U.S. Soccer great Carli Lloyd Remains ‘Goal’-Focused for Tokyo Olympics
Carli Lloyd may be the first player ever to score 3 goals in a World Cup Final, but she is now looking to make it a hat trick at the 2021 games in Tokyo by winning her third gold medal. Following her successful rehabilitation after a knee injury, Lloyd is back and feeling better than ever. The New Jersey-born soccer player talks about her approach to rehab, training, nutrition, and those future goals.
Lloyd is undoubtably one of the most successful players in soccer history. She has reached the milestone of 300 appearances for the U.S. national team and has helped bring home two FIFA Women’s World Cups, but rather than sit back and reflect, her eyes are firmly focused on the future. “I definitely have bigger goals I want to accomplish,” she says. “So, I am staying focused and hungry to continue achieving these goals. That is my No. 1 priority.”
Never has the popular player’s winning mentality been more prominent than at the 2015 World Cup Final, when she scored an astonishing trio of goals against Japan, all in the first 16 minutes. “After I scored a hat trick in the World Cup final, I became even more motivated to continue to take my game to the top,” says Lloyd. “I was hungrier than ever after that moment, and I truly believed in myself to become even better. My whole life, I’ve been wired to try things that I am not good at, and I have never been afraid to try something and fail at it. Being uncomfortable is when you grow and evolve, and I have always been comfortable with being uncomfortable. No one sets the bar for myself, except me, and when I reach that bar, I just keep on raising it even more!”
Still, Lloyd knows that it is like to have her forward momentum threatened. She made a kick while training and felt a sharp pain in her knee. When it began to swell, she undertook physical therapy but eventually needed a scope to clear up the joint. “During that time, I stayed patient so I could let it heal properly,” says Lloyd. “My knee has been fantastic ever since.” After 10 months, the Team USA star has returned to camp. “Consistency has been key for me throughout my career,” says Lloyd. “Sleep, hydration, nutrition, training, having others around me, ball work, fitness, and my new strength training program became key priorities for me.”
The soccer supremo has also started working with expert trainer, Chris Halladay. “He introduced me to a new type of training that is a neurological-based physics approach, to help with sports performance and movements,” says Lloyd. “Since I started training with Chris back in November 2020, I’ve never moved better. I’m more explosive than I have ever been, and stronger than I was before my injury. It’s played a huge factor in my game at the age of 38.”
As a player, she understands that staying on top means constantly pushing herself. “I have always tried to continue to break barriers with my fitness to become the best that I can be,” says Lloyd. “As I have gotten older, I have valued this even more so I can be as efficient as possible. I’ve found that throughout my career, bodyweight exercises, plyometrics, and soccer-specific fitness has helped me feel my best and contribute to the career longevity I have had.”
Lloyd attributes her use of CBD oils as a key factor in her recovery — CBDMedic topical products in particular. Llloyd says the oils help temporarily relieve the pain she gets due to sore muscles, joint pain, and stiffness. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently removed CBD from its list of banned substances in time for the Tokyo games. “It’s super important for me to listen and take care of my body,” says Lloyd. “Especially when it comes to pain relief, and I noticed instant relief while using CBDMedic.”
Her Training Schedule
“During the season, I have to really listen to my body and figure out what I need,” says Lloyd. “I have always been someone who trains harder building up to games, so that the game feels easier than the training.
“I typically do extra on top of my team training, these are 90-minute sessions, five times per week, with a game on the weekends. Depending on how I am feeling, I may take 1-2 rest days.
“On top of my team training, I do a 40- to 60-minute aerobic run in the beginning of the week, strength training one to two times a week, a session with my individual fitness coach, and I also get a sprint fitness session in.”
A Functional Approach
“For the National team, I am in the role of a forward, so I’m focusing on positioning, runs behind the back line, holding the ball up, and getting in on crosses,” says Lloyd. “Whereas For NWSL Gotham FC, I am playing a midfield role, so I’m working on a lot of things from playing through balls, and taking players on, being creative.”
Her Nutritional Preferences
“Off the field is just as important as on the field,” says Lloyd. “You have to take care of your body and nutrition plays a huge role in that. I think there are many naïve people when they’re younger, that think they can get away with a poor diet, but then when they’re older they wish they would have taken better care of themselves and prioritized nutrition.
“In 2009, I started to get into organic foods. I noticed an immediate effect in my performance when I did that. As each year passes, I’ve leaned into concentrating on my nutrition more and more.”
Goals for the Future
“Making the Olympic roster and winning gold with my teammates is my next goal,” says Lloyd. “I’m always going to continue, to be the best player I can possibly be, while enjoying the process and having as much fun as I can. This is the fittest, fastest, and most explosive I have ever been and more importantly I am having fun. I’m always striving to achieve that 1% improvement in all I do.”