Carli Lloyd says goodbye to the game of soccer as one of the all-time greats for the USWNT

Carli Lloyd waves to the fans after her final NWSL regular season home game. Photo courtesy of Annie Wermiel, via NY Post.

Jamie Blodgett | Contributing Writer

Thirty-nine year old professional soccer player, Carli Lloyd, is saying goodbye to the game she has given her heart to. Lloyd plays as a midfielder/forward for NJ/NY Gotham FC in the National Women’s Soccer League as well as being a decorated member of the United States National Team.

The two-time gold medal Olympian was joined by over 10,000 fans in her hometown of Delran, N.J. on Oct. 6 to have her hometown sendoff. The team wore No. 10 as they entered the pitch in honor of Lloyd’s 34 years devoted to the game. The game against Washington Spirit NWSL was moved to Subaru Park near Philadelphia, making this Lloyd’s first game in her hometown playing with a professional club team.

Lloyd has scored 134 international goals, and has participated in 316 international matches to date over her career. She is also an author of her book titled: “When Nobody Was Watching: My Hard Fought Journey to the Top of the Soccer World.”

Lloyd is one of the most accomplished athletes. Lloyd has the second all-time international caps at 316, sixth all-time assist in USWNT history at 64, scored eight hat tricks, and the third all-time USWNT goal record at 134. To-date Lloyd has played 21,368 minutes.

Through her career she has been graced with endless awards including; Women’s Player of the Decade,Two-Time FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion (2015, 2019), Inductee to New Jersey Hall of Fame (2017), FIFA World Player of the Year (2016), FIFA Women’s World Cup Golden Ball (2015), FIFA Women’s World Cup Silver Boot (2015), FIFA Women’s World Cup All-Star Team (2015), FIFA Women’s World Cup Goal of the Tournament (2015), FIFA World Player of the Year (2015), U.S. Soccer Player of the Year (2015), CONCACAF Goal of the Year (2015), CONCACAF Women’s Player of the Year (2015), March of Dimes Foundation Sportswoman of the Year (2015), Women’s Sports Foundation Sportswoman of the year (2015), CONCACAF Women’s Championship MVP (2014), Two Time Olympic Gold Medalist (2008, 2012), Bleacher Report Top 100 Athletes of (2012), Glamour Women of the Year (2012), FIFA World Player of the Year Shortlist (2012), Candidate for U.S. Soccer Player of the Year (2012), NJ Youth Soccer Hall of Fame (2012), NJ Sportswriters Woman of the Year (2012), U.S. Soccer Player of the Year (2008), and a Algarve Cup MVP & Top Goal Scorer (2007).

Lloyd’s full home game farewell speech can be viewed here.

Her final game was played on Oct. 26 against the Korea Republic. It was “Carli and the kids” that took the field as Lloyd was the captain and only starting veteran on the team. Head coach Vlatko Andonovski said of Carli, “These young players can learn a lot.”

Sofia Bush did the voiceover for a video dedicated to Carli Lloyd. It was a version of Former President Theodore Roosevelt’s ‘Man in the Arena.’ There was also a ceremony prior to the match where Lloyd was presented with a jersey housing the No. 316. The soccer legend was then surrounded by her family as there wasn’t a single dry eye in the stadium.

“I have absolutely no regrets,” said. Lloyd. Lloyd is the only player on the national team to play in every United States game this year and is leading the team in goals and assists this year.  “People see the glory. They see the parades. But they don’t see everything that goes into it… I gave everyone of myself to this game for 17 straight years- never ever switching it off. And you know what? I would do it all again. In an instant.” 

Throughout the match you could check in on the “Carli cam” on the Fox Sports app that followed Lloyd around the entire game.

The match began with Lindsey Horan scoring in the 10th minute. In the 44th minute the US scored again at the hands of Sophia Smith, bringing the score to 2-nil going into the half. In the 55th minute Megan Rapinoe (No. 15) and Rose Lavelle (No. 16) were subbed in hoping to make a play for Lloyd on the pitch in the second half, but it was a numbers game until the 64th minute.

In the 64th minute Carli Lloyd’s international career ended as Alex Morgan took the pitch, and she took her Jersey off to reveal a second jersey with her husband’s last name ‘Hollins’ on the back. She passed off the captain’s band to Rapinoe.

Then, in the 68th minute of the match Morgan scored off an assist from Rapinoe. 3 nil, USA. Rapinoe came ready for this game as she fired her own shot on goal in the 84th minute. 4 nil, USA. Off the foot of the goalkeeper came Lavelle’s goal in the 88th minute, 5- nil, USA. Then in the 91st minute, Williams scored off a beautiful touch pass wrapping this game up 6-nil, USA, and a memorable farewell game for soccer legend Carli Lloyd. 

In July 2005 against Ukraine, Lloyd subbed in for Aly Wagner (former #10 USA soccer player) in her first international debut game. Oct. 26, Wagner touched on Lloyd’s career saying that Lloyd will “go out in a way that was well deserved.” I think we can all agree, she did just that. Carli Lloyd. One of the best to ever wear the crest.

After the match, all eyes turned to Lloyd as she addressed the arena, the fans, the press, and her team. Her team chanted  “Carli! Carli Lloyd!!” in the huddle on the field. The lights went down and a tribute video began. Tears filled the eyes of everyone watching as cheering began, smiles were shared, and the joy that soccer brings was felt by everyone around the world. Lloyd took the mic as the stadium filled with “thank you Carli” chants. 

“I hope you know, I gave it everything I had for every single one of you.” 

In Lloyd’s final regular season home match for Gotham FC on Halloween Sunday, she scored in the 52nd minute on a header. Before her career comes to a complete close, Lloyd will have a chance to score next Sunday against Chicago Red Stars in the first round of the NWSL playoffs. 

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