Carli Lloyd, who at 37 is bidding to become the oldest U.S. Olympic soccer player in history, is not dreading having to wait another year to make the team.
“I’m actually kind of excited because it gives me and my teammates another year to prepare to compete and to just push on and continue to get better,” Lloyd told Mike Tirico on NBCSN’s “Lunch Talk Live” on Tuesday. “I know that it’s obviously different with other sports because it’s very detailed as far as when you’re peaking and all of that. For a soccer player, there are details that go with the training, but it’s not heavily reliant when you’re pushing and when you’re not.”
Lloyd came out of the 2019 World Cup, where she was primarily a reserve, feeling she had earned more playing time and starts. With new coach Vlatko Andonovski, she was in the starting XI for the crucial match of Olympic qualifying in January and two of the three matches of the SheBelieves Cup in March.
She feels as fit as ever. And playing the best tactical soccer of her legendary career.
“To now have a coach who really values people, values the improvement of individuals as well as the team but also holds everybody accountable,” she said. “It doesn’t matter how old you are. It doesn’t matter how young you are. Everybody’s treated the same, and as long as you’re performing, you’re going to play. For me, that’s all I wanted. I wanted a fair shot. It’s up to me to perform.”
Making the Olympic roster will be more difficult than the World Cup team, given the number of players is reduced from 23 to 18.
Lloyd reportedly said in March that winning a third Olympic title would be satisfying enough to retire, but hasn’t flatly said that it would be her final tournament. Lloyd was captain at the Rio Olympics, where the U.S. lost to Sweden in a quarterfinal shootout.
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