American soccer player Carli Lloyd was born on July 16, 1982, in Delran Township; the same place where she then grew up. At five-years-old, Lloyd started playing soccer and developed a deep passion for the sport immediately. She’d regularly play pick-up games with friends and practice for hours in her free time.
Once Lloyd entered high school, she became a star on the school’s soccer team. In 1999, and then again in 2000, the Philadelphia Inquirer named her the girls’ High School Player of the Year.
After high school, Lloyd enrolled at Rutgers University in 2001. During her years on the university’s women’s soccer team, she became the Scarlet Knights’ all-time leading scorer as well as the first player in Rutgers history to earn first-team all-conference honors four years in a row.
After graduating from college, Carli Lloyd made her first international appearance in July 2005. Two years later, she made her debut in the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, playing for the United States national team.
The following year, with evident talent, Lloyd became a key member of the national team during the 2008 Olympics. She scored the only goal in a win against Japan and went on to score the game-winning goal in overtime against Brazil, which earned the U.S. a gold medal. Following that year’s Olympic Games, she was awarded U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year.
In 2009, Lloyd joined the Chicago Red Stars of the Women’s Professional Soccer League. The next year, she joined Sky Blue FC and then the Atlanta Beat the year after that. In 2011, during her second appearance in the World Cup, the U.S. fell to Japan; however, the team reunited the following year for the Olympics, where Lloyd scored both goals in the final game against Japan, once again winning the U.S. a gold medal.
In 2013, Lloyd became the top-scoring midfielder in U.S. national women’s team history when she scored her 46th international goal. Two years later, during the World Cup, Lloyd had a phenomenal series; in one contest in particular, she scored three goals within the first 16 minutes of the final game against Japan in the U.S.’s outstanding 5-2 win.
In January 2017, Lloyd won her second consecutive Best FIFA Women’s Player award. Today, the veteran soccer player continues to play professionally and even regularly plays pick-up games during the off-season. Though soccer is her passion, Lloyd finds time to help those in her community and around the world; she runs a soccer camp for kids in her home state, and she has even done philanthropic work with Habitat for Humanity.
Hero (Top) Feature Image: © Agência Brasil Fotografias / Wikimedia Commons
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Noah Salzman / Wikimedia Commons