She cried first, letting tears soak into the grass of Kashima Stadium, and then she ran away, which meant that her sweat could gradually progress. Carli Lloyd will really leave everything she has on the court.

Lloyd told us a lot within an hour after the US women’s national team lost to rival Canada in the Olympic semifinals. She was one of the people most affected by that defeat, because it was not just about losing the chance to win the gold medal or retaliate against nemesis Sweden in the final. She knew she was going to quit the sport soon, and this was her chance to quit the top of the world.

Lloyd has always hinted in her interviews about the cost of playing football at the elite level before and after her 39th birthday. She talked about the sacrifices made by people around her, especially her husband Brian Hollins, who had been with her for five years, and how it was time to experience another life. There are still many football media who argue that Lloyd will never agree to leave the national team voluntarily.

In the past few years, she has shown so much persistence about her position in the USWNT competition that it is reasonable to assume that she lacks the ability to shut it down. But she will end the season at NJ/NY Gotham FC in NWSL and play four autumn friendly matches with USWNT, that’s it.

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She ranks among the greatest in the history of her sport. Like Mia Hamm, Julie Foday and others, Lloyd is one of the few players to have two Olympic gold medals and two World Cup champions. Her dominance in the latter part of the 2015 World Cup led her to win the Golden Globe for that game and the 2015 FIFA Women’s Player of the Year award (above), which clearly shows that she belongs to Hamm and Michele. A discussion with players such as El Ackles, Abby Wambach and Kristen Lily.

But none of Lloyd’s achievements have defined her in exactly the same way as her last three years in the national team. At that time, time and circumstances determined that she would be the ideal choice for a super substitute.” Lloyd stubbornly opposed this. Title and role. She is a fierce competitor, as if she had worn a team badge.

“Carli Lloyd is a true legend,” USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski said at the US football team’s press conference. “Her career is unique. Her success on the court is what all current and future national team players should aspire to achieve. Her approach to daily training and career is really impressive. I am honored to be able to guide her. she.”

Although there are rare examples in other sports, such as Tom Brady in the NFL or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the NBA, at this age, almost no one has played football at this level. The sport is so harmful to the body and provides so little downtime that it steals a person’s youth at a faster rate.

Think of the most outstanding players in football over the past few decades. USWNT career scoring leader Abby Wambach is 41 years old. Six years ago, she retired at the end of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, where she started three games and scored a goal in seven games to reach the world championship. Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard is also 41 years old. It is also his fourth season as the head coach of the Rangers. He played his last game in 2016 after an unsuccessful season in Major League Soccer. competition. Hamm is considered the greatest of all USWNT players. He retired after winning the Olympic gold medal in 2004 at the age of 32. Cristiano Ronaldo is still a superstar at the age of 36. He must persist until 2024 to prove that he has Lloyd.

Lloyd will rank second in the number of international appearances in his career, behind Lily, who got her last chance at the age of 39 and ahead of Christie Lampon Pierce who participated in the 2015 World Cup at the age of 40. Lloyd tied for fifth-time with 128 international goals, behind Canada’s No. 1 Christine Sinclair. Lloyd may break the tie with Prince Birgit of Germany and may rise to fourth place, depending on her performance on the farewell journey.

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It seems unlikely that someone will be able to match Lloyd’s delivery record at a critical moment any time soon. USWNT has won eight major events in its history: four World Cups and four Olympic Games. Lloyd scored the championship goal in a quarter of the games (2008 and 2012 Olympics) and performed a hat trick in the 2015 World Cup finals. As if to prove that she did not lose contact on the way out, she scored the winning goal in the bronze medal match against Australia in the Tokyo Olympics.

Her achievements are huge and amazing, but it’s more about how she reached the top of the mountain and how determined she stayed there. Her commitment to training took her from a bench before the 2012 Olympics to playing an important role in the victory of the USWNT and then dominating the 2015 World Cup in Canada. By 2019, she is more suitable to play forward than midfielder, but the forward position belongs to Alex Morgan. This is how Lloyd sent a stern glare to a reporter — well, I — he asked her after the friendly before the 2019 World Cup if she had successfully integrated into the super bench role of USWNT.

“I won’t say that this is an adjustment. I will say that it is working hard to regain the starting position,” Lloyd tells sports news“It’s impossible to become a super diver. I’m grind every day, and none of you are watching. I keep getting better at what I can do better. I’ll get better when I’m hungry. I don’t Will sit here and say that I have solved the game and I am a perfect player.”

Of the seven games required to win that World Cup, she only started one, scored two goals in the game against Chile, came off the bench and completed the rest of the game. In the end, she did return to the starting lineup, partly because of her relentless pursuit of excellence, and partly because the current starter Alex Morgan took a break to give birth to her first child. On the eve of the pandemic shutdown, Lloyd started two games in the 2020 SheBelieves Cup. She started 7 out of 12 pre-Olympic games this year, and then started 3 out of 6 games in the Olympics, including bronze medal matches. With 5 goals, she ranked third in the team in 2021 and led with 6 assists.

After losing to Canada earlier this month, Lloyd chose to play and sprint for wind speed. There is another game to play and she will adapt as much as possible. After Megan Rapinoe’s goals in the 8th and 21st minutes helped the US lead 2-0 in the bronze medal match, Lloyd continued to advance and in overtime before and after the intermission To score, rewrite the score to 3-1. In a 4-3 victory, the Americans need all these goals.

“Through all the goals, trophies, medals and championships,” Lloyd told American Football, “I am most proud of being able to stay without apology.”

USWNT has never had anyone like her.

If it can find another one, how lucky it will be.


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