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As a nation celebrated a magnificent 2019 World Cup run from the U.S. women’s national team, one of its stars was secretly fuming.
Carli Lloyd told former USWNT star Julie Foudy on her ESPN podcast that she was miserable in the aftermath of the 2016 Olympics and through this year’s World Cup thanks in large part to her diminished role with the team.
The 37-year-old spent much of her career starring as a scoring threat as a midfielder en route to winning the 2015 Golden Ball and being named FIFA Player of the Year twice. She scored three goals off the bench in a new role on coach Jill Ellis’ 2019 World Cup winner as Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan starred.
‘It really was rock bottom’
“I'm not going to lie and sugarcoat it,” Lloyd told Foudy. “It was absolutely the worst time of my life. It affected my relationship with my husband, with friends. It really was rock bottom of my entire career.”
Lloyd said that despite being sidelined with a significant ankle sprain suffered in 2017 as she transitioned to her new role as a forward in Ellis’ revamped system, she was playing some of her best soccer and deserved to be a starter in the World Cup. Instead, she came off the bench in six of the seven U.S. games.
“There's no denying it," Lloyd said. “I deserved to be on that field that whole World Cup, but I wasn't. And I think I've grown as a person, as a player. It sucked. It absolutely sucked.”
No hard feelings for World Cup stars
She told Foudy that despite her personal angst, she was happy to see Rapinoe take her star turn.
“I was super happy for my teammates and happy for Megan, who put the team on her back, and for several other players,” Lloyd said. “It was great to see, and I'm happy that I could still have been a part of it.”
Lloyd wants to keep playing
Lloyd wants to play for the USWNT in the Olympics next summer in Japan and is open to playing as a reserve. Ellis retired after the World Cup, and a new coach hasn’t been named.
“I hope a coach comes in that values me, respects me, wants me [as] a part of the Olympic plans,” Lloyd said.
Lloyd made headlines recently after kicking field goals as a guest at Philadelphia Eagles practice and has entertained seriously pursuing work as an NFL kicker. But she told Foudy she’s not ready to hang up her soccer cleats.
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