Born: July 16, 1982
Town: Delran, New Jersey
Carli Anne Lloyd was born July 16, 1982 in Delran. She was one of three children born to Pam and Stephen Lloyd. Youth soccer was a popular sport in the Philadelphia suburb and Carli showed a special aptitude for the game around the age of 7. By the time she made the Delran Bears varsity in 1997, Carli was an accomplished midfielder who could control the flow of a game with her dribbling and passing.
Playing for coach Rudy Klobach, Carli was named state Player of the Year as a junior and senior, averaging a goal a game. She was a Parade All-American in 1999 and 2000, attracting a slew of scholarship offers, and earning a spot with the W-League Central Jersey Splash and New Brunswick Power as a teenager.
Carli followed in the footsteps of another Delran High star, Peter Vermes, and ended up at Rutgers. She was the team’s leading scorer as a freshman and was named Big East Rookie of the Year. As a sophomore, she was a Hermann Trophy finalist. Under the tutelage of Glenn Crooks, Carli was a First-Team All-Big East midfielder in each of her four varsity seasons for the Scarlet Knights. She graduated as the first Rutgers athlete—man or woman—to earn that honor four years in a row. She also set school marks with 50 goals and 117 points.
While in college, Carli began building her international résumé as a member of the U.S. Under-21 team. She played her first game with Team USA in the summer of 2005, against Ukraine, and scored her first goal a year later, against Taiwan. She became a starter for the team during the Algarve Cup in 2006. During the 2007 Algarve Cup, Carli came into her own as an international star, netting four goals and being named tournament MVP. She was also a key player in the Women’s World Cup in 2007, in which Team USA finished a disappointing third. On the year, Carli scored nine times—third best on the squad.
The 2008 season saw Carli’s star continue to rise. She was named US Soccer Athlete of the Year after registering 9 goals and 9 assists in 35 starts. Two of those goals were game-winners during the 2008 Olympics—one against Japan in group play and the other in the gold-medal final, a 1–0 victory over Brazil.
Carli continued to play a starring role for Team USA in 2009, while also suiting up for the Chicago Red Stars of Women’s Professional Soccer in its inaugural season. An ankle injury during a 2010 WPS game sidelined her for much of year. However, she played a key role in Team USA’s qualifying run to the 2011 World Cup—including a great performance in the team’s 2011 Algarve Cup championship. In July 2011, Carli scored her first goal in World Cup play, against Colombia. Team USA reached the final, but lost to Japan in a shootout.
America had better luck in 2012. Team USA won the Olympic Qualifying tournament in Vancouver, and Carli notched her first international hat trick in a 3–0 win over Costa Rica. At the 2012 London Olympics, Carli scored twice during the group stage, then exploded for two goals in Team USA’s 2–1 victory over Japan in the gold medal final. Carli thus became the first play—man or woman—to score gold medal-winning goals in two Olympics.
A few months later, Carli was named 2012 FIFA World Player of the Year. In 2013, she scored her 46th career goal for the U.S. squad, surpassing Julie Foudy as Team USA’s all-time top-scoring midfielder.
During qualifying for the 2015 World Cup, Carli scored in victories over Guatemala, Haiti and Mexico. She scored a second goal in the Mexicomatch on a penalty kick. In the 2014 CONCACAF final, she scored one of Team USA’s six goals in a shutout of Costa Rica. In the final month of 2014, Carli netted four goals in the Tournament of Brasilia to bring her international total to 61.
At the Women’s World Cup in Canada, Carli played beautifully at midfield as the Americans won their group and advanced to the knockout round. Against Columbia in the Round of 16, Megan Rapione was fouled in the box and Carli netted the penalty kick to seal a 2–0 victory. The Columbians should have expected a Lloyd goal—she had scored in every one of their previous meetings.
In the quarterfinals, Carli appeared in her 200th international match, captaining the U.S. squad against China. A few minutes into the second half, she broke a scoreless tie with a header in the bottom right corner off a hard cross by Julie Johnston. Hope Solo made the 1–0 lead stand up and the Americans advanced to the semifinals for the seventh time in a row.
Carli broke a scoreless tie again in the semifinals against Germany, which went into the match as a slight favorite. She took a second-half penalty kick after Alex Morgan was dragged down in front of goalie Nadine Angerer. Carli calmly drilled a shot into the left corner to give team USA a precious 1–0 lead. Fifteen minutes later, Carli made a power move at the left side of the box and put a short cross onto the foot of Kelley O’Hara. O'Hara scored the first goal of her international career to make the final score 2–0.
In the gold medal final, Carli personally blew apart Japan's game plan to control the action by scoring two quick goals off set plays. She added a third on a long, arcing ball struck near midfield that caught Ayumi Kaihri too far from her net. As the Japanese goalkeeper tried to backpedal, she lost the ball in the sun, stumbled and could not tip the ball away. Carli's hat trick made the score 4–0. Team USA went on to win 5–2. Late in the game, Abby Wambach subbed in for Tobin Heath. Carli peeled the blue captain's band from her arm and wrapped it around Abby's.Carli played aggressively from whistle to whistle, never letting up for a moment against Japan. She was awarded the Golden Ball as tournament MVP. Her hat trick was the fastest in the history of World Cup play. It was the 69th international goal of her career.