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Carli Lloyd on her USWNT criticism: ‘Sometimes the truth hurts’

Carli Lloyd has been a Fox Sports analyst for this World Cup. (Ira L. Black/Getty Images)

Carli Lloyd did not play for the U.S. women’s national team during the 2023 World Cup – she retired in 2021 – but she has been one of the most talked-about figures of the tournament. Lloyd, now a Fox Sports analyst, has become the unofficial chief critic of her former team, and she has received some blowback because of it.

Lloyd, in an interview with The Athletic, defended her analysis and provided even more context on what she believes is wrong with the USWNT.

“I did speak the truth, and sometimes the truth hurts,” Lloyd said. “But it came from my heart. The world has caught up. I get that. But there’s no reason why we still can’t be at the top. But we have regressed so far down that there really is no gap. That’s what’s hard to swallow because the team has been built on legacies that have been passed down from generation to generation, and I simply didn’t like what I saw.”

The USWNT lost to Sweden in penalty kicks in the Round of 16, marking its earliest ever exit from the tournament. After winning back-to-back World Cups in 2015 and 2019, with Lloyd one of the leaders, this year’s performance is likely to bring about change.

There is growing belief that coach Vlatko Andonovski will be dismissed in the near future. Lloyd, for what it’s worth, has hardly been shy about her lack of admiration for Andonovski. She played for him in the 2021 Tokyo Games, in which the USWNT took third place.

“I was at the tail end of what I saw was a regression with the team, which wasn’t good enough in Tokyo,” she said. “The team was disjointed, was not a unit, and the coaching was not what this team needed. So I saw this, I felt this, I experienced this. I wasn’t truly confident in this team winning the World Cup.”

Many of Lloyd’s former teammates expressed contrasting sentiments during the USWNT’s run. Abby Wambach, for instance, cautioned fans against falling into a “media trap.”

“This wasn’t anything that was scripted,” Lloyd said. “This was a reaction to what I was seeing, what I was feeling, what came from my heart. I poured my heart and soul into this team for 17 years.