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Carli Lloyd: The top five moments of the soccer legend’s career

(Francois Nel/Getty Images)

After a legendary career with the United States women’s national team, future Hall of Famer Carli Lloyd announced her retirement from soccer on Monday. Lloyd will finish out the NWSL season and play in four USWNT friendlies this fall, so it’s not goodbye just yet.

Throughout her 17-year career with the national team, Lloyd authored perhaps more iconic moments than any other player in USWNT history.

Here, we’re counting down the five we’ll never forget:

5. Her 300th cap

Earlier this year, in a friendly against Sweden, Lloyd reached 300 caps with the USWNT, becoming just the third player behind Kristine Lilly and Christie Pearce to do so.

In total, Lloyd has amassed 312 caps and counting for the USWNT, second all-time in both U.S. and world history behind only Lilly. In that time, Lloyd has played with more than 100 different teammates.

Lloyd has scored 128 times on the international stage with the USWNT, including some of the most important goals in team history and the last two scored in Tokyo. Speaking of:

4. Tokyo Olympic swan song

Though her final Olympic appearance didn’t come in the gold-medal game, Lloyd helped the USWNT capture bronze at the Tokyo Olympics.

Megan Rapinoe opened the scoring for the U.S. against Australia, scoring two early goals. Not one to be outdone, Lloyd scored the final two goals of her Olympic career to help the USWNT beat Australia 4-3 and secure the bronze.

With the brace, Lloyd became the all-time leading goal scorer in USWNT Olympic history, with 10 goals across four tournaments.

3. 2012 Olympic-winning brace 

Facing Japan in the gold-medal match at the 2012 London Olympics, only a year after losing in a shootout in the World Cup final, Lloyd scored twice to help the USWNT get revenge and win gold.

Lloyd’s back-to-back goals made her the first player, male or female, to score a brace in an Olympic final. She also became the highest-scoring midfielder in USWNT history, overtaking Julie Foudy’s 45-goal record.

2. 2008 Olympic winner 

During the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Lloyd first scored a game-winner in the USWNT’s 1-0 win over Japan in the group stage. That proved to be a valuable warm-up for the final against Brazil.

There, in extra time, Lloyd buried a rocket from outside the box to secure the gold medal for the U.S.

It was quite the year for Lloyd, who bagged nine goals and nine assists while earning her 100th senior cap for the USWNT.

1. The historic hat trick

The 2015 World Cup was historic for both the USWNT and Lloyd. In the championship game against Japan, a rematch of the 2011 final, Lloyd went on an unprecedented (and still unmatched) one-woman tear, putting together one of the most brilliant performances in the history of soccer.

Lloyd scored first in the third minute, then again in the fifth, before securing her hat trick in the 16th minute with one of the most ridiculous goals ever scored in a final: a half-field chip of the Japanese goalkeeper.

Lloyd’s hat trick was the first-ever in a World Cup final. And she did it all in 16 minutes.

“When Carli kind of went on her tear, I was just thinking like, ‘This is the most bizarre game I’ve ever been a part of’,” said USWNT captain Becky Sauerbrunn in 2019.

“You’re obviously not focusing on scoring a hat trick in a World Cup final,” Lloyd said of the game. “I’m a pure winner. I am so hungry and so competitive, and once I get into those moments, nothing will stand in my way.”

That year, all Lloyd did was win, claiming the Golden Ball as the tournament’s MVP before being named FIFA’s Player of the Year.

Sofia Huerta signs contract extension with Seattle through 2027

(Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports)

Former Oregon soccer players detail instances of verbal abuse from former USWNT assistant

(Chris Pietsch/The Register-Guard via Imagn Content Services)

Members of the Oregon women’s soccer team are saying they received harsh treatment and even verbal abuse from head coach and former USWNT assistant Graeme Abel. 

During the 2023 season, the team had zero wins, and upon its conclusion a total of 12 of the team’s 29 players departed the team. Former players told The Oregonian that Abel would verbally attack them, threaten to kick them off the team and at times would even throw objects.

"When I’d make a mistake at practice, it felt like he made it a job to embarrass you to the point where you just wanted to walk off the field,” one player said. “He’d stop the practice – and I know it’s college soccer, it’s very competitive — but he’d stop practice and just keep going nonstop on this one thing."

In total, the Oregonian spoke with 14 former players – including 12 who agreed to be interviewed in depth. All said that they experienced verbal abuse. Six of the players were among those who transferred following the season. 

One instance of Abel’s tirades included him throwing a water bottle that narrowly missed players’ heads. 

