Interview Carli Lloyd: 'People just saw me with angry, bulging eyes, like I wanted to hurt someone'

Carli Lloyd, the two-time World Cup winner and two-time Olympic gold medalist, recently wrote an article for Women's Health magazineShe movingly shared her secret journey of unexplained infertility and IVF treatment, which resulted in a joyful development: she is now pregnant and expecting her first child in October.

After retiring and now aged 41, Lloyd wrote that her “heart has come alive” and explained how she feels able to open up and be vulnerable for the first time.

This isn't Carli Lloyd, the player people think they know.

“People had to get used to that,” she says. The Athletics. “They needed to understand me a little bit more. But the fan base and the media just saw the competitor Carli. They just saw me with angry, bulging eyes, like I wanted to hurt someone and be the ultra, uber competitor. And that was the way I was going to survive.

“And when I look back at my career and think, 'Would I have done things differently?' I think maybe I would have tried to enjoy it a little bit more. But I had to have a guard on, because I had a couple of coaches stabbing me in the back. And you're part of a team where everyone's competing with each other. So that guard stayed on until I announced my retirement.

“And I felt, in the last few months, that I could finally be a little more vulnerable. I could finally be a little more myself.”

Lloyd attributes her mentality as a player to the “tough” environment of the U.S. women's national team.

“People don't understand how ruthless it is,” she says. “I would say it's totally unhealthy, but it's what made our team the best and it's what made me the best. It's made me the player and the person I am today. I don't think (the culture) needs to change. To be the best, you have to be in an environment that's really tough.”

Lloyd's record is testament to that success: she scored 134 goals in 316 international matches (making her the second-leading player and third-leading scorer in U.S. national team history) and scored a hat trick in the 2015 World Cup final against Japan.

When Carli Lloyd, the current presenter, talks about what it takes to be successful at the highest level, she knows how to captivate her audience.


Lloyd scores her second of three goals in the 2015 Women's World Cup final (Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images)

That’s certainly the view of US broadcaster Fox Sports, whose “summer of soccer” culminates on Sunday with a double bill of the European Championship finals (3 p.m. ET) and Copa America (8 p.m. ET). Fox made Lloyd the centerpiece of its coverage of the Women’s World Cup last summer, and in recent weeks she has also been an in-studio analyst for the men’s Copa America.

Lloyd is engaging and persuasive, even if her outspoken views can sometimes divide opinion: during the Women's World Cup, for example, she stirred up strong emotions when she argued that the US national team players were partying excessively.

But Lloyd is highly regarded by broadcasters because She’s willing to give an opinion. She’s not one to be fickle. She was “not surprised” by Alex Morgan’s recent omission from the USWNT Olympic roster and thinks “there needs to be a change” at the U.S. men’s national team — the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) is conducting a review after a disappointing Copa America in which Gregg Berhalter’s team failed to advance past the group stage.

“(The U.S. co-hosted men's World Cup in) 2026 is coming up really quickly,” Lloyd said. “Gregg's a great person and I don't think there's one problem. But from the outside, maybe they look a little bit comfortable, maybe there's a few feathers to ruffle and someone to come in and be a little bit strict at times. But that's just speculation.

“From a play perspective, things on the pitch seem a little bit stiff. There's just something not right. With the state the team is in right now — with everyone in turmoil, the fans, sponsors, media, everyone — I think unfortunately something has to change.

“You want to go into 2026 with the support of your country and everyone around you. So I think there has to be a change, and it has to be someone who is outside the box, someone who is international. (Jurgen) Klopp's name has been mentioned.”

Is the currently unattached former Liverpool manager her dream signing for the USMNT? “That would be great,” says Lloyd. “But there’s no time for development here. This is 2026 or so and you want to put the best team out there and get the best result.”

Lloyd has also been combative, hitting back on social media after some viewers felt she was wrong to include USMNT captain Christian Pulisic in a list of the world's greatest athletes, including Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi. She also responded last week when an X user criticized her appearance, replying: “You're calling a pregnant woman big… clearly you haven't learned anything in your life to be respectful.”

“I see that as a really sad state of affairs in the world we live in today,” Lloyd adds. “I'm almost 42, I'm comfortable in my own skin and I'm confident in that. But it makes me sad that young girls have to go through this.

“Some of the things that came my way were hurtful, disgusting, verbally abusive. In this realm of commentary on Copa America, people are saying I should get back in the kitchen, that I don’t belong in men’s sport. You have to have thick skin. I’ve had thick skin throughout my playing career and it’s toughened me up… And I pride myself on being honest and saying what I think. And that’s not always the popular choice.

“But the block button is useful. People come up to me and ask me to block them, but I just don't have time to let them come at me all the time. You just don't deserve to see what's happening in my feed.”

GettyImages 1160627354 scaled


Lloyd won the World Cup with the US national team in 2015 and 2019 (Naomi Baker – FIFA via Getty Images)

Would this prevent Lloyd from working as an analyst in the future?

“No, it would never deter me because the most important thing in my life is my circle of people. I don’t get my worth or my justification for how well I’m doing from all those people on social media. Most of them are just angry that other people are successful and they’re not happy themselves.”

Lloyd will be in the Fox studio this weekend for the Copa America final. She says she is proud to join others, such as reporter Jenny Taft and former England international Kelly Smith, who have previously broadcast while pregnant. “Jenny said I can use some of her wardrobe if I need to,” Lloyd says. “It gives people confidence to know that just because you're pregnant you can still be on TV and I embrace it all.

“Of course, my body has changed pretty drastically, compared to what I was as an athlete. But I'm growing a human being inside of me, and I think it's one of the most amazing things and just such a miracle and I just enjoy it with pride.”

In her open letter to Women’s Health , Lloyd detailed the psychological and physical challenges she faced in her attempts to conceive. At one point, she said she began to question why her body was failing her. Lloyd revealed that she conceived after three rounds of IVF. She now wishes that more young athletes, and more young women in general, would be more educated on the topic and have access to broader conversations.

“It would be healthy if more people understood that a woman is born with a certain amount of eggs and that as you get older, your eggs age,” she says. “Maybe if there were other options, if there were teams like I was on that were sponsored or affiliated with a fertility clinic where you had the option and the support to freeze your eggs. You can't train for weeks while you're going through the process.

“It would be great if we could talk about it more, educate younger players and make those options available. I know several NWSL teams (the highest division of women's club play in the US) are partnering with fertility clinics, which is great, but hopefully more will jump on board.

“I was very naive and had no idea what I was getting into. And there are a lot of women in sports and business today who want to delay having children. And times have changed. And things have to change in that area too.”

(Top photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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