On Sunday night, Carli Lloyd was among 45,000 fans who turned up at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis to see the Rolling Stones.
She even got to meet Mick Jagger.
Stardom gave Lloyd and U.S. teammates Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan the chance to do the latter.
Approaching retirement has allowed Lloyd to enjoy the former.
"I've often missed out on going to do things for fun," she said ahead of Tuesday's farewell game with the U.S. national team against South Korea in St. Paul. "I'm not missing out on anything now."
At 39, Lloyd is half Jagger's age.
"I was really happy that I decided to go see the Rolling Stones live," she said. "They were unbelievable. They sorta make me feel like I should keep playing. Mick Jagger running down the stage at the age of 78, and performing the way that he did was pretty incredible."
Since Lloyd turned 39 in July, she has played nine games for the USA and scored eight goals. She'll play for the USA on Tuesday night and Gotham FC for the rest of the NWSL season. She could continue playing, but she says she's ready to move on.
"I don't think that there's many that understand what it actually takes," she said during an emotional media call on Monday. "I just said the other day at training it's very tiring to continue to prove people wrong. And it's nice knowing that for 17 years, I've just been on that mission to be the best that I possibly can be."
Lloyd said she's changed, or at least changed her focus:
"It's also amazing to have not only the focus that I had throughout my career, but to then have this different emotion that I can actually enjoy the stadiums, the fans, see the posters, see the jerseys, just be in the moment. I've had the best of both worlds, and I can't look back and say I wish I did this, or I wish I focused a bit more."
She said the next phase of her life will be no different:
"I'm going to find something that I'm passionate about and do it to the best of my ability. I want to eventually start a family with my husband and want to be the best mom and strive to be the best wife that I possibly can. And it's just going to be a little different. I'm not going to be feeling the pressure of having to perform in World Cup and Olympics, but I got to do that and now I'll just shift gears into something different."
Lloyd is the second-most capped player in soccer history with 315 games played and fourth all-time with 134 international goals scored. She won Olympic gold medals in 2008 and 2012, scoring the winning goals in both gold-medal games, and she won Women's World Cup championships in 2015 and 2019. Lloyd has made it look easy but she repeatedly comes back to just the opposite.
"You all see the first 10 minutes of a training session the day before a game, you watch us play 90 minute games once, twice a month," she told the USWNT media contingent, "but you don't see everything that goes into this behind the scenes having to be your ultimate best every single day, having to evolve under different coaches in different positions, in different areas of the game. It is so, so hard to be here."
"We all have had different journeys, different stories, but I think what makes people great on this team, what makes great athletes great in their respective sports is how hard their journey is. You have to just embrace it and be able to persevere through anything that's thrown your way."
Photo: Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire