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Elite athletes show us all what hard work looks like. We also get to see how much passion you need, how much dedication it takes and how much you really have to love your sport to be able to reach the very top of your game. But when you have all that, when you become a master at the sport you can’t get enough of, then we all see how the hard work pays off. You are a champion for all the world to watch.

South Jersey’s Carli Lloyd put in all the hard work. Her passion and dedication are unquestionable. And it’s clear she loves this sport she spent just about every day – every day – of her life perfecting.

So now we cheer with her as she takes in all that she has accomplished. All the wins. All the fans. All the awards. She comes back to the community she loves having conquered the world. She comes back showing us all what it looks like, what it means, to be a true champion.

 

The Field Goal Seen ’Round The World

Carli Lloyd was simply doing what she loves to do. But the cameras were running when she casually whacked a football 55 yards and straight through the narrow field goals on the Philadelphia Eagles’ practice field in late summer.

Photo by Matt Rourke/AP/Shutterstock

A video of the impressive kick immediately went viral, igniting debate over whether Lloyd could – should? – become the first woman to break into the NFL as a kicker. Multiple teams have since reached out to her, and an impressive roster of players and coaches have offered to train her. With all the commotion, Lloyd has mused publicly about the possibility of giving it a shot after her soccer career winds down.

So what happens next?

“I would be surprised if she wants to do it and isn’t given the opportunity to try out for an NFL team,” says Jason Springer, co-host of “The Heart of Sports with Jason Springer & Jeff Cohen” on 610 ESPN, noting that it’s been a hot topic on the radio show. “If she wants it and can perform, I think she will have the opportunity for success in the league. The NFL is a results-driven business, and she seems to be going into this with her eyes wide open.”

The fateful kick occurred during a pre-season joint practice between the Eagles and Baltimore Ravens in Philadelphia. A lifelong Eagles fan, Lloyd was not trying out for anything. As she tells it, she was having fun and getting great instruction from Randy Brown, the Ravens’ kicking consultant and former Evesham Twp. mayor, and Ravens kicker Justin Tucker.

“I was casually just, you know, wanting to bang in a few field goals because I’m a competitor and I actually really enjoy doing it,” she says.

Brown and Tucker were both clearly impressed, says Springer. And soon after, players, coaches, sports analysts and fans were weighing in on Lloyd’s chances. Some are excited about her prospects while others predict failure.

“There are so many different angles to consider, which is probably why there are so many different opinions,” says Springer.

In soccer, he says, endurance is a key to success. In the NFL, kicking success comes with the ability to consistently perform the same motion so it takes a different kind of training. But there’s also the fact that 250-pound opponents are trying to stop you from performing that motion successfully.

Lloyd has not ruled out giving the NFL a shot, but has said she wouldn’t make any moves before tying up loose ends in her current career and preparing herself for a new challenge.

 

5 questions we can’t wait to ask Carli Lloyd on Oct. 7.
(Got your tickets yet? Click here.)

1. Are you joining the NFL? (What team called!!)

2. How do you handle the haters on social media?

3. When you don’t feel like getting off the couch to train, how do you actually get off the couch?

4. Do you think the women’s team will ever be paid as much as the men’s?

5. What’s next? Will we see you at the Olympics?

40 Cents on the Dollar

As the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team celebrated its 2019 World Cup win on the field, fans in the stands went wild. They cheered, clapped, danced and chanted in unison “Equal pay! Equal pay!”

The rhythmic refrain was a nod to the team’s longtime efforts to bring player’s pay to parity with the salaries of male players. Its #EqualPayForEqualPlay campaign has been building momentum since Carli Lloyd first joined several teammates in filing a federal complaint accusing U.S. Soccer of wage discrimination in 2016.

This March, 28 members of the team filed yet another gender discrimination lawsuit against U.S. Soccer. They argued that their team brings in more money than the men’s team, yet players are still paid 40 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts.

“We know the sacrifices we make; it’s no different than what men make,” says Lloyd. “We’re away from our families. We’re away from our friends. We’re spending every waking hour dedicating ourselves to this.”

Meanwhile, their fight has gained momentum across the country, including in New Jersey, which adopted one of the most extensive equal pay laws last year.

“We support the pursuit of equal pay by the women’s soccer players. Period. Full stop,” says Gov. Phil Murphy.
They say their case grew stronger following their 2019 World Cup Championship win – their fourth one.

“In light of our team’s unparalleled success on the field, it’s a shame that we still are fighting for treatment that reflects our achievements and contributions to the sport,” says Lloyd. “We have made progress in narrowing the gender pay gap, however progress does not mean that we will stop working to realize our legal rights and make equality a reality for our sport.”

 

 

Coming Home to South Jersey

After traveling the world playing for national and international soccer teams, Carli Lloyd is back home for now.

A Delran native who first stepped onto a soccer field in South Jersey at the age of 5, Lloyd has come full circle as a current member of the Sky Blue FC National Women’s Soccer League team, based in N.J.

She played for Delran High School, where she met her now-husband Brian Hollins, a professional golfer, before she headed to Rutgers University to play soccer. After graduating in 2006, she left the Garden State for bigger, bolder opportunities.

