Carli Lloyd was already the pride of Delran, N.J.
Within days of being a key part of the 2012 Olympic gold-medal winning women’s soccer team, Lloyd was back home in South Jersey sharing her joy with the entire community. There was a parade, she threw out the first pitch at a Phillies game, she spoke at clinics and did appearances.
Imagine what it might be like this time around.
Lloyd became the first to ever score at hat trick in the World Cup final Sunday and became the second American to win the Golden Ball as the tournament’s top player. She was called out on Twitter by President Obama and her class and grace were widely noted when she passed the captain’s armband to Abby Wambach when the veteran came on to the field in her final World Cup match.
The World Cup is another mark on her already impressive resume of clutch performances. She scored the only goal in the 2008 Olympic final victory over Brazil in extra time. At the London Olympics, she notched both goals in a 2-1 triumph over Japan.
Before, during and the aftermath of the World Cup, Lloyd, 32, talked about her upbringing, being considered a tomboy, how she matured into the leader for Team USA and her possible post-soccer plans. Here is a compilation from Gannett partner, The Courier-Post in Cherry Hill, N.J., and USA TODAY Sports.
On how New Jersey will react to her performance in the World Cup:
“It’ll be wild when I get back to Jersey. I might have to stay inside my house for a few days.”
On the impact of her World Cup performance:
“I think I’ve pushed on my status a little bit and I have to stay up here. So it’s not right away, but I’ll be back to work and back stronger than ever.”
On being considered a tomboy as a kid:
“It’s funny as you grow older you realize there’s things that you just don’t need to worry about. As a kid, it’s really hard to go through those times of being a teenager and I know when I was really active it was looked upon as, ‘Well, you’re not girly enough.’ So it was hard going through that, but once I reached the high school level, it was really cool to be an athlete. I think that’s when I started to really embrace it and own it and enjoy it.”
Your high school coach, Rudi Klobach, died from ALS in January. What impact did he have on you?
“He appreciated everything around him and you could sense he valued life in general. He wanted us to enjoy every session and every game and wanted us to build unforgettable moments and we did.”
On maturing into her role with the U.S. national team:
“It’s crazy to see where I started to where I am now. I think that my talent took me as far as it could. I wasn’t international-ready when I first came on to the scene. I had to go through a lot of growing pains. I had to mature. I had to become a better thinker on the field. I had to be fit. Now I’m finding myself in a role where I am a leader. I am a veteran and it’s my job to go out there each and every game and show people what I can do and help my team win.”
On how her approach has evolved as she became more established:
“I think I approach things a little bit differently. I don’t want to become complacent. I want to continue to improve. My approach is not taking time off and taking things easy.”
On not being in the starting lineup in the first game of the 2012 Olympics:
“I thought my career was probably over. I didn’t think I’d step onto the field in the Olympics. To step out there in the first game after 15 minutes and then play the whole rest of the tournament, come away with a (gold) medal, score a few goals in the final, that’s, so far, my fondest memory.” (That might have been surpassed by the last few weeks.)
On how she wants to be remembered:
“The way I want to be remembered is as a good role model. It’s really important for me because I didn’t have a live role model when I was (a kid). For me to help inspire them and to push them, there’s lots of mental things you go through, there’s so many things I can kind of help them with.”
On her plans after her soccer career:
“I want to get out and speak. I like the mental side of the game. Who knows about commentating? Lots of former players are doing that. There’s always those things, but I think solely I’m focused on tackling this World Cup and this Olympics.”