In Carli Lloyd’s Own Words: “I’m Addicted To Winning”
“I had one dream. And I had it before I even knew what it meant—I wanted to play for my country.
I fought my way into the U-21 team and onto the senior team, cementing myself into the starting 11. From there, I was asked to play on the 2007 world championship team and the 2008 Olympic team—I even scored the winner in the final. Got the gold medal. Got the parade back home, riding in the back of the fire truck. Got the ‘GOLDEN GIRL!’ headline in the local paper. I even got that moment when it all sank in, and I almost started to relax.
But then, I’ll never forget this ... a few days after the parade, I was in the basement, about to get in a workout, and saw something my training coach, James Galanis, had written on the chalkboard by the treadmill. It said: THE OLYMPICS ARE FORGOTTEN.
If you think this is some motivational cliché, then you don't understand our world.
You don’t understand my story. About a year later, our national team coach’s name flashed across my phone. I was expecting some good news but she called to tell me that she wasn’t going to be renewing my U.S. Soccer contract. She said that I had to be better. That I had to prove myself. I was in tears. All that progress. All that work. And…am I done? I immediately called James, and I told him what had happened, and he said, “O.K. So now we work 10 times harder. You have to dig deeper and prove that you aren’t going anywhere." So we worked 10 times harder.
We started doing double days. This was a first for me and it was HARD! I’d show up in the morning for technical training. Then I’d go home and rest. Then I’d show up at night for the physical grind. It went on like this for several weeks before I headed back into camp, My first camp back, I remember the coach being very pleased and happy. Three days into the camp she told me I look fit, sharp and that I have my contract for the year. That’s the reason I am telling this story. People see the hat trick in the 2015 world championship, but they don’t see the sacrifice, struggle and hard work that went into that moment.
I remember the morning of the 2015 world championship final, when we went out to the bus to go to the match, there were more American fans than I’d ever seen in my life. By the time we got out on the field, there was no fear, no nerves, no what ifs. I wanted the ball. I was ready. When Megan [Rapinoe] put the ball in, what I did was almost unconscious. I had done it a hundred times with nobody watching. I stabbed the ball with the outside of my foot. It hit the back of the net. One–nil in the championship final. Two minutes later ... what can I say? A defender misplays a ball inside the box, and somehow I found it at my feet. Two–nil in the championship final.
And then ... the chip. You want to know what I was thinking? It’s the same feeling you have when you walk out onto the field when you’re a kid, and your coach has just rolled out all the balls before practice, and you see one sitting there at midfield. You think, “Let me just bomb this from the stripe. What the heck.” Well, I got the ball in my own half, took a few touches, glanced up to see where the keeper was and I thought … “Let me just bomb this from the stripe. What the heck.” I smashed it. It just so happened to be during the world championship final. That was four years ago. And here I am, once again, facing a new struggle.
Honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP IS FORGOTTEN.”
Dream With Us
Dream with Carli and the entire U.S. National Team during this summer’s championship tourney in their latest fan gear.