“He kicked all of our staff out of the locker room, kicked a trash can, threw a white board, sat on the trash can and started screaming,” one player recounted. “He wanted us to tell him what we thought went wrong in the game. Me and another player spoke up, and he said, ‘You’re just (expletive) wrong.’ And that if we didn’t want to be in this program, we could all quit, and he’d sign our release paperwork tomorrow.”

While Abel was not made available for an interview, he did say in a statement that “at no point have I used threatening statements or financial repercussions as a part of coaching.”

Instances of emotional distress stemming from Abel’s alleged harsh treatment date back to 2021 – his first full year leading the team following an abbreviated 2020 campaign.

One former player contacted by The Oregonian detailed positive overall experiences, and described his style as “normal coaching.”

Others, like USWNT players Becky Sauerbrunn and Lindsey Horan, did not respond to requests for comment, although Sauerbrunn wrote in 2019 that she had a “great relationship” with Abel. 

Still, multiple players interviewed had similar stories, with one saying that girls would be “crying in the locker room” after practice because of what he would tell players. Attempts to speak with the administration about his behavior, players say, was “discouraging.”

“His office is like the scariest place,” one player said. “You’d have to sit there while he’d belittle you and say all these nasty things, and gaslight you into believing you’re not good enough. ... Our team fell apart because of the environment he created. We were just trying to get through the day. There was no way we could focus on soccer.”

Multiple players said they experienced suicidal ideation while playing at Oregon. In part of his statement, Abel wrote that “at no time do we put our student-athletes in any danger.”

Abel is currently in his fifth and final year of his contract at Oregon.

Gotham FC unveil Championship rings ahead of banner reveal

Gotham FC players celebrate Lynn Williams' goal in the first half of the 2023 NWSL Championship. (Ray Acevedo/USA TODAY Sports)

Gotham FC has unveiled their 2023 NWSL championship rings — and safe to say, they deliver.

The reveal has led to a little bit of trash talk ahead of the team’s matchup with Kansas City this weekend, as both teams have NFL owners. While the Current are co-owned by Patrick and Brittany Mahomes, former Giants quarterback Eli Manning is a co-owner of Gotham. 

On Wednesday, Manning took to Sportscenter to give Mahomes a bit of a hard time.

“He may have one more Super Bowl ring than me, but he does not have a NWSL championship ring like I do,” Manning joked.

“Come Sunday night at Red Bull Arena, April 14th, we’re dropping the banner on Kansas City. We got the ring ceremony, the players get their rings and their championship afterwards. This is it, I’ve got something to talk a little trash to him about because I can’t do it about football anymore, I gotta find something else.”

The appearance came after Manning posted to social media, inviting Mahomes to “come see [the championship ring] up close this Sunday.”

Mahomes responded in kind, writing that “we’ll see y’all Sunday!”

Gotham takes on current league-leaders Kansas City on Sunday at 6pm ET. The game is available on NWSL+.

Oregon State hit by transfer portal again as Raegan Beers departs

ALBANY, NEW YORK - MARCH 31: Raegan Beers #15 of the Oregon State Beavers shoots a free throw during the first half against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the Elite 8 round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament at MVP Arena on March 31, 2024 in Albany, New York. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Oregon State leading scorer and rebounder Raegan Beers announced on Thursday that she is entering the transfer portal. 

"Thank you for all of your endless love and support these past two years," she posted on social media. "I will never forget my time at OSU and I am thankful for the opportunity I had to meet and play with incredible people. My journey as a Beav was a special one and I am grateful for my teammates, coaches, fans, and friends who have changed my life throughout my time here."

A sophomore forward, Beers is a two-time All-Pac-12 selection who averaged 17.5 points per game last season while shooting 66.4 percent from the field. She also added 10.3 rebounds en route to earning third-team All-American honors from the AP. 

She’s the fourth Oregon State starter – and seventh player overall – to hit the portal this offseason. She joins Talia von Oelhoggen and Timea Gardiner in the transfer portal, as well as starting freshman Donovyn Hunter. 

Beers and Gardiner were both top-10 recruits in ESPN rankings coming out of high school. 

With the dissolution of the Pac-12, the program will join the WCC next season and no longer be a part of the Power 5.

Conference realignment is hitting the team hard, with coach Scott Rueck saying during the tournament that he knew it could seriously affect his team moving forward. 

"That's reality," Rueck said. "I can't control that, other than just keep doing what I'm doing. I think the opportunity within that for a leader provides a discipline that you'd better be on your A-game all the time. You'd better take care of people, and you'd better provide a great experience. That's the approach going forward and what happens, happens. We'll find a way."

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