Meet Carli Lloyd, kickass World Cup winner who led the U.S. to victory

Talk about an unforgettable 4th of July weekend! Last night, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team dominated on the international stage, earning themselves their third World Cup championship title since the tournament began in 1991. The 5-2 team victory over Japan was stunning, but the game undeniably belonged to one player: Carli Lloyd.

In the first 16 minutes of the final game, Lloyd scored a hat trick (aka THREE goals) —including one goal from near midfield—not only making it a decisive victory for the U.S., but setting a record for the fastest hat trick in Women’s and Men’s World Cup history and the first three-peat seen in a Women’s World Cup final game. At the end of the hard-won tournament, Lloyd was awarded the Silver Boot (barely losing a tiebreaker for Golden Boot to Germany’s Célia Šašić as the tournament’s top scorer) and the Golden Ball for being the tournament’s best player overall. Here’s everything else you need to know about America’s newest soccer legend and our (hands down) Queen of the Day.

She’s always been a standout on the field . . .

The New Jersey native first began playing soccer as a little girl on co-ed leagues in New Jersey, where, according to her mom, she shined against the boys she played with. Lloyd continued to play through high school (where she was an All-American and made the All-State team) before heading to Rutgers to play for the Scarlett Knights. In 2004, she was named Big East Midfielder of the Year.

A year after graduating, Lloyd joined the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team at the age of 23, which allowed her to play internationally. She joined the team for the 2007 and 2011 World Cups, where the U.S. won bronze and silver medals, respectively. She also helped lead the team to gold at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympic games in Beijing and London.

Stateside, Lloyd joined the Women’s Professional Soccer league in 2009 where she was injury plagued, but played for the Chicago Red Stars, Sky Blue FC, and the Atlanta Beat. When the WPS folded in 2012, Lloyd began playing for the all-star Western New York Flash under the newly-formed National Women’s Soccer League where she helped lead the team to the NWSL Championship. In 2015, Lloyd was traded to the Houston Dash.

Still, she’s made her fair share of mistakes.

At the 2011 World Cup final against Japan, Lloyd failed to make her penalty kick in overtime, kicking the ball high over the goal and costing the U.S. first place against Japan.

Not that she let that get her down. 

“When someone tells me I can’t do something, I’m going to always prove them wrong,” Lloyd told NBC. “That’s what champions do.”

And this isn’t even Carli Lloyd’s first hat trick. 

Six months after joining the Western New York Flash, Lloyd scored three goals against the Washington Spirit, helping her team shut out the team in a 4-0 victory.

Her secret? Hard work, plain and simple

“Like an eighth-grader at travel-soccer practice, Lloyd sprints up the gym floor dribbling only with her right foot, first the outside, then the inside,” wrote the Wall Street Journal. “Then she does the same with her left. On one series, she fakes a kick before each touch, making sure to raise one arm in the exact motion. On another she dips her inside shoulder each time to accent a feint.”

“It’s all about repetition,” Lloyd says.

No one’s happier than Carli Lloyd is right now . . .

. . . except maybe for the person who now wants to put her on the $10 bill  

She even got a shout out from the Commander-in-Chief!

Congratulations to Carli and all of her teammates. What an incredible weekend, and what an incredible win.

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