Carli Lloyd: 'I'll know the right time to hang the boots up'

One of the surprises of the USA's 4-0 win over Colombia on Monday was Vlatko Andonovski's decision to give Carli Lloyd 90 minutes.

Lloyd, who will turn 39 in July, is the oldest player on the national team and was playing her first competitive match in 10 months after sitting out Sky Blue FC campaign's 2020 campaign in the NWSL Challenge Cup and Fall Series.

“She’s coming off a knee scope and playing 90 minutes," Andonovski said. “I think that’s incredible. It was just a good example for some of the younger players in terms of what it takes to be on the next level.”

Lloyd was a reserve at the 2019 Women's World Cup -- "absolutely the worst time of my life," she said afterwar -- but scored 10 goals in 13 games over the second half of 2019 and in 2020. She said there's no question about her returning in 2021 for a run at making her fourth Olympic team.

"This was the longest hiatus and longest break mentally and physically that I’ve ever had in my career," she said in the postgame media call after the win over Colombia. "I’ve had been fortunate enough with injuries I’ve broken a lot of bones. This was unfortunately my first surgery. I thought I’d make it through my career without a surgery but I was pretty, pretty close."

Lloyd, who has 295 caps, said the pandemic shutdown allowed her time off she had not gotten before.

“The previous injuries that I’ve had, there’s always been kind of a timetable and a rush to to somewhat get back," she said. "This gave me time to literally shut off and spend time with my husband and reconnect with my family, which I’m extremely grateful for, being at peace with a lot of things. I’m feeling really good. This is probably the best I’ve felt. I just have to keep going, keep pushing on. I’ll know the right time to hang the boots up.”

Lloyd's goal isn't just to make the Olympic team but to start. She's been vocal in her criticism of former national team coach Jill Ellisfor not starting her in France in 2019.

With Alex Morgan missed the start of the January camp after testing positive to COVID-19 and Christen Press at Manchester United, Lloyd was the obvious first-choice to start at center forward on Monday, but she is not the only option. Catarina Macario was finally eligible to play for the USA but she ended up playing the second half on the left wing in place of Megan Rapinoe because her former Stanford teammate, Sophia Smith, was injured in warm-ups. Smith was supposed to enter the game for Rapinoe.

Lloyd was the target of many long balls in the Colombia penalty area but couldn't add to her 123 career international goals, putting most of her headers straight to Colombia goalkeeper Sandra Sepulveda.

“I guess I was pretty accurate,” she laughed.

More seriously, Lloyd, who recorded a pair of assists on goals on the Mewis sisters, Samantha and Kristie, said heading was the last thing she started working on at home.

"I was pretty happy with my timing, a little bit," said Lloyd, who has stopped working with James Galanis, her longtime personal coach. "But I still needed to kind of be a little bit more accurate and get a little bit more power behind it."

Lloyd only played six U.S. games in 2020, the fewest in more than a decade, but the time off allowed her to not only recharge physically but also mentally.

“I think it’s been pretty cool that things have come full circle for me," she said of the chance of the chance to spend the holidays with her family. "My family was at the start of my career and now they’re getting to be part of it at the end. I’m really grateful.”

7 comments about "Carli Lloyd: 'I'll know the right time to hang the boots up'".
  1. Nick Gabris, January 22, 2021 at 11:33 a.m.

    Time to hang them up! A younger player needs the chance to shine. You had an amazing carreer.


  2. Wooden Ships replied, January 22, 2021 at 12:05 p.m.

    I think she is still money and the Olympics is probably her last big tournament. She also has an instinct that very few posses as well as a hunger to score. Our Zlatan.

  3. Bob Ashpole replied, January 23, 2021 at 2:35 p.m.

    WS, I agree. Carli is still training hard and her age is not holding her back. She may not be selected, but it won't be because of her age. It is very difficult to forget her "level 10" performance in the 2015 final. She is a clutch player, raising her play for big games. And we will have some big games coming.

    Carli is still in the mix because she reinvents herself. I suspect that Rapinoe is in a tougher spot because she has one position she covers.

  4. Racer Exxe, January 22, 2021 at 12:51 p.m.

    Go for the GOLD Carli! USA 2021

  5. Kevin Sims, January 22, 2021 at 1:07 p.m.

    I've never understood the "yield to younger players" perspective. Fight like heck to be the #1 and make the younger players pass you! In elite competitions, the coach will select the players that give the team the best chance to win today. If Carli plays in the Olympics, she will have earned it. If a younger player plays, she will have earned it. MERITOCRACY is the only criteria any coach uses to win on the biggest stages. 

  6. R2 Dad replied, January 22, 2021 at 6:39 p.m.

    Not always so straight-forward. Olympics means smaller squad AND fewer days between matches. Which means recovery time is critical, and old players take longer to recover than younger. It might not bite carrying older players at first, but later in the tournament is when it would make the biggest difference and matter most.

  7. Bob Ashpole replied, January 23, 2021 at 10 p.m.

    It all depends on the coach's approach. The US has the depth to run a two platoon system. If that were the case, Lloyd and some others would only need to play every other match, giving them 5 days between matches. Ellis was a master at managing fatigue and it was a big part of the US success.

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