By Dave Wieczorek
Carli Lloyd knows something about deflating moments, and how to pump yourself up for the challenges they present. When starring at Rutgers in the early 2000s, she was devastated when cut from the under-21 national team and almost hung up her soccer spikes for good.
“I kind of hit a brick wall and wasn’t sure I was going to continue on in the sport,” Lloyd says. “I quickly realized that I needed to work harder and needed to not just rely on my talent to get me to the top.”
All her hard work helped Lloyd get to the top big-time in July, when she led the United States to the World Cup title with a 5-2 victory over Japan. She scored three goals in the final and earned the Golden Ball player of the tournament award, confirming the New Jersey native’s status as one of the greatest soccer players on earth.
Lloyd will share the inside story of her incredible journey during “A Conversation With Carli – Success On and Off the Field” at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 23, when she kicks off the 2015-16 Broward College Speaker Series, presented by Hoffman’s Chocolates. The event, co-sponsored by City & Shore Magazine, will be presented at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale.
More than 53,000 fans attended the World Cup final at Vancouver’s BC Place Stadium and another 26 million-plus television viewers tuned in, the most ever for a soccer game – men or women.
“I would have never imagined all of this,” says Lloyd, who starting playing soccer at age 5.
The 33-year-old Lloyd, who also scored the winning goals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold-medal games, says what she and the team accomplished with the World Cup victory “has been great, but I also know that I have five years left, and I’m still hungry for more.”
She took some time after the World Cup to savor that victory and all its rewards, “but now it’s looking out towards Olympic qualifying in February. After that it’s all business mode until Rio,” she says, referring to the 2016 Summer Games in Brazil.
“I set the bar high after the World Cup final, and now I have to keep getting better and improving.”
The aggressive nature that drives her life became engrained in Lloyd’s character during her years competing in various youth sports.
“I’m not saying every kid is going to become a professional athlete, but sports teaches you valuable lessons,” she says. They are “life lessons that you can’t learn in the classroom” about staring down struggles and overcoming obstacles.
“It’s amazing what happens when you put your mind to something and just go out every day and work towards that dream – you can reach it,” Lloyd says. “That’s basically all I’ve been doing for the last 12 years, grinding away and working. I’m not getting recognized because I posed in a swimsuit edition of some magazine, but because of what I do on the field, and that’s important to me.”
The soccer star has dedicated her entire life to succeeding on the highest playing field.
“Everything else comes second,” she says, “but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
IF YOU GO
Tickets for the Broward College Speaker Series, presented by Hoffman’s Chocolates at the Broward Center, are available through the AutoNation Box Office at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 954-462-0222, or visit BrowardCollegeSpeakerSeries.com.