Carli Lloyd spent the first 14 years of her career plying her trade at home in the U.S. while becoming one of the game’s most successful and recognizable players to ever represent the U.S. Women’s National Team. After an extended run, Lloyd was looking for a new challenge, and she found one with Manchester City.
Manchester City announced on Wednesday that the club has signed the reigning FIFA Women’s Player of the Year to a short-term deal. Lloyd will join Man City for the 2017 Spring Series, FA Women’s Cup and UEFA Women’s Champions League campaign before returning to the Houston Dash for their NWSL campaign.
Lloyd will join up with the squad in early March following the SheBelieves Cup.
“It’s hard to not want to come. It’s an incredible professional environment here,” Lloyd said. “Just to be here for a short stint, it’s been unbelievable. They’ve set the bar high and I’m just thrilled to be here in an professional environment because, each and every day, I treat myself as a huge professional and I just want to keep getting better. It’s great for me to come over here, see what another women’s league is all about and can go back to help the NWSL.”
“Carli has had an incredible career and is recognized as one of the best in the world,” added Man City head coach Nick Cushing. “There is much we can learn from her that will help us to improve as a team. We are all looking forward to working with her over the coming months”.
Lloyd’s move comes in the midst of a winter that has seen several American standouts move abroad. The USWNT captain joins Alex Morgan, Crystal Dunn and Heather O’Reilly as current national team stars to jump at the chance to take their games to Europe.
Now, Lloyd, like Morgan, has the opportunity to play in the Champions League as she joins a Manchester City team on the rise. The team secured a double last season, claiming the Women’s Super League Title and FAWSL Continental Tyres Cup while remaining unbeaten in league play.
Still, it’s the Champions League that remains the target. Lloyd is expected to be a part of the squad for City’s quarterfinal clash with Danish side Fortuna Hjorring, as Morgan’s Olympique Lyon looms as a potential semifinal opponent.
“For me, in my career, I’m always looking for different challenges,” Lloyd said. “I always want to get better and look for ways where I’m going to be able to push my game. Coming here and being part of City is going to do that. It’s definitely an unbelievable opportunity to compete in the Spring Series, the FA Cup, and most importantly, the Champions League. I want to make a huge wave. I know the Champions League is big and I hope to be playing in a Champions League final. That’s first and foremost.
“Champions League is huge and not too many female footballers are able to say they’ve competed in that. At the end of the day, I don’t want to just be a competitor in that; I want to help the team win it all.”
The 10-team FAWSL begins play on April 10 as Lloyd looks to help push a Man City club on the rise. Joining England internationals like Jill Scott, Steph Houghton and Lucy Bronze, Lloyd joins a team that looks set to contend for trophies both domestic and abroad.
She’ll rejoin the Dash in June but, until then, she’s looking forward to one of the few challenges she has yet to experience in her decorated career.
“I’m thrilled to be here. Just looking forward to starting up, meeting teammates and I’m just really thrilled,” Lloyd said. “This is a unique opportunity and I couldn’t be any prouder to be part of the club here in Manchester and I’m looking forward to kicking off.”