Carli Lloyd is a shoo-in for the National Soccer Hall of Fame. (New Jersey Youth Soccer Photo)
By Michael Lewis
Let me make one thing perfectly clear.
Not only should Carli Lloyd be voted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame on her very first ballot in three years, but she should also be voted in by acclimation.
Anything less than a 100 percent vote would be stunning and anyone who did not vote for the U.S. women’s national team great should have their voting privileges revoked.
Yes, they are.
I don’t bully other voters, but anything else than a unanimous selection would be incredible. Lloyd should be a slam dunk.
She not only is one of the most iconic players in American soccer history, but on the planet.
If there was a Mount Rushmore of USWNT players, Lloyd would be chiseled among the legends, including Michelle Akers, Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach.
Everyone has their favorite moments of athletes.
I have a few about Carli Lloyd.
No. 1 on my personal list is her incredible hat-trick in the 2019 Women’s World Cup final triumph over Japan. More than that, Lloyd’s treble came within the opening 16 minutes, which is unheard of on the world stage. And her final goal, an audacious chip shot from midfield is one of the most iconic goals of all time.
👏 Thank you for inspiring so many young footballers across the globe, Carli
— FIFA Women's World Cup (@FIFAWWC) August 16, 2021
No. 2 is Lloyd connecting for the winning goal in the USA’s 1-0 win over Brazil in the 2008 Beijing Olympic gold medal match. What made the score even more significant was that Lloyd was an out-and-out failure at the Women’s World Cup in China the year prior. Instead of moping and feeling sorry for herself, Lloyd re-invented herself and put her nose and body to the grindstone, made sacrifices and became the dominant attacking force we have watched over the past 13 years.
And No. 3 – as Lloyd did herself one better, literally and figuratively, as she tallied a second Olympic game-winner, in a 2-1 victory over Japan in the 2012 London Summer Games. This, from a player who started the competition on the bench.
Two game-winning goals in consecutive Olympics was an astonishing achievement.
“Carli proved I was wrong before the Olympics,” U.S. coach Pia Sundhage said at the time. “I’m happy she is more clever than I am.”
And oh yes, at the moment, I am not eligible to vote for Lloyd. I am not on the players committee. I am on the builders voting committee.
If I could vote, Lloyd would be on the top of my ballot. Nothing more, nothing less for one of the greatest soccer players on this planet.