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.