ago
New Orleans Pelicans power forward Zion Williamson (1) jokes with David Griffin, executive vice pre...
Associated Press

For Zion, Kawhi, Murray and more, the wait is finally over

Kawhi Leonard was in the Los Angeles Clippers’ facility on Monday. That wasn’t exactly a surprise development. The news was his attire. He was wearing a basketball uniform. Finally. Welcome back, Kawhi. You too, Denver’s Jamal Murray, Brooklyn’s Ben Simmons, New Orleans’ Zion Williamson, the Clippers’ John Wall and plenty of others around the NBA. […]
16 hours ago
After decorated career, Lloyd will savor final game with US