USWNT legend Carli Lloyd has announced her planned retirement at the end of the 2021 NWSL season and will play her final games for the national team in September and October.
The USWNT have four ‘fall friendlies’ scheduled against yet to be announced opposition, which will be Lloyd’s last for her country, 16 years after making her debut in 2005.
After those matches, 39-year-old Lloyd will remain with NJ/NY Gotham for the rest of the NWSL season. The regular season concludes at the end of October, with the team currently in contention to make the playoffs scheduled for November.
“When I first started out with the National Team in 2005, my two main goals were to be the most complete soccer player I could be and to help the team win championships,” Lloyd explained in a statement published by U.S. Soccer.
“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.
“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.
“We will all have a lot more time to spend together now, and especially with my husband Brian, who has been my rock and biggest support system for all these years. 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 to another outlet for my competitiveness! Perhaps that will be golf?”
Lloyd, whose 312 USWNT appearances is second only to Kristine Lilly (354) in the history of international soccer, male or female, had already hinted at possible retirement following the recent Olympics in Japan, where she collected a bronze medal with her teammates.
Overall, Lloyd has 128 goals for the national team, meaning that only Lilly (130), Mia Hamm (158) and Abby Wambach (184) have ever scored more. She is also the leading USWNT scorer in Olympic competition as a result of the goals she scored this summer.
Lloyd went to her first international tournament in 2007 when the USWNT finished third at the World Cup. A year later she won an Olympic gold medal, before going on to play in the 2011 World Cup final, missing a penalty in a shootout as Japan went on to lift the trophy.
She won a second Olympic gold medal in 2012 and went on to reach widespread international acclaim and stardom with her performances at the 2015 World Cup. She scored in every knockout game, including a 16-minute hat-trick in the final to thrash Japan and take revenge for 2011.
Lloyd was also named the best female player in the world by FIFA in both 2015 and 2016 and claimed a second World Cup winner’s medal in 2019.