Carli Lloyd was lauded by her teammates and head coach. (Bernie Walls-USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
On Tuesday night, U.S. women’s national team icon Carli Lloyd will call it an international career in her final game for the USA, against the Korea Republic in St. Paul, Minn. (FS1, 8 p.m.)
Here is what some of her teammates and head coach Vlatko Andonovski had to say about Lloyd:
On the fact the Lloyd has played in more World Cup and Olympic games than any other player in USWNT history.
“That’s a testament to our longevity, but I also think that’s a testament to her just being a winner. She obviously is a big game player. She showed up in some of the biggest games that women’s soccer has to offer. We go long in those tournaments and a big reason is because we have players like Carli Lloyd. I’m not surprised to hear that stat at all. She’s just a player that’s proven herself over and over and over again, and a large reason that this team has been so successful is because of Carli Lloyd.”
“I’ve thought a lot about Carli, where she’s at and what she has done for this game in the United States. I know one thing that if she was a male player anywhere in the world, they’ll be statues of her in front of stadiums, in front of sports complexes everywhere.
“I think that’s what Carli deserves. She deserves stadiums and complexes and fields to be named after. She deserves the statues. I mean, she’s a legend, an absolute legend. Just the fact that I had a chance to work with someone like her, it’s very humbling for me. And it’s an honor. I’m happy to say that I had an opportunity to work with someone like her.”
Heath has played with Lloyd since 2008, which has included two Women’s World Cup championships (2015 and 2019) and an Olympic gold medal (2012) and bronze medal (2021).
“I can’t speak highly enough about Carli [on] what she’s meant to this team, to the federation, to myself personally. Obviously, coming from Jersey as well and having that type of role model, a few years older, was something that I couldn’t have asked for a better one.
“In the footballing world, she’s done things that are just unheard of in the game and legend status for sure. The way that she’s gone about her business and the type of professional she is, and the way that she’s the reason why the U.S. women’s national team has the history of success that that we’ve [is] in large in a large way due to Carli Lloyd 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 the 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.”
Just being around Lloyd has been a learning experience and a half for someone like the 21-year-old forward who said she has “had the pleasure of sitting with Carli” at the team’s assigned meal tables due to COVID-19 protocols. That would be table No. 3, in case you were wondering.
“I definitely don’t take that for granted. I pick her brain. I ask her questions. I just tried to learn from her because she’s been through it all. She has an experience unlike anyone. I’m going to take advantage of that, because it’s not every day that you get to interact and talk with a legend. Carli’s amazing. There really is no one like her.
“Getting to learn more about her, you really start to understand why she is who she is, why she’s accomplished what she’s accomplished and, and 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. I’m just lucky to be able to have these few camps to learn from her and witness her being exactly who she is.”
Before the Americans played the Korea Republic in its penultimate international of the year Oct. 21, Lloyd said on Instagram that Lindsey Horan would wear her famed shirt starting in 2022.
“Seems fitting as we celebrate your 💯 cap to also pass the #🔟 to you @lindseyhoran10,” she said. “Could not be more proud of the player you have become and the player you continue to push yourself to be. You are an amazing human being. Never change. I am so honored to pass the 🔟 to you when I say goodbye on 10/26. Wear it with pride every second you take the field. I will always be with you. I’ll be your biggest fan forever! Love ya my friend. ❤️”
During a postgame press conference at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan., Horan got emotional over the moment.
“I’m going to try my best not to cry,” Horan said. “I get excited and cried about seven times today, but to be perfectly honest, the meeting we had before the game Carlo presented the jersey to me with my name and No. 10 on it. And I think it was probably one of the most special moments in my career. I think Carli Lloyd is truly one of the most incredible woman’s national team players that has come through the system. 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 and even in the Olympics.”
During the Olympics, Horan and Lloyd sat at the same meal table.
“Table three, that was, that was my meal table,” Horan said. “Just having conversations with her and hearing her stories, and what she’s been through with this national team, things that no one else knows, is, is really, really cool. And I think those are the moments that last forever, for us and are kind of the most important. Soccer aside that 100 caps aside, Carli doing that for me and giving me the opportunity to wear her jersey and I’m so honored and I’m going to try to represent it in the best way I possibly can, and think of her every time I put it on.”