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‘Iced-out Carli’ no more - USWNT legend Lloyd aims to savor emotional farewell

19:00 GMT+3 26/10/2021
Carli Lloyd USWNT
The 39-year-old is taking a different approach as she reaches the end of her legendary national team career

As Carli Lloyd approaches the finish line of her career, she’s finally been able to take the blinders off.

In order to squeeze every last ounce of achievement from her playing days, Lloyd has never been able to savor success for long or stay in the moment for more than an instant. It’s always been about the next challenge, the next training session, the next trophy to win.

She has been, as she puts it: “Iced-out Carli.”

But after announcing that the U.S. national team’s four autumn friendlies would be her final international games, the 39-year-old has given herself the chance, for once in her career, to live in the moment.

“It's amazing to have not only the focus that I had throughout my career, but to then have this different emotion that I can actually enjoy the stadiums, the fans, see the posters, see the jerseys, just be in the moment,” Lloyd said ahead of her final USWNT game on Tuesday night. 

It will be an emotional atmosphere at Allianz Stadium in St. Paul, Minnesota as Lloyd earns the 316th and final cap of a career that has seen her win two Olympic gold medals, two World Cups and two world player of the year awards.

“I'm going to let the emotions flow the way they're going to flow,” Lloyd said. “I think I've been iced-out Carli for so long and people have always seen that. People haven't seen a different side of me, but I'm going to savor it. I'm going to savor every moment.”

Though she admits that her intense tunnel vision has at times been draining, Lloyd has no regrets when reflecting on her 17-year career.

“Sure there were times where maybe my focus was too intense, but I gave it all I had,” Lloyd said. “And I think that's what's really special walking away from this is knowing that I did give it all I have.”

One of the biggest casualties of Lloyd’s laser-like focus on her career has been her relationship with her family. Up until 2020, Lloyd had not been in contact with her parents for 12 years and had also been estranged from her brother and sister. But last year, partially due to cutting ties with her longtime personal coach James Galanis, she rekindled her relationship with her family. 

It will be extra special for Lloyd then, to look up in the stands on Tuesday and see so many family members in attendance, including her parents, brother and sister and three of her nieces along with her husband Brian and several of his family members as well.

“Over the course of my career I obviously haven't had my family in my life for a majority of that, and we've missed out on so many things together as a family,” Lloyd said.

“It's been hard – something that I sacrificed for a good portion of my career for 12 years. But since this last chapter has begun in 2020 and on, they haven't missed a single thing, which is really special. I don't know that I would be as happy as I am having them by my side, back in my life. Everything just feels like it's come full circle.

“Having them here, being able to close out my career is going to be the one of the best things that's ever probably happened to me. Just knowing I can walk away at peace and content is really really special.”

When she takes the field against South Korea on Tuesday, there’s no doubt that the vaunted Carli Lloyd focus will return. She could never completely turn that off, after all. But in those moments of calm, before the game and especially after it, one of the all-time greats will get a chance to take everything in.

“It's going to be truly special for one last time to give it everything I have for this team, for the crest, for the country, for the fans, and I'm going to soak it all in,” Lloyd said. “For sure, no tunnel vision tomorrow night, I'm going to soak every last possible minute out of it."