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Kassouf: Carli Lloyd understood Carli Lloyd, and that’s what made her great
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Photo Copyright Hannah di Lorenzo

In September 2014, I spent a day with Carli Lloyd in and around her hometown while working on a longform story for NBC as part of our 2015 World Cup walk-up coverage. There, on an unremarkable youth soccer field off the beaten path in New Jersey, Lloyd did exactly what she has always said she does. She struck set pieces — one after another, tediously, until she moved on to the next task. Volleys. Running on to through balls. Chips. Penalty kicks.

She did, indeed, continue training until nobody (save for this writer) was watching, as her memoir which would be released in the following years was titled. Lloyd spoke openly that day, as she does most every day, about her personal battles to get better on the field, and about the low points along the way. She fought off slights, both explicit and perceived.

Carli Lloyd is synonymous with hard work. Accounts of her relentlessly competitive nature can be found from teammates through the years. Lloyd talks about her mentality regularly, reminding people of the grind, the work, the doubters — all these things which drove her through the years — to the point that some sectors of the fan base resented the stories, which of course only further fueled Lloyd. On Monday, just over a week after earning an Olympic bronze medal to add to her two gold medals and two World Cup titles, Lloyd announced that she will retire at the end of 2021.

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