U.S. soccer star Carli Lloyd announced Monday that she will retire this fall, ending a 16-year career that included two World Cup championships, two Olympic gold medals and probably the greatest big-game performance in women’s soccer history.
The 39-year-old forward from Delran will continue playing in four U.S. national team friendlies and the remainder of the National Women’s Soccer League season with Gotham FC.
"My two main goals were to be the most complete soccer player I could be and to help the team win championships," Lloyd said in a statement released by the U.S. Soccer Federation. "Every single day I stepped out onto the field, I played as if it was my last game. I never wanted to take anything for granted, especially knowing how hard it is to get to the top, but even harder to stay at the top for so long."
Lloyd ranks second behind Kristine Lilly in U.S. national team appearances (312) and fourth in goals (128), including two in the bronze-medal victory over Australia at the Tokyo Olympics. She is also sixth in assists (64). Only three other players in international women's soccer have played in at least 300 matches.
Lloyd sustained her excellence in later years, scoring 92 goals in 177 games after turning 30.
“Carli Lloyd is a true legend,” U.S. Coach Vlatko Andonovski said in a written statement. “Her career was unique and her success on the field is something all current and future national team players should aspire to achieve.
Lloyd’s retirement comes as an older U.S. roster undergoes changes ahead of the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Five of the six forwards in Tokyo were 32 or older, including Megan Rapinoe, 36, and several other regulars are in their thirties.
Despite winning the past two World Cup titles, the Americans have fallen short in the past two Olympics, losing to Sweden in the 2016 quarterfinals and falling to Canada in this month's semifinals, ending a 20-year unbeaten run against the eventual gold medalists.
Before the Olympics, Lloyd hinted in an interview with The Washington Post that retirement was on the horizon.
"It's not going to be a physical thing where my body is breaking down and I have to retire," she said. "But there also comes that life decision of wanting to step away, to start a family, to be with friends and family."
Lloyd's decision comes after reconciling with her family following a 12-year estrangement. Over the past year, they reconnected and began working through issues that surfaced during Lloyd's youth career.
"To end my career knowing my family was able to be by my side and share this last chapter with me could not have been any more special," she said in Monday's statement.
Lloyd scored in all three Olympic medal games in which she played, including game-winners in the gold-medal matches at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Her greatest moment, though, came in the 2015 World Cup final against Japan in Vancouver, where she recorded a hat trick in the first 20 minutes and scored from midfield.
Lloyd was awarded the Golden Ball as the tournament's most valuable player. FIFA named her the 2015 world player of the year.
In four World Cups, the New Jersey native and Rutgers graduate scored 10 goals, third most in U.S. history. She is the program's career leader in Olympic goals (10).
Her pro career took her to six U.S. clubs, the past four years with New Jersey-based Gotham FC. She also had a brief stint with English club Manchester City in 2017.
Lloyd said she will cherish her playing days but is eager to spend more time with family, in particular her husband, Brian Holland.
“We are both looking forward to starting this next chapter of our lives without my everyday grind of training and playing, but I will most likely need another outlet for my competitiveness,” she said. “Perhaps that will be golf?”