Carli Lloyd, the Delran graduate who scored the game-winning goal in the gold medal game for the U.S. Olympic team, was named yesterday as the 2008 Female Athlete of the Year by U.S. Soccer, the sport's governing body in this country.

This is the highest honor awarded to soccer players in the United States and the first time Lloyd has received the honor.

A two-time Inquirer South Jersey player of the year at Delran, Lloyd started all six games for the U.S. team in the Beijing Olympics and played every minute of the tournament.

She scored two goals, the first coming in a 1-0 win over Japan. The goal she will always be associated with was her score in overtime in a 1-0 win over Brazil that earned the U.S. team the Olympic gold medal.

The 26-year-old Lloyd had career highs in both goals (nine) and assists (nine) during 2008 for the U.S. team.

"I'm truly honored to have won this award," Lloyd said in a statement released by U.S. Soccer.

"So many fantastic players have won this in the past and so many players this year were deserving of the award, as it was such a great year for this team."

Online voters at ussoccer.com accounted for 50 percent of the total votes, while the other 50 percent consisted of votes from members of the national media and U.S. Soccer representatives.

Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225 or mnarducci@phillynews.com.