The only things certain in this world: death, taxes and Carli Lloyd making a USWNT roster. With her inclusion on Coach Vlatko Andonovski’s 18-player Tokyo squad, Lloyd is heading to her fourth Olympic games, where she’ll be 39 years old — the oldest USWNT player to ever suit up for an Olympics.
In hindsight, it seems inevitable that Lloyd would make the team given the veteran forward’s sheer willpower and determination. Lloyd, however, wasn’t widely considered a lock until the June Summer Series, when she scored 23 seconds into the national team’s matchup with Jamaica. The go-ahead finish made Lloyd the oldest-ever USWNT goal scorer and a newly minted favorite for the Olympic roster.
With the roster question finally answered, Lloyd will now be tasked with quieting the critics as she makes a case for more minutes at the Olympics. In the 2019 World Cup, Lloyd started only one game, subbing on to close out six other matches. Following the tournament, Lloyd made her feelings known regarding her limited role on the USWNT, calling it “the worst time in my life.”
After the World Cup, Lloyd got a second shot to make her case with new head coach Vlatko Andonovski replacing Jill Ellis. Under Andonovski, Lloyd got more looks and minutes while Alex Morgan was out on maternity leave.
It hasn’t been all bliss for Lloyd in the two-year gap between the World Cup and Olympics, however. A knee injury sidelined Lloyd for most of 2020, throwing her Olympic dreams into question. The USWNT icon, however, powered back to full form in time for national team play in 2021.
Heading into Tokyo, all eyes will be on Lloyd once again as the veteran’s fitness, offensive output and minutes will all surely be topics of conversation. Lloyd, however, makes a habit of proving points, and the USWNT will need the veteran to be doing exactly that if the squad wishes to become the first team to win a World Cup and Olympics back-to-back.