The U.S. women’s national team will take the field on Tuesday night at Allianz Field for the final time on home soil this year. For Carli Lloyd, she will take the field with her USWNT teammates for the final time in her 16-year international career.
Lloyd will suit up for the USWNT one last time before heading into retirement, as the Americans host South Korea in the second of two friendlies this month. The Delran, New Jersey native will leave the international game with two World Cup titles and two Olympic Gold medals along with plenty of individual accolades and has finally accepted that Tuesday’s friendly in St. Paul will be her last national team match.
“Sure there were times where maybe my focus was too intense, but I gave it all I had,” Lloyd said in a press conference Monday with reporters. “And I think that’s what’s really special, walking away from this is knowing that I did give it all I have.
“This next phase of mine, I think, is going to be no different. I’m going to find something that I’m passionate about and do it to the best of my ability,” Lloyd said. “I want to eventually start a family with my husband and want to be the best mom and strive to be the best wife that I possibly can. Yes, it’s going to be a little different. I’m not going to be feeling the pressure of having to perform in World Cups and Olympics, but I got to do that. Now I’ll just shift gears and do something different.”
Lloyd, 39, ranks second in the world all-time in international appearances after having played in 315 career games for the USWNT from 2005-21. She has scored 134 goals with the USWNT, the third most in the history of the team, with none possibly bigger than her hat trick in the 2015 Women’s World Cup Final.
After considering her future over the past year, Lloyd finally announced at the conclusion of the rescheduled Summer Olympics she would be retiring at the end of the USWNT’s October schedule and the current NWSL season. Lloyd’s competitive schedule with the USWNT ended with a pair of goals in a 4-3 Bronze Medal victory over Australia in Japan.
Lloyd has come a long way from her days at Rutgers University, where she finished with 50 goals scored in 83 appearances for the Scarlet Knights. Her final appearance on Tuesday night will close the chapter on a stellar career with the United States, a career that will serve as a high benchmark for the next generation of USWNT players.
“I think it was probably one of the most special moments in my career,” midfielder Lindsey Horan, who will wear Lloyd’s No. 10 following her retirement, said. “I think Carli Lloyd is truly one of the most incredible women’s national team players that has come through the system. And over the past few years, she’s been such a role model for me and I’ve gotten closer and closer with her and gotten to learn so much from her.”
“She’s a soccer icon everywhere in the world. I’ve said this before: If she was a male soccer player in Europe, we would have statues of Carli Lloyd all over the country, in Europe. I mean, streets would be named after her, complexes, stadiums, everything. That’s how big she is,” USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski said.
For the USWNT, Tuesday’s friendly will mark as another exercise for the current group of players ahead of a busy 2022 year, which features the next qualifying cycle for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Lloyd’s departure will see players like Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath, and Julie Ertz take another step in their leadership as veterans on the roster while young players like Catarina Macario, Sophia Smith, and others try to fill the big shoes of their former attacking teammate.
While the USWNT will be pushing to bounce back from last week’s scoreless draw in Kansas City, the focus remains on Lloyd as her legacy and years of service to the team comes to an end.
“I’m going to let the emotions flow the way they’re gonna flow,” Lloyd said. “I think I’ve been iced-out Carli for so long, and people have always seen that, people haven’t seen the different side of me. But I’m going to savor it,’
“I think it’s going to be truly special for one last time to give everything I have for this team, for the crest, for the country, for the fans,” Lloyd said. “I’m going to soak it all in, that’s for sure.”