Tuesday 26 October 2021, 22:00

A fond farewell to legendary Lloyd

  • Carli Lloyd made the final appearance of her glittering career this evening

  • The USWNT legend marked the occasion with a player of the match showing

  • We reflect on her remarkable achievements and the secrets to her success

For almost two decades, it’s been near-impossible to imagine the USWNT – and women’s football as a whole – without Carli Lloyd. But all good things must come to end and, after an emotional 316th and final appearance in the red, white and blue tonight, retirement beckons for one of the all-time greats – and life without Lloyd begins for her team, and her sport.

Typically, the 39-year-old went out with a bang, marking her farewell with a player of the match performance in a 6-0 win over Korea Republic to provide another reminder of her remarkable and enduring powers. The Americans certainly know that they are losing their ultimate big-game player; a woman who built her reputation on rising to the biggest of occasions, with winning goals in successive Olympic gold medal matches and a never-to-be-forgotten hat-trick in the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ Final.

Focus, fire and fierce determination also ensured that Lloyd continued to improve well into her fourth decade, a fact reflected in her coronation as The Best FIFA Women’s Player at the ripe old age of 35. The well-worn ‘good wine’ analogy is also borne out by the stats, with 98 of this evergreen attacker’s goals having come after her 30th birthday. Even now, in fact, she is the only player to have appeared in every USWNT match this calendar year and continues to lead the team in both goals (11) and assists (6).

As she embarks on a new chapter in her life, aiming to be the best in a very different role, FIFA.com pays tribute to an icon who rewrote records and etched her name in the history of the beautiful game.

Amazing achievements and spectacular stats

  • Two FIFA Women’s World Cup winner’s medals (2015 and 2019) and two Olympic gold medals (2008 and 2012).

  • 316 international appearances, making her the second-most-capped player in the history of the game, only behind former team-mate and world record-holder Kristine Lilly (354).

  • 134 international goals, which leaves her trailing only Christine Sinclair (188), Abby Wambach (184) and Mia Hamm (158) in the all-time global list.

  • A unique place in history as the only player to have scored a Women’s World Cup Final hat-trick.

  • The distinction of being the oldest goalscorer in USWNT history at 39 years and 67 days.

  • 47 appearances at major tournaments – more than any other US player - having participated in every World Cup since 2007 and every Olympics since 2008.

  • More goals after her 30th birthday (98) than any player in the history of the game.

  • Just 17 defeats in her 17 years as an international player.

  • A joint-USWNT record haul of five goals in a single match, and this just a few weeks ago against Paraguay – three months after her 39th birthday.

FIFA COVERAGE - United States v Australia: Bronze Medal Match Women's Football - Olympics: Day 13

Lloyd in the words of others

"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 coach Vlatko Andonovski

“She's just different. She does everything exactly how she needs it to be done. That's what separates her, that's what makes her great. She doesn't care what anyone else thinks. That's one of the biggest qualities of Carli that I admire is she does not care, because she's doing what she needs to do and that's all that matters." USWNT team-mate Sophia Smith, who was just four years old when Lloyd earned her first cap in 2005

“In the footballing world, she’s done things that are just unheard of in the game and [has] legend status for sure. Why the US women’s national team has the history of success that we have is in a large way due to Carli and the big-time plays that she’s had and big-time moments. It’s not surprising that she’s had those moments because you watch how she works, how she does her job and everything is set up and prepared to be successful in those moments. We’re certainly going to miss that and also just miss her as a person, and kind of the life and the strength that she’s given to this team.” USWNT team-mate Tobin Heath

Lloyd in her own words

“People see the hat-trick in the 2015 World Cup Final, but they don’t see the 12 years of sacrifice, struggle and hard work that went into that moment. Every single day I have been grinding away to become better. A part of me loves the struggle, and a part of me hates the struggle. But all of me is all about the struggle, because without it, there would be no truly great moments. I’m OK with not following the crowd. I’m OK with being the black sheep. I’m OK with being different. I’m OK with not being in the spotlight. All I want is my play on the field to do the talking. In order to bring me down or break me, my heart would have to be ripped out of me.” On the secret to her success, writing in the Players Tribune

"It's nice knowing that for 17 years, I've just been on that mission to be the best I possibly can be. Sure there were times where maybe my focus was too intense, but I gave it all I had. 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. I want to eventually start a family with my husband and be the best mom and strive to be the best wife that I possibly can.” On retirement