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Carli Lloyd
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Carli Lloyd: Winning third Olympic gold would be satisfying enough to retire

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Carli Lloyd was already bidding to become the oldest U.S. Olympic soccer player in history at the Tokyo Games before the postponement to 2021. The deferral won’t change that hope, but the big question is whether that would be the 37-year-old legend’s final tournament, should she make the 18-player roster.

“I was going to take it to this summer’s Olympics and then see where I was mentally and physically,” Lloyd said Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles Times. “I wasn’t sure when I would officially retire. So now I have the opportunity to stick around for another year, and it would be a dream come true to win gold with my teammates.

“That would be satisfying enough for me to officially retire.”

Lloyd was asked straight up about retirement in January and said, “No end in sight, as of yet.”

She actually predicted back in 2015 that the Tokyo Games would ideally be the end point. Since, she started every match at the Rio Olympics as a captain (U.S. lost in penalties in the quarterfinals to Sweden). Then she was primarily a reserve at the 2019 World Cup (the U.S. repeated as champion).

New coach Vlatko Andonovski put Lloyd in the starting lineup for the crucial match of Olympic qualifying in January and two of the three matches of the SheBelieves Cup earlier this month.

Complicating matters: Fellow forward Alex Morgan was absent from both competitions due to pregnancy, and with the Olympic postponement, will have around a year to return from childbirth in her bid to make the team.

Andonovski and U.S. Soccer have tough decisions ahead since the Olympic roster is five fewer players than at the World Cup. Everything is on hold now, though.

“This is bigger than sports. It’s bigger than an Olympics,” Lloyd said of the Olympic postponement in a video interview with an ABC affiliate. “I think it was definitely the right call. Disappointed … but I think for the safety of everybody, it’s definitely the best thing.”

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Carli Lloyd on retirement plan, career milestones, more in Q&A

Carli Lloyd
ANA Inspiration/Kelly Kline
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Carli Lloyd, a double Olympic gold medalist and 2015 World Cup winner, shared her time while promoting female empowerment and motivating youth at the LPGA Tour’s ANA Inspiration on Tuesday (Golf Channel broadcast schedule). Highlights …

OlympicTalk: You said last year that the national team was still trying to find its identity (after a 2016 Olympic quarterfinal loss and last-place finish at the 2017 SheBelieves Cup). After winning the SheBelieves Cup this month, has the team found its identity and can you put it into words?

Lloyd: I think it has. Obviously, since the 2015 World Cup, we’ve gone through a bit of a transition period. We’ve got younger players. We’ve got players who came through the NWSL who don’t have a ton of experience. And then we also have veterans as well in myself. I think that we just need to mold all of that together. Now we’re starting to hone in on what this team’s about, how we want to play as a team, the identity. I do think we are an exciting team to watch. As we get closer and closer to World Cup qualifying [in October], obviously we’re still the U.S. team with that fight and that mentality, but we also have a lot of talented younger players to help bridge all that together. Great result, the SheBelieves. Now we can continue to push on. We know that we can continue to get better. We all just have to do our part to keep pushing on.

OlympicTalk: You’re at 250 caps. You’re almost at 100 goals (98). Which of those numbers means more to you and why?

Lloyd: I didn’t even [know I hit 250]. After the game, [coach] Jill [Ellis] said in front of the group, congrats on 250 caps. I had no idea where I was even at. It was a bit of surprise to me. It’s really not about those numbers. That’s entirely not my focus. I’m just mainly focused on getting myself back into the groove and continuing to be better and better every single day. I have a lot more that I still want to accomplish. I think the best is yet to come.

OlympicTalk: You said in 2015 that you plan to retire from the national team after the 2020 Olympics. Is that still the plan, and is there anything that could happen at the 2019 World Cup or 2020 Olympics that could change that?

Lloyd: I don’t live too far in the future. The goal is that I will be a part of 2019, 2020. Obviously, I have to continue to keep performing, first and foremost. But I know that the only person that would hold me back is myself. So, as long as I continue to keep working as hard as I can every single day, I know that I will be at those events. Yes, you have to account for injuries and things that happen, but that’s life.

Editor’s Note: Lloyd turns 38 in 2020, when she will be older than any previous U.S. Olympic soccer player. She came back from an MCL sprain for the Rio Olympics and missed time last summer with an ankle sprain. Still, she won FIFA Player of the Year in 2015 and 2016 and was runner-up to Dutch Lieke Martens in 2017.

OlympicTalk: So are you leaving the option open of playing beyond 2020?

Lloyd: Internationally, most likely not. I have no clue, to be quite honest. I’m not going to rule out potentially still playing in the NWSL. I really have to kind of figure that out after 2020 and see where I’m at. The challenging thing for women is starting a family. That is something that is important to my husband and I.

OlympicTalk: What are the chances you would play for Manchester City or another European club again, knowing that the next two years are major tournament years?

Lloyd: Anything’s possible, but as we’re gearing up for these two world events, most likely not. It’s just not really feasible to be flying back and forth from Europe. My time at Manchester City for those three months was merely just for those three months, at the moment. Enjoyed my experience, glad I did it. I’m not going to say never, but, most likely, probably, won’t be going overseas again.

OlympicTalk: Do you think Hope Solo will play for the national team again?

Lloyd: No idea. I know she’s had some major shoulder surgeries. I don’t know where she’s at on that. I honestly have no idea.

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2018 ANA Inspiring Women in Sports Conference

Posted by LPGA on Tuesday, March 27, 2018

WATCH LIVE: Morgan, Team USA faces stiff test in France

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World No. 3 France takes its shot at the top-seeded United States women in a massive Group G game at the Mineirão in Belo Horizonte on Saturday.

The tilt will push a winner to the final after the Yanks beat New Zealand 2-0 on Wednesday and France hammered Colombia 4-0.

WATCH LIVE: United States vs. France — 4 p.m. EDT

Alex Morgan’s stoppage time winner lifted the USWNT past France the last time they matched up, a March meeting in the SheBelieves Cup.

France last beat the U.S. in a Feb. 2015 friendly in Lorient, though the Yanks avenged the defeat in the Algarve Cup final one month later.