If the Tokyo Olympics are held in 2020 as planned, Carli Lloyd will be a whole year younger. She will be 38 years old immediately before the start of the Olympics, not 39 years old-frankly, this is still an unusual age for professional football players. So maybe those extra 12 months really don’t make much sense.
Or maybe they made Lloyd better in her already legendary sport.
“I actually feel better,” she told Sports News after the U.S. Women’s National Team defeated Jamaica 4-0 on Sunday night. “And I don’t think that if it is held in 2020, many different things will not happen.
“My family won’t be involved. I don’t know how to have knee surgery. I changed my strength plan and started working with someone who was going home. I have a new coach, and I will play with me. I feel like I went from thinking that I will continue to get better to a complete “another level.” I have never been so healthy, fast, and explosive.”
If it seems impossible for a middle-aged athlete to exceed the level of excellence, then you may not have paid attention to the sports world in 2021. Tom Brady, who already has six Super Bowl rings, won his seventh victory at the age of 43. Year-old quarterback. Golfer Phil Mickelson won his sixth Grand Slam championship by winning the PGA Championship at the age of 50. Helio Castro Neves was largely abandoned by his racing team when he was in his 40s, winning the fourth Indianapolis 500 at the age of 46.
Lloyd does not seem to belong to this age group at first glance, but understanding the nature of the sport and continuous, year-round training tends to make football players age faster. Mia Ham played her last game for USWNT at the age of 32. Abby Wambach completed it at the age of 35. The greatest USMNT player Landon Donovan was eliminated by the 2014 World Cup team at the age of 32. Zidane soon ended his career with a World Cup victory after the age of 34.
Lloyd will celebrate her 39th birthday on July 16th. If this happens in Japan and prepares to open in five days’ time against rival Sweden, it will be a grand celebration. She has won two World Cups and two Olympic gold medals. She played 303 times, third in world football history, scored 125 international goals, and ranked sixth. In the game against Jamaica, she became the oldest goal scorer ever made by USWNT. She scored the goal 23 seconds from the start of the game, as if it was essential to finish the goal before the time caught up (Video below).
It is still possible. If the COVID-19 pandemic does not postpone the Olympics until this summer, the US team may be a slightly less brutal challenge. Veteran forward Alex Morgan was only two months after the birth of her daughter Charlie, and Lloyd performed well in Morgan’s absence. Lynn Williams has just returned to the national team, although she performed well and scored the winning goal in the Olympic qualifier finals in Central America and the Caribbean and Canada. The promising Mitch Perth hardly has her name.
Unlike the World Cup, which allows teams to take 23 players to participate in the championship and runner-up seven games, each Olympic team only allows 18 players to participate in six games to win gold medals. For his first game as the head coach of USWNT, Vlatko Andonovski will have to make some painful decisions because there are so many talented players. He must strike a balance between any desire to gain the necessary international experience for young players and understanding that the main goal is to send the team most likely to win the gold medal.
“It’s very difficult, but at the same time, I think the closer we get, the easier it will be,” Andonovsky told Sports News. “Through the analysis and evaluation we were able to carry out, the situation became clearer. If we had 23, it would be difficult to cut players 24, 25 and 26. It is always difficult.
“We have a deep lineup… No matter the size, it is always difficult.”
Perhaps because there is no national team timetable to consume her, Lloyd took this opportunity to make some huge changes to her life in 2020. She parted ways with her long-time coach, James Galanis, who has become a kind of personal “master” who scored the winning goals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and won the 2015 FIFA World Player of the Year Award. .
The collaboration with Galanis was a factor in the continued feud between Lloyd and his family, which lasted for more than ten years.After ending this relationship, Lloyd called her parents and started Work hard to repair this relationship.
She now hopes to win the last gold medal and insists that her desire to experience life outside of professional sports-not her age growth-will end her career. The only concession to participate in the game with her 40th birthday so close is the transition to center, a position that does not usually need to cover as much of the field as midfield.
However, as a model of Lloyd, she strives to master this position, including film studies of the best forwards in the game to learn their skills and techniques. She completed the transition before the USWNT won the 2019 World Cup. She participated in all seven games and scored three goals for coach Gil Ellis, but the arrival of Andonowski means To relearn how to play the role of center forward.
“The way that position 9 is played is a bit different from Jill,” Lloyd said. “We don’t have high pressure, we didn’t do certain things. I think Vlatko wants our team to play in a way that suits me. I like high pressure. I like putting pressure on defenders and opponents. Since Vlatko joined to now, I really It’s like a sponge, trying to keep getting better and improving my game.”
Lloyd is known for her use of personal contempt to stimulate motivation, starting from her bench before the 2012 Olympics, and finally she scored twice in the gold medal game. Before the 2019 World Cup, she was angry about accepting the suggestion of a “super bench” role and emphasized to SN that she was still fighting for a starting position every day.
In the early hours of Monday morning, Lloyd made sure to tell the Philadelphia Inquirer’s excellent football writer Jonathan Tannenwald that she knew he had predicted that she would not be on the Olympic roster, and she was particularly angry because the Inquirer was essentially a copy. The hometown newspaper grew up in Delland, New Jersey, 14 miles away
“I don’t think I can directly answer any player’s question, not just Kali, any player on this team before I really have to answer,” Andonowski told Tannenwald. “I would say that I am very satisfied with her performance: playing, scoring goals, setting the rhythm for the team, and performing well overall, not only in this game, but also in previous games and training. So I think she was in A very nice place.”