This is me: Carli Lloyd

Former USWNT star Carli Lloyd is a two-time Women’s World Cup winner and was twice voted FIFA’s player of the year. Recently in the UK to take part in Soccer Aid, she tells The Athletic about being “the complicated one”, nearing 40 and why she’d compare herself to an egg…

What’s the one question I’d ask myself?

I was always different, always the black sheep – did things my way. So maybe, “Why did I go about my career doing things differently?”

What’s the question I’m always asked?

What would I do if I wasn’t playing soccer? And I never know the answer because this is all I know. And all I ever wanted.

What’s the question I hate being asked?

People always allude to why I was so complicated. But I wasn’t. I think that gets under my skin because I was actually very simple. I had my routines and all, but other people constructed it as complicated.

What’s the question I’d ask my parents?

Now that I’m older I would ask what triggered them to sign me up for soccer and swimming, and all these various sports. What was it that gave them that idea? Because I’m so grateful for it. They signed me up for soccer at age five, so how do you even know? Maybe they just immediately saw I was passionate. But all the other sports too – being well-rounded and athletic really helped me throughout my career.

What’s the one thing you’d tell your 16-year-old self?

To not care what anyone says about you. It’s a hard thing when you’re that young. You worry about everything. When you get more comfortable in your skin and you get older you start to really come into your own. So, “Don’t always worry about what people think”, that would be my big thing.

How would you like to be remembered?

That’s an interesting question… actually that’s probably another one of the questions I hate. Like, “What’s your legacy?”

I think it’s for other people to talk about. I would always like to be remembered though as someone who was true to myself, true to others and respectful of others. It didn’t matter who you were – if you were somebody super famous or nobody knew anything about you, I always made an effort to treat every person with respect and just worked as hard as I could to achieve my dreams.

Carli Lloyd won the World Cup with the US in 2015 and 2019 (Photo: Getty Images)

When I look in the mirror I see…

A confident, strong woman. I hit 40 next month (July 16) but I think age is just a number. Physically I still feel great. It’s another year down and I’m just trying to make the most out of life, that’s the biggest thing. It’ll be the first summer and first birthday that I’ve been able to celebrate without my sport – usually, I’m away at a World Cup or at a game. So we’re going to have a nice little 40th bash. My dad is also turning 70 two days before so we’re going to couple that in with a nice big party.

The biggest unknown about my future life I want to know is

I was always wanting to predict the future throughout my career, wanting to know what was going to happen in certain circumstances. The older I got, and towards the end of my career, I realized I don’t really want to know the unknown. That’s the beauty of life, you have to live in the present moment and remind yourself that you don’t know what’s coming.

There’s nothing I really want to know, I just want to live with a purpose each and every moment of the day. For a long part of my life, I preferred to have control and know what was coming next. I’ve been doing some different thinking since I’ve been done playing and, you really can’t get caught up in: what’s a year from now? What’s two years from now? I think I’m doing a much better job now of letting go of the control, living in the moment and just getting excited about what’s to come in the future.

People would be surprised that I

I have software. My cousin once said I’m like an egg; I’m hard on the outside but really soft on the inside. I don’t think that people have ever seen that side of me. Maybe just towards the end of my career when I was getting emotional, but that’s exactly who I am. My game face is on when you see me in training or game mode but, deep down, I get emotional. I love those movies that really give me a nice little cry.

Football is

Beauty a beauty. It’s brought me to so many different places, I’ve met so many different people and it’s just the most beautiful game. Do I miss it? I love the game and I always will but no, I don’t miss it. It was time. I was so ready to be done and move into this next phase of life. The grind is hard. The travel and being away is hard. Being in the pressure cooker every second is hard.

This (Soccer Aid) is actually the first time I’m having a kick around since I played, besides my little soccer clinics that I do when I demonstrate. And I still got it. And who would’ve thought, as that little five-year-old girl, that this would be my journey and my life; being immersed in so many legends of the game and getting to have a kickaround?

(Top photo: Catherine Ivill – FIFA / FIFA via Getty Images)

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