The average human being would probably be pretty tired after spending nearly three hours signing books and taking pictures with hundreds of screaming teenage girls.
Carli Lloyd, as everyone knows by now, is not an average human being.
She was as unruffled at the start of Thursday night's festivites in Cherry Hill as she was at the end. The Delran native spoke with a gaggle of local reporters before the event got going, then chatted with me and colleague Kate Harman after it finished.
Here's a transcript of everything Lloyd had to say.
How does it feel to be at the home stop on your book tour?
Well, I haven't seen the crowd yet. I've seen pictures. It's really awesome. You sort of pinch yourself and look down at your book that you wrote, and it's just pretty amazing.
Why write the book now?
Well, obviously, scoring three goals in a World Cup [final] kind of presented itself as the opportunity to write a book.
It's funny, because my trainer, James Galanis, has been telling me to [write a] journal ever since I set foot on the national team in 2006. I didn't really understand it, but he told me to make sure to journal everything from that point on until the end of your career, because we were going to write a book one day. Good thing I did that, because my memory is absolutely horrible, and we had to refer back to those journals. They came in handy.
It's great to get my story out, because I'm a local kid who grew up in a blue-collar town, Delran, and trained in not the most glamorous places. There's goals, there's balls, there's cones, and that's really all I need.
About how long did it take you to write the book?
September 2015 is when Wayne [Coffey, her ghostwriter] and I started. A lot of interviews, a lot of chats. I know that he worked tirelessly watching games, interviewing other people, family members, because maybe my memory wasn't as good. Looking at all our archival material - e-mails, texts, journals. It was a long process, between getting the material, figuring out the title, the sub-title, and then editing it. So it's been a long journey.
Was there any part of it that was the most difficult or trying, going back through all that stuff - other than just the work of doing it?
For a split moment, it was looking at all this stuff, everything that I've accomplished. You don't stop and think of everything that you've accomplished because you continue to want more and more. For me, one [thing] was putting this book together. I was looking at every obstacle I had to face, and every challenge that came my way.
I can honestly say I look back at my career and I regret nothing. There's not a single thing I wished that I did differently. You always learn through those trying moments, those tough moments, and I've had a lot of them. It's made me stronger.
At what point did you feel comfortable going public with everything that happened with your family?
Well, actually, when we were meeting with publishers, I never mentioned once anything about my family. Everything was purely soccer, and that's how I was going to keep it.
After giving Wayne a little bit of the backstory of my family - because obviously he was asking, he wanted to pop over to their house and interview them - I had to let him know what was going on. I told him, "I don't want to include it in the book. I think it's just private, I don't want to share it."
We spoke at length a couple of times, and he said, "Look, I think this a big part of your journey, and you'd be kind of failing the readers by not having it in there." I decided that this was part of my journey. To a lot of different people, it was the worst thing in the world, really, for my family to not be a part of this [and] for me to have to continue to be strong and move on without them. I'm happy that I did it, and hopefully in the near future we can put the pieces back together.
And the same with the crash in late 2008 on the Garden State Parkway that destroyed your car and could have seriously injured you - or worse - but you were able to escape?
It's, again, just part of the story. Actually, that's probably the one regret I had - I probably should have never left my house that day. But I really, really wanted to bake some cookies that weekend [she said laughing]. It was a scary moment. Lucky to be alive. It just goes to show you that life can be over in a blink of an eye, and you want to have no regrets.
What's it like to know that all these kids here are waiting your autograph? It's nothing new to you, but even little boys up look to you, not just girls. Has it kind of transcended this area? What does that mean to you? Is being a role model something you think about often?
Yeah, it is. I pride myself on being a role model. I don't have to leave the house and suddenly put on that role model hat. It's just who I am.
I think the biggest message is, I was really against all odds. Nobody really thought I would go on to become the best player in the world. I didn't even think that. The only person who did really think that was James [Galanis]. Thirteen years later, we've accomplished that, but now I still want more.
So I think it's just a good lesson and a good inspiration to a lot of different kids out there that no matter what's going on in your life - whether your family members aren't speaking to you, or your coach doesn't like you - you can make it to the top through hard work and perseverance.
What was this night like overall?
It's awesome. This is my third big signing [she did events in in New York and northern New Jersey on Monday] and it's been cool. This is really what it's all about. Kids look up to me, and it's inspiring. I'm proud of the book, I'm proud of who I am and what I've accomplished, and I want to help inspire the next generation.
Some of your old Medford Strikers teammates were here, and you were surrounded by faces that knew you and that you knew. What's it like to share this event with them?
