Wednesday 14 March 2018, 06:36

Lloyd: I'm more motivated than ever

  • The 2015 world champion reflects on her three Women's World Cups

  • Lloyd looks ahead to France 2019

  • She says: "France 2019 will be spectacular. There's no doubt about that"

Carli Lloyd has accomplished just about everything any aspiring footballer would dream of achieving. She has a FIFA Women's World Cup™ trophy, two Olympic gold medals and has been voted the best women's player on the planet twice.

After helping USA lift the SheBelieves Cup on home soil, Lloyd is now preparing for the 2018 National Women's Soccer League season with her new club Sky Blue FC, who play in her home state of New Jersey.

So, how motivated is she heading in to the last few years of her career? put that question to her, and many others, in an exclusive interview. Could you summarise your 2017 for us? Carli Lloyd: It was obviously quite busy. I played in several different teams. I played for Manchester City, a great organisation, a great club, with some of the best players in the world. I really enjoyed my time there, having the chance to compete in Champions League and the FA Cup. I was feeling really good being there. I’m very grateful for that opportunity.

I’m that kind of person that wants to continue to learn. Then I was able to bring that rhythm to old my club Houston Dash and help to get to the play-off positions. Unfortunately I also had an injury, so I'm looking forward to 2018 being an exciting one.

You are now 35 years old. Do you still have the same passion for football as you did at the start of your career? How has that evolved over the years? I think in football being 35 is labeled as old. I think that most people have this misconception that once you hit that age you start to decline. For me, age is just a number. I always make sure to take care of my body on and off the pitch, and with my training regime I feel as fit as I have ever been. I’m feeling very good, older but wiser. And I think that along with being more experienced comes being smarter. And for me I am more motivated than ever because there’s a lot of people out there that think that I’m too old, that I’m not going to be able to influence the game, that I’m not going to be able to do the things I used to do. I’m just waiting to defy those odds and to prove they are wrong again.

There happens to be a big tournament next year. No doubt you hope to be playing at the World Cup in France? Absolutely. France 2019 will be spectacular. There’s no doubt about that. France is a football country, they take pride in that. Their women’s team is unbelievable. I have no doubt that it is going to be a fantastic tournament. It will be a great opportunity to see how the women’s game continuously improves and grows. Of course, first we have to make the roster, we have to qualify, but right now that is the process and the journey. It starts now, and let’s take one day at a time and continue to improve as a player, continue to help my team in any way possible. It’s not going to be an easy thing to win back-to-back World Cups, but I think that our team is definitely up to the test.

Can you give us your best memory from each of the FIFA Women’s World Cups you’ve participated in? Let's start with China 2007. That was my first major tournament. We were expected to come home as World Cup champions in the opinion of the media that year and, for whatever reason, it just didn’t work out. I remember being young and taking it all in. It was a phenomenal World Cup and unfortunately we went out only with the bronze medal. But I think that it prepared us for 2008 to win the Olympics.

Germany 2011 It was a phenomenal World Cup. Every time we went out you saw fans and signs all about the Women’s World Cup. It was amazing. I think obviously one of the most memorable moments that comes to my mind is probably our game against Brazil equalising in stoppage time, going to penalty kicks; that was a breathtaking moment. Abby (Wambach) scored that equaliser, but unfortunately we did not get to win in the final against Japan, but I believe everything kind of happens for a reason. It was a pretty devastating moment, but I think that it was the start of the growth of US soccer’s new history.

Canada 2015 You have all these moments in between. Obviously with USA winning the World Cup in 1999 and 16 years later, we were going after something major, something huge. We were trying to kind of reach that milestone, and we finally did. What I take from the 2015 World Cup is the journey. It did not start off as great as we had hoped although we were getting the results and we were all trying to find a rhythm and really kind of overtake teams.

Playing that final against Japan, and winning 5-2, it was an amazing moment because not only did we win the game, but we won in such a convincing manner. It felt like we were at home in Canada with so many USA fans, and the whole world was watching. It was the most viewed and the most watched game. It was just so good for women’s soccer and for us in the USA. It was great to be on that podium receiving the trophy.

And how about your memories of USA 1999? I remember going to a game with my sister at the Giants’ stadium in New Jersey, and I remember the women playing, the fans — everybody was so excited. It was a remarkable moment because I said to myself that it would be amazing to be able to play for my country. Little did I know that that dream would come true. When you are in that moment you don’t think it is really within grasp. It was just great to be able to witness that and now it’s great to be able to do something that I love.