Screaming soccer fans of all ages came out on Oct. 5 as women’s national soccer player and FIFA World Cup winner, Carli Lloyd, took the stage in the Haas Center at Bloomsburg University.
The doors opened at 4 p.m., and I arrived at 3:45 p.m. The University did not do much advertising for the event. When I arrived, I quickly realized why. As I walked in, I was drowning in soccer players of all ages as well as their soccer moms and dads. As the doors finally opened, there was an ambush to get in. A group of 10 year olds knocked me out of the way to make sure they got the best seats. You could tell the crowd was eager to see Lloyd. Realizing I had no time to lose, I quickly grabbed my seat in the seventh row next to a team of 16 year olds.
The event started with a two-minute video recapping Lloyds career. I had
extreme goosebumps by the end of it. It set the tone for Lloyd coming out onto the stage. After the video was over, the crowd started chanting “Carli! Carli! Carli!” As she came out, the sound of the audience rose, and I cannot tell you how much screaming was going on because I myself was star struck. Lloyd wore a Nike sweat shirt, sweat pants, earrings, sneakers and looked absolutely gorgeous.
As she started her speech, I noticed she was very calm and humble, and appeared to be an extremely dedicated and hardworking person. She started out telling the crowd that she started playing soccer at 5 years old. Lloyd said she would have rather played soccer all the time instead of going to school. Her dream was to play for the U.S. Women’s national soccer team.
“Never stop believing in your dreams.”
Her parents set the foundation for her from the very beginning. “My parents believed in me and sacrificed their weekends, summers and nights off, and paid for everything,” Lloyd said. Lloyd was noticed as the best player on each team she was playing on time and time again. She had coaches telling her she could play on the National team but she didn’t believe them.
“I didn’t have the self-confidence.”
Lloyd attended Rutgers University in New Jersey and played on a full athletic scholarship. She was noticed again as the star of the team at Rutgers. Lloyd was also a part of the under 21 national team, but she knew she was not the star on this team. The under 21 national team was set to play in the Nordic Cup. It was Lloyd’s second year on the team when her coach called her into the office. Lloyd was told she wasn’t good enough, and that she wasn’t going with the team to play in the Nordic Cup. She left in tears.
“I don’t think I want to play anymore.”
Lloyd admitted that when the going got tough, she didn’t get going. She wanted to finish out playing at Rutgers and that would be the end of her soccer career. With motivation from her parents, Lloyd decided she would keep at it. She realized that she needed to put everything else aside and really dedicate her time to soccer.
“I needed to change as a person. I needed to take responsibility. I would blame coaches and other players for my mistakes. I also needed to get in shape.”
While the team was training for the Nordic Cup a player was hurt. The coaches contacted Carli and within two days she was training with the team. During the first game in the Nordic Cup, she saw playing time in the 80th minute and set up the goal that won them the game. She did not see much time in the three games that followed.
During her junior year at Rutgers, Lloyd contacted a personal trainer that trained her free of charge. “James believed in me. He was in my corner from the start. He was the first person in my soccer career that made me feel good about myself,” said Lloyd. Lloyd admitted that the training was very tough. James started asking Lloyd to perform a 12-minute run, Lloyds response was, “12 minutes straight?” Lloyd changed her dieting in 2009 and saw immediate results.
“I worked my way up to a 90-minute run. I can now do that in my sleep.”
Lloyd proceeded to talk about the World Cup which she said was tough. She started out slow, and said her confidence decreased as the games went on. During her third game, Lloyd’s confidence hit an all-time low. She called James and he suggested that she leave her hotel room. Lloyd did some retail therapy to calm herself down. The World Cup was always a dream of hers. She knew she had to get back into the swing of things for the U.S. versus China game.
“Your dreams have to come first.”
The U.S. reached the finals against Japan. Lloyd claimed the team was booming with confidence. This was the game where she made history by obtaining a hat trick (three goals) in just 16 minutes.
When asked what her most memorable goal was, Lloyd stated it was the midfield shot during the World Cup. “In a split second it happened, I don’t know why I tried it. I received the ball; touch passed it by the defender. I noticed the goalkeeper was standing off her line. When I struck the ball I knew I hit it perfectly,” said Lloyd. She waited and waited. The goal was made. After the ball went in she ran straight back to goal keeper, Hope Solo, because she was so close to her.
“After the midfield shot, Hope Solo asked me during the team huddle, ‘Are you even human?’”
The crowd was allowed to text in questions during the event. Lloyd answered many questions:
Q: The eagles need a better kicker, are you interested?
A: Well, I am curious as to how far I could kick a field goal.
Q: Why did you pick the number 10?
A: You see some of the best players in 10. I played for Medford Strikers in 6th grade and I had the number 10. It’s the best number to have.
Q: What is your dream now that you have won the world cup?
A: To win another.
Q: Favorite type of music to warm up too?
A: Latest and greatest. Coldplay, Ellie Goulding and Taylor Swift after being on stage with her during her concert.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
A: I would like to call myself a five-time Olympian and two-time World Cup Champion. I plan to play for another five years. After I am done playing I’d like to start a family.
Q: Favorite place traveled?
When asked what her favorite part about doing speeches in small towns like Bloomsburg is, Lloyd responded saying, “I think it’s just about getting my story out there. Teaching you all out here that I had a dream when I was younger and now I’m standing up here, and I’m able too tell you that my dream came true with a lot of hard work and dedication and sacrifice with good times and bad times.”
By the end of her appearance, I wanted to be best friends with her. She is a very personable and extremely relatable person. Not only is she an amazing soccer player, she is a fantastic role model for girls of all ages. Lloyd thanked her fans, as well as First Columbia Bank who sponsored the event.