“It’s kind of an unwritten rule for my husband and me that we were going to live in New Jersey,” Lloyd says. “It’s home to us.”

Two Olympic medals, two World Cup Championships and dozens of records and awards later, she’s nearing the end of her soccer career at the age of 37 and says she’s ready to reconnect with her South Jersey roots.

“Being on the road and being away from friends and family and being away from Brian, it’s kind of tying things up nicely toward the latter stage of my career and being able to be here where it all started for me,” she adds.
Hollins, who works at the Trenton County Club, couldn’t agree more.

“Almost all of her career we’ve always been apart,” he says. “So having her home is definitely something I’m really thankful for now that we can actually spend time together and enjoy our relationship and enjoy our marriage.”

“It’s weird how everything’s come full-circle,” Lloyd says. “I start out in New Jersey, I play college at Rutgers and now I’m back home where I belong. It’s been fun.”

 

Carli Lloyd Throughout the Years

2001-2003
While a Rutgers student, she begins playing for the United States on the under-21 women’s team, where she stays for two seasons before being cut in 2003. She starts training with coach James Galanis, who Lloyd credits with making her the player she is today.

2005
Now on the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, she makes her international debut playing against Ukraine.

2008
Lloyd plays her first Olympic games in Beijing, becoming a gold medal hero by scoring the winning goal in overtime. The game ends with a historic 1-0 win, and she’s named the U.S. Female Soccer Athlete of the Year.

Photo by Thibault Camus/AP/Shutterstock

2012
Lloyd becomes a second-time gold medalist at the London Olympics, scoring both goals that clinch the U.S. team’s 2-1 victory over Japan.

2014
During one of her most productive years to date with the national team, she starts all 23 games and scores 15 goals. She’s the only player in every minute of the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship game, where she is named MVP.

2015
Lloyd captains Team USA in the World Cup final, where the team defeats Japan 5-2. She becomes the first woman in history to score a hat trick in the World Cup with a legendary midfield strike. She’s named the 2015 FIFA Woman’s World Player of the Year, making it only the third time an American has been chosen for the title.

2016
She remains the all-time leading scoring midfielder for the women’s team and is named the FIFA Woman’s World Player of the Year. In March, Lloyd, alongside several of her teammates, files a federal complaint of wage discrimination between men’s and women’s national teams.

2017
Lloyd moves across the pond for a season with the Lady Citizens of Manchester City. During her time in England, she scores three goals and helps the team nab its second FA Women’s Cup title. Back home, she’s inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.

2018
After playing 3 seasons for the Houston Dash, Lloyd comes home to South Jersey when she is traded to New Jersey’s Sky Blue FC at her request to be closer to her husband and family. She scores four goals in 18 game appearances.

2019
The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team wins the World Cup. Lloyd becomes the first player to score in six straight World Cup games. Some sports analysts speculate that, because Lloyd is 37, this “will most likely be her last world finals.” Lloyd has made no com­ment on her future.

 

“WHEN NOBODY WAS WATCHING”

An excerpt from Carli Lloyd’s 2017 memoir about meeting her trainer, James Galanis, for the first time.

James is waiting. “Let’s start with some skill work and see where you are,” he says. I think this is a colossal waste of time. But I try to be a good soldier. “Sure.”

For the next hour I audition. I juggle. I dribble in and out of poles. I demonstrate my first touch, passing, volleying, my technique on the ball with every part of both feet.

In between, James asks questions. “Why do you think you were cut? What sort of teammate are you? Do you connect with people and support others? Do you like to go on the attack? What are your strengths? Do you get back on defense?”

Almost every answer I give is full of excuses or finger-pointing. The amount of ownership I take is negligible. I don’t mind the questions, because it gives me time to rest. About 20 minutes into a one-hour session, I am gassed.

James says he wants to meet again on Saturday to do a fitness evaluation.

“This wasn’t fitness?” I ask.

“No, this was just a skill evaluation.”

There’s something I like straight away about James. He is very clear and direct. I like the questions. I like that he doesn’t baby me.

On Saturday afternoon I report to the track at Lenape High. James wants me to do the Cooper Fitness Test, running at a steady pace as far as I can go over 12 minutes. After that I do interval work—400 meters, 200 meters, 100 meters. I go hard and do my best but, honestly, it’s not very good and I know it. As I rest, James asks more questions.

Finally, after I knock out as many sit-ups and pushups as possible in two minutes, he asks me to sit down on the red bleachers. “O.K., Carli, this is the story as I see it,” he says. “Can you make the U.S. Women’s National Team? Yes, you can. It is going to take a whole lot of work. But if you put in that work, then I don’t see any reason why you can’t go as far as you want.”

Then he provides the most detailed evaluation of me I’ve ever gotten. “You are very strong [technically and tactically]. But you are not fit. Mentally, you are weak. You don’t push yourself hard and you are lazy. You aren’t the sort of player who is going to thrive under pressure. And your character? That is poor. You make excuses and find people to blame. You always have a reason things are not working out, instead of focusing on what you can do to make them work out.”

This coach, a man who barely knows me, has just shredded me, and somehow I am fine with it. I don’t argue or push back on anything. It’s almost as if I’ve been waiting for someone like this my whole life.

 

October 2019
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