They've been a big part of it. I have Brian's family [Brian Hollins, her fiancé], who've really been here from the beginning. We started dating in 2000, so we've known each other half our lives.
It's cool - everyone has seen the journey, the ups and downs, where I started out, where I am now. That's why all of these people are near and dear to me: because they've been there since the beginning. They've believed in me, supported me.
It was special to have a bunch of my former Medford Strikers teammates [here]. That was honestly one of the best teams I've played on, just as far as having so much fun with the girls, and traveling every single weekend. Our parents all got along.
And just the number of people here. That wouldn't necessarily have been the case a couple of years ago - even more so the number of people wearing jerseys with your name and number on the back. Is that still something you're getting used to?
It's different. Before, no one could even find a number 10 jersey, and if it was, it was one they made from scratch. It's cool. I go to games and I look around the stadium and I try to sign every number 10 jersey that I see, because I'm thankful that they're repping my jersey and supporting me.
One of the funniest stories in your book is that you picked the number 10 jersey because it was the number Phillies star Darren Daulton wore. People assume it's because of the position you play in midfield, but it's not?
I liked Lenny Dykstra as well. In one earlier photo [in the book] I was number 4. I remember trying to get the 4 on my club team, the Medford Strikers, but that was taken. So then I was like, "Alright, well, I like Darren Daulton, so I'm going to go with 10. That just stuck with me."
Did you know at the time that it was soccer's magic number?
Not really, no. I think back then, there was obviously Pelé and [Diego] Maradona, but [soccer] wasn't as massive.
Speaking of number 10s, have you met Christian Pulisic yet?
No, I haven't.
Would you like to?
Yeah. He's got talent. I like his style, I like his eye for the goal.
Would you have ever thought that two of the most talked-about American soccer players at a given time would be from around here? Granted, Hershey's across two rivers from Delran, but still, from the wider Philadelphia region?
It doesn't surprise me. It must be in the water.
This was one of the most memorable turns of phrase in your book, on the subject of the national team's locker room dynamics: "When you have a bunch of high-achieving, uber-competitive, strong-willed women in close quarters, stuff is going to happen sometimes."
By coincidence, your book came out within a week of Abby Wambach's, and she wrote about the same subject in much the same way. Do outsiders just assume that everything is perfect with the women's national team in a way that they might not assume about men's sports teams? You all are human beings too.
Yeah, absolutely. Everything comes with a price. We sacrifice so many things in our lives, whether that's missing funerals or weddings or family gatherings, or having issues with families or your boyfriend or your girlfriend. The team becomes a family, and with that, yeah, there are things. There's competition. It's part of it.
You also wrote that you have "a stubborn, life-long penchant for demanding perfection of myself and for beating up on myself when I fall short of it." Doesn't that sum up your whole career in a way?
Yeah, absolutely. It's this drive, this competitiveness within me. It's in my blood. I have tried to never become complacent no matter what I have accomplished.
I could have easily, after the 2008 Olympics or the 2012 Olympics or the 2015 World Cup, just been coasting along. But that's not me, that's not who I am. Whether I'm on the field, whether I'm doing signings, whether I'm doing a commercial or an appearance, I do it 100 percent. That's just my nature.
You certainly aren't alone in that. Plenty of other big U.S. national team stars over the years have had the same thing - Hope Solo and Abby Wambach in recent times come to mind for sure. And the same can be said of young players like Morgan Brian and Crystal Dunn.
As the U.S. national team pool becomes deeper and more diverse, do you have to have that drive more than ever in order to reach the top and stay there?
Yeah, you have to. You've seen players around the world who've become complacent. You see some of the male figures who were unbelievable, like Fernando Torres, and then just all of a sudden, you've won everything, and then you don't hear really much about them anymore. There's a lot of people like that. I think what separates the greats from the average player is that mindset.
How are the collective bargaining negotiations with U.S. Soccer going?
We're trying to set up two upcoming meetings, but [other than] that, we really haven't had anything going on with it.
Have you talked to Hope lately?
Yeah I have. She was sending me some photos of her shoulder [surgery]. Pretty gnarly stuff.
Did you know about the injury?
I did, yes. I knew she was going in [for surgery] and I had known prior that she was having a lot of issues with the shoulder. I'm happy she took care of it.
Was Hope ready for the stuff you wrote about her in the book to get out in public?
She read my excerpt in Sports Illustrated and was totally shocked. She couldn't believe that I shared so much and opened up. She just thought it was going to be this book about soccer and training. No, I opened up, and I went for it.
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