UPDATE 6/16: In a 3-0 win over Chile, Carlii Lloyd scored a pair of goals, making her the first player ever to score in six straight Women’s World Cup matches. She now has 10 career World Cup goals.
When the United States Women’s National Team takes the field for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, one of the biggest weapons in its arsenal will be none other than Carli Lloyd. The 36-year-old player made a splash in the last tournament and looks to replicate that success in 2019. The tournament kicks off at France’s Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on June 7, but the Americans won’t see action until they face Thailand on June 11. Ahead of that opening match, here’s what you need to know about Carli:
1. She’s the pride of New Jersey. Carli Anne Lloyd was born in Delran Township, a small community in Southern New Jersey. She began playing at age five, her skills led her to Rudgers University. From 2001 to 2004, she was part of the Scarlet Knights’ women’s soccer team. As a sophomore, she was a finalist for the Hermann Trophy, considered to be the highest accolade for collegiate soccer players. Since joining the United States Women’s National Team, she’s won two Olympic gold medals, two FIFA Player of the Year awards, and one Women’s World Cup.
2. She won the Golden Ball Trophy in the 2015 Women’s World Cup. In the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup final, Carli scored three goals within the first 16 minutes. She was the first player to ever do that in the Women’s World Cup final, and the second soccer player in history to score a hat trick in any Senior World Cup Final. This feat, coupled with her stellar performances in the semifinals, earned her the Golden Ball Trophy as the best player in the tournament.
3. She once played for Manchester City. Carli’s career has seen her play for a variety of clubs. During the short-lived USL W-League, she played for the Central Jersey Splash and South Jersey Banshees. As part of the Women’s Professional Soccer league, she played for the Chicago Red Stars, Sky Blue FC, and Atlanta Beat. Upon the WPS’s closing and the rise of the National Women’s Soccer League, Carli joined the Western New York Flash. She’s since played for the Houston Dash and, as of 2018, she’s back with Sky Blue FC.
In 2017, she was loaned to Manchester City. While at the club, City finished second in the FA WSL Spring Series and won the 2016-17 FA Women’s Cup. Carli even scored in the final, helping Man City go 4-1 over Birmingham City.
4. Despite all her accomplishments, she still has something to prove. Soccer is a young person’s game, and at age 36, Carli is entering, as she put it, “this last and final phase” of her career. However, she still says she can play a full 90-minutes and isn’t completely ready to accept a role as a second-half game changer. “I’m trying to get off the bench,” she said after the USWNT brace against New Zealand, per ESPN. “If I liked coming off the bench, there would be something wrong. That’s not my mindset. I want to do everything I can to help this team. I’ve been sharp every single day in training, which none of you see, and just trying to be better every single day.
“People always say, ‘You’ve got this chip on your shoulder,’ [and it’s about] proving people wrong,” she added. “To an extent, yes, but that’s who I am, that’s how I’m wired. I’m competitive with every single thing that I do … I’m going to be a train wreck, and I’m going to come through you. That’s just how I’ve been. I believe in myself every single step of the way.
5. Since the last World Cup, she’s gotten married. Carli tied the knot with her high school sweetheart, Brian Hollins, on Nov. 4, 2016. Don’t think that marriage bliss has dulled her edge.
“We kind of make jokes now that she’s gotten a bit softer, now that she’s married and living with her husband and things like that,” U.S. defender Crystal Dunn said, per ESPN “But she’s still the same Carli, bringing her A-game and really competing every single training and proving that she’s a top player.”