On the Spot: Carli Lloyd

Every week at The Center Circle, we are highlighting a different player in a feature we call “On the Spot”. We’ll take a look at superstars, underrated gems, aging veterans, and young unknowns who should be known. We’ll peruse their club and international careers, taking note of their teams, statistics, and highlight reels. We’ll illuminate their strengths and weaknesses and comment on their personalities and reputations. It will be some fun. If there is anyone you want to see “On the Spot”, feel free to comment below.

Carli Lloyd

Carli Lloyd, USWNT

As the United States advance to the Round of 16 in this year’s Women’s World Cup, they will continue to look towards veteran midfielder Carli Lloyd for leadership on and off the field. Will the tournament end with the 32-year-old’s first ever Cup triumph?

Rutgers Roots

After a successful high school career in New Jersey, a young Carli Lloyd decided to continue her playing career with the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers University. Lloyd came into the program in 2001 and immediately made herself a permanent fixture for her new team. As a freshman, the midfielder was able to lead the Division I program with 15 goals and seven assists, and even earned Big East Rookie of the Year honors.

The success continued into her sophomore year as she again led the Scarlet Knights in scoring notching another 12 goals and earning 31 points in total. In her final two years with the program, Lloyd would score another 23 goals for the university and register a total of 117 points throughout her four-year playing career. These amazing statistics would later earn the midfielder a spot in Rutgers’ Hall of Distinguished Alumni.

Moving to the Pros

Carli Lloyd in NWSL

After leaving Rutgers, Lloyd would have to wait several years before joining a women’s professional league stateside. The formation of the WPS (Women’s Professional Soccer) in 2009 finally allowed the 27-year-old to showcase her talents on the professional stage. Lloyd’s rights were allocated to the Chicago Red Stars. During her one year in the Windy City, the midfielder appeared 16 times for the Red Stars and scored just two goals.

At the conclusion of the 2009 WPS season, Lloyd was a free agent and promptly signed with Sky Blue FC. The move allowed her to move back to familiar territory in New Jersey and even allowed her to play home games at her alma mater. The homecoming was short lived however as she broke her ankle during a match against her former employers the Red Stars. The injury kept her off the field for the majority of the season and kept her to just five appearances for Sky Blue.

Lloyd again moved the following season as she joined Atlanta Beat. The move to Atlanta was far from perfect as the team recorded just one win throughout the season and finished dead last in the league. Lloyd would register ten appearances for the Beat and score twice. At the end of this 2011 season, the WPS came to an early end and left the United States without a professional women’s league once again.

Two years later, another league emerged stateside called the NWSL and Lloyd would join the league as a member of the Western New York Flash. An injury at the start of the season kept the midfielder out for a couple games, but she still managed to make a total of 15 appearances for the fledgling club and scoring a professional best 10 goals during the season. The Flash would also finish the season with the best regular season record earning them the Supporters’ Shield, but they fell just short of claiming the league’s inaugural crown.

In Lloyd’s final year with the Flash, she led the league in a category that she may not have anticipated: fouls committed. She would score eight more goals in the 2014 season, and earned a place in the NWSL’s Second Best XI squad at the end of the campaign. Going into the 2015 season, Lloyd finds herself with another new home in Houston with the Dynamo’s NWSL affiliate the Dash.

International Career

USWNT Carli Lloyd

The start of Carli Lloyd’s illustrious national team career began in 2005 when she earned her first cap against Ukraine. It wasn’t until the following year that the Rutgers alum finally began to break into the US starting 11 during that year’s Algarve Cup. During 2006, Lloyd managed to appear in a grand total of 19 games for the Americans, starting 13 of them and scoring one goal in the process.

In the 2007 Algarve Cup, Lloyd had her best scoring run of her young international career as she found the back of the net in all four games that the US played in the tournament. 2007 also gave Lloyd the opportunity to appear in her first ever Women’s World Cup. It was a disappointing tournament for the powerful US side, however, as they suffered a humiliating 4-0 defeat to Brazil in the semifinals and finished third overall in the tournament. Lloyd would make five appearances in the cup, starting three of those matches.

Perhaps one of Lloyd’s greatest individual achievements came the year after the World Cup when she was named U.S. Soccer’s Female Athlete of the Year, beating out teammates like Abby Wambach and Hope Solo for the award. During 2008, Lloyd was tied for the team lead in matches played throughout the year as she played and started in 35 games. Offensively, this was also the midfielder’s most productive year on the field as she recorded nine goals and nine assists. Her fantastic play helped push the United States all the way to the gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The broken ankle she suffered with Sky Blue FC did limit some of her playing time with the national team, but Lloyd still managed to make 15 appearances in 2010. The following year, Lloyd would score her first career World Cup goal in a match against Colombia, and helped the US to a second place finish in the tournament after a heartbreaking loss to Japan on penalty kicks. The 2012 Olympics in London saw the midfielder become a hero stateside as she scored both goals in the country’s 2-1 victory over Japan in the gold medal match.

Now, the 32-year-old midfielder has registered 198 total appearances for the USWNT, and has scored 63 goals. On the current US roster, that puts her as the fourth-most capped player behind teammates Christie Rampone, Abby Wambach and Heather O’Reilly. In terms of goal production, Lloyd sits behind just Wambach and leads Alex Morgan by 12 goals.

Style of Play

A common theme for Carli Lloyd’s goals is their distance. The 32-year-old can accurately place her shot into the corner if given too much time and space by the opposition. This is the skill set that makes her a threat to score despite her position. On set pieces, Lloyd is just as capable to get her head on the end of a cross or fight through a crowd to pick up a rebound. With the US attack currently stalled in Canada, it might be time for Lloyd to spark the offense and push for the Cup.

 

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About the author: Collin Carpio

 

I am currently a senior at the University of Missouri in the Journalism School. I have been an avid follower of Manchester United since 2006 and of course I support the Stars and Stripes. Due to my St. Louis high school allegiances, I am a big supporter of Brad Davis and Sporting KC in MLS.

 

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