Born in 1982 in New Jersey, soccer player Carli Lloyd became the all-time leading scorer at Rutgers University. After joining the U.S. senior national team in 2005, the midfielder delivered the winning goals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics to win gold for the Americans. Lloyd was voted the top player of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup following her hat trick vs. Japan in the final.
Early Years and Schools
Carli Anne Lloyd was born on July 16, 1982, in Delran, New Jersey, to parents Steve and Pam. After learning to play soccer at age 5, she developed her natural abilities by playing pickup games and practicing for hours on her own at her local field.
Lloyd went on to star at Delran High School, where she was twice named the girls' High School Player of the Year by the Philadelphia Inquirer. She also played for the Medford Strikers club team as a teenager and helped them win back-to-back state cups.
Remaining close to home playing for Rutgers University, Lloyd became the university's all-time leading scorer and the first player in school history to earn first-team all-conference honors for four consecutive years. She was also voted to the NSCAA All-America team three times.
Professional and International Success
Lloyd was a member of the U.S. junior national team that won the Nordic Cup from 2002-05, but she also considered quitting the sport after being cut from the team at one point. She then began meeting with a local coach named James Galanis, who determined that Lloyd needed to develop her fitness and mental toughness to match her world-class talent.
The workouts with Galanis paid major dividends. Lloyd was named to the U.S. senior team, and made her first international appearance in July 2005 vs. Ukraine. In 2007, she was voted MVP of the prestigious Algarve Cup, and made her FIFA Women's World Cup debut that summer.
Having established herself as a key member of the national team's midfield, Lloyd assumed a starring role for the U.S. women at the 2008 Olympics. She scored the lone goal in a victory over Japan in the group stage, and then netted the game-winner in overtime vs. Brazil to give the Americans the gold medal. Afterward, she was named the U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year.
Lloyd turned her attention toward pursuing her career on home soil, playing for the Chicago Red Stars of the Women's Professional Soccer league in 2009. She joined Sky Blue FC in 2010 and the Atlanta Beat in 2011, where she reunited with her old coach, Galanis. That year she also played in her second World Cup, which ended with a heartbreaking loss to Japan in the final.
Prior to the start of the 2012 Olympics, Lloyd was devastated to learn she'd been demoted to a backup role. However, she returned to the starting lineup following an injury to teammate Shannon Boxx, and surged to a fantastic finish by scoring both U.S. goals in a victory over Japan for the gold medal.
In 2013, Lloyd netted her 46th international goal to become the top-scoring midfielder in U.S. national women's team history. She also displayed that top form on the local level, helping the Western New York Flash of the National Women's Soccer League reach the championship game. The following year, she was named to the league's Best XI Second Team.
2015 World Cup, 2016 Legal Action, Olympic Loss
Carli Lloyd again delivered on the big stage during the 2015 World Cup. Taking over the captain's armband after the early games, she scored the lone goal in a quarterfinal win over China, and buried a penalty kick to net the first score in a tense semifinal matchup with Germany. Lloyd then stunned Japan with an incredible three goals in the first 16 minutes of the final, setting the tone for a resounding 5-2 win that gave the U.S. its first World Cup title since 1999. Afterward, she was honored with the Golden Ball as the top player of the tournament.
Following this achievement, in March 2016 Lloyd joined several of her teammates to file a federal complaint of wage discrimination against U.S. Soccer, citing inequities between its compensation for players on the women's and men's national teams.
That summer, Lloyd and her teammates headed to the Olympics in Rio with the goal of earning a fourth straight gold medal for the women's team. However, their run instead came to an early end with a surprising loss to Sweden in the quarterfinals. Despite the loss in Rio, Lloyd triumphed several months later, in January 2017, when she won her second straight Best FIFA Woman's Player award beating out top contenders like Germany’s Olympic gold medalist Melanie Behringer and Brazil’s superstar and five-time winner, Marta.
Lloyd is engaged to her high school sweetheart, Brian Hollins, a golf pro at the Trenton Country Club in New Jersey. They plan to get married after the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Brazil.
A soccer junkie, the veteran national team star continues to play in pickup games during the offseason. She also runs a summer soccer camp.
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