Despite Carli Lloyd's unprecedented success in Olympic and Women's World Cup soccer, she's still the down-to-earth person she was while playing college soccer 15 years ago. The New Jersey native played at Rutgers University, graduating in 2005 with a degree in exercise science and sport studies. Now 37, Carli describes herself as hard-working, relentless and highly competitive—but only when competing against herself.
She is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, two-time FIFA Women's World Cup champion, two-time FIFA Player of the Year and a three-time Olympian.
"I have an addiction to becoming better and better every single day," she says."I always want to turn my weaknesses into strengths."
Carli talked candidly to Lake Murray Lifestyle about life on the soccer field in the past, present and future.
What critical elements enabled you to develop to becoming a two-time World Player of the Year?
Being introduced to my personal coach, James Galanis, of Universal Soccer Academy, was definitely the turning point for me. He evaluated me, designed a plan and instilled me with confidence. He changed the way I trained and thought about the game. From that point on, I've been on a mission to improve with each day.
What separates you from everyone else?
My dedication to improving, my ability to raise my game in pressure situations and my willingness to do whatever it takes to find the edge.
Do you see yourself as a role model? Mentor?
I think I've always been a good person and done the right things both on and off the field. Playing for the USWNT gives you the opportunity to really influence people, and I've always done my best to be sure I'm impacting young and old people in a positive way.
The World Cup victory in France wasn’t without adversity for you. With Coach Ellis’ decision to use you primarily off the bench, what did you do to push through it?
One of my core values is to only worry about what I can control. I always knew I couldn’t control who the coaches pick, so I accepted the role I was given.
Where do you feel you are mentally and physically now at the age of 37?
There's no doubt I'm in the best form ever. I feel like I've improved to a point where everything has aligned. Physically I feel great, tactically I know the game better than ever, my skills are sharper than ever, and I have the experience to know what’s coming.
Does Coach Ellis stepping down as USWNT coach have any influence on your decision to be at next summer’s Olympics in Japan and another World Cup cycle?
I want to play for as long as I feel good. If my body allows me to play at my best, I will continue. If not, I'll step away. Right now, I feel like I can still help my team win. I want to be at next summer’s Olympics in Japan. I'm not sure about another World Cup cycle. I need to get through the Olympics first.
When you eventually retire, how do you want to be remembered?
"For what I did on the field and for the way I handled adversity throughout my career. I want people to see anything is possible through sacrifice, hard work and dedication."
What legacy do you want to leave?
I grew up in a small town in New Jersey, and through my will and dedication, I worked tirelessly to get to the top. You ultimately decide what path you take in life, and I never gave up, no matter what was thrown in my way.
What life events have occurred for you recently?
I got married in November 2016 and bought a house in Medford, New Jersey, in 2018.
Tell us about your relationship with your spouse, Brian.
We met in high school. Brian lived up the street from my aunt, and his best friend lived next door to her. I was always outside playing and hanging out with his best friend when I was younger. I saw him in the neighborhood riding around on his dirt bike and playing sports. It wasn’t until my junior year of high school I heard through a friend that he liked me. Instead of going on a date, we hung out in a big group together. What brought us together was how athletic we both were. Brian will say it was love at first sight for him! I was still scoping him out and playing hard to get. The rest is history!
What does the future hold for you and Brian?
I've been very committed to my craft, but when I'm done playing in a few years, we'd like to potentially backpack through Europe, travel the world and then start a family. Having two kids would be something we would love.
Do you volunteer/give back anywhere?
I'm a mentor for the Medford Strikers Soccer Club and Universal Soccer Academy. I try to talk to the kids and share stories with them that will help them on the field and in life.
Do you have any hobbies?
I love cooking and organizing!
After soccer, what's your next career ambition?
After starting a family, I’m not sure what my next career ambition would be. It depends on what doors open up. Potentially, it might be speaking or organizing and running clinics to help the next generation.