FIFA Women's World Cup Australia/New Zealand 2023™

FIFA Women's World Cup Australia/New Zealand 2023™

FIFA Women's World Cup

Lloyd: The bigger the pressure, the better I play

Carli Lloyd celebrates scoring for USA at the 2020 SheBelieves Cup.
  • FIFA.com hears from inspirational USA star Carli Lloyd
  • Two-time gold medal winner planning towards Tokyo Olympics
  • Lloyd also talks 2023 Women’s World Cup and her famed big-game mentality

Few players, if any, have enjoyed as storied a career as USA mega-star Carli Lloyd. The midfielder/forward has played a pivotal role in helping the Stars and Stripes win two FIFA Women’s World Cups™ and two Women's Olympic Football Tournaments.

And Lloyd has been no bit-part player. Incredibly, she scored gold-medal-winning goals at both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. She was also named player of the tournament at Canada 2015 for a succession of match-winning performances, capped by that memorable hat-trick in the Final.

Renowned for her insatiable training regime, the seemingly ageless Lloyd is on track for yet another Olympic Games next year in Tokyo. FIFA.com spoke with USA’s inspirational star about her lifestyle during this year’s break in football, expectations for the Tokyo Olympics, big-game mentality and thoughts for the next Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

FIFA.com: Carli, you are famous for your training regime, but did you make any notable training or lifestyle changes during the COVID-19 break from football?

Carli Lloyd: Nothing really changed with my lifestyle except that I had more time in my schedule to be able to solely focus on my individual training. It was a nice change to not have to fly anywhere for an appearance or a shoot. I continued my training after the SheBelieves Cup and was getting in great training up until I hurt my knee.

How did you cope without being able to take the football field for so long, for both club and country?

I love playing football. I live and breathe it, but I have to be honest, this pause in life with everything on hold has been quite nice to take in and make the most of it. I am getting to spend more time with my husband Brian, be home in our house and really just take things one day at a time. I miss playing, I miss my team-mates and I miss the competition, but I will be ready to go and be more motivated then ever once I am back on the field.

Have you had an opportunity to do anything outside of football in recent months?

For the first time in my career soccer hasn’t come first. I have been nursing a nagging injury at the moment and it has allowed me to take my mind and body off my craft, which is a nice break for me. I haven’t been injured in over three years, so I think it is my body’s way of telling me to take a little break to rejuvenate myself. I have been cooking more, spending some time with family and friends and have even made a few trips to the Jersey Shore. I know I will look back on this time and cherish these months I had to really stop, reflect and enjoy the pause of life.

How much of an added motivation is playing at another Olympic Games?

Like everyone, it is disappointing to not have the Olympic Games this summer, but it now allows my team and myself to continue to train and prepare for another year. I am excited and I will be more motivated than ever to get back on the field and be the best version of myself.

You have an incredible record of personal achievement in major finals. Is there something in your mental approach that helps you deal with the big occasion?

I thrive in pressure situations. The bigger the pressure, the better I play. It is just in my blood to want to raise my game to help my team win. My preparation both mentally and physically is key to being able to perform in big moments.

You seem to be ageless. How is your body treating you in the second half of your career?

I feel really good. Soccer has been number one in my life my entire career. When I step off the field, I am making sure I am eating right, sleeping well, doing the necessary things to recover and train the right way. Consistency with all of these things has allowed me to be the best I possibly can be and stretch my career as long as I have. It is a full-time job and doesn’t work if you treat it as a part-time job.

USA's Carli Lloyd salutes the supporters
© Getty Images

Would you rule out playing at the Women's World Cup in 2023?

I never want to rule out anything, but it seems like a far reach for me. I will know when it is time to hang up my boots. Physically I still feel good, I still enjoy waking up every day and training, and I still love playing, but I do know that there are still things I want to do in my life before I get too old. My husband and I want to start a family and I also want to be able to enjoy my life a little before we do have kids.

Finally, what do you think about a tournament being hosted in Australia and New Zealand?

I am extremely happy for Australia and New Zealand being able to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup. I know it is going to be a spectacle and will be an amazing World Cup. The women’s game has continued to showcase amazing talent and will only continue to prove how far it has come and the importance of investing in growing the game.

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