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Carli Lloyd: USWNT didn’t want me to be the star of the team

Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe celebrate their 2019 World Cup title. (Daniela Porcelli/Getty Images)

The U.S. women’s national team did not want Carli Lloyd to become the star of the team, she said in a recent interview with CBS Sports.

Lloyd, 41, played for the USWNT from 2005 until her retirement in 2021, winning two World Cup titles and two FIFA Player of the Year awards. But she believes other U.S. players received more opportunities, she reveals on the new episode of “Kickin’ It,” which premieres at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday on Paramount Plus.

“I came into the U.S. Soccer scene and I wasn’t somebody that was necessarily being groomed to be the star of the team, nor do I think U.S. Soccer really wanted me to be the star of the team,” Lloyd said. “I think that they pretty much probably wanted to see others rise.

“Essentially I feel like they groom players coming in to be the stars, and then when someone else comes in, it’s sort of a resistance of: What can we do? Can we not publicize this player as much or give them enough attention? I felt like that throughout my entire career.”

Lloyd’s career with the USWNT coincided with Abby Wambach (2001-15), Megan Rapinoe (2006-23) and Alex Morgan (2010-present), all of whom became faces of the USWNT alongside Lloyd during the 2015 and 2019 World Cup runs.

In an excerpt from her interview released by CBS Sports, Lloyd speaks of “grinding away” with few sponsorships and opportunities until the 2015 World Cup final, when she scored a hat trick in the first 16 minutes of the game to help lead the USWNT to victory.

“What do I have to do to have the world understand what I’m about or see the type of player I am? I mean, I had to score a hat trick in a World Cup final,” Lloyd said. “People were like, where did this player come from? I’m like, I’ve been there for 10 years. …

“That’s just the way the world works as far as showcasing players. They’re not always highlighting the best players. They’re oftentimes highlighting the most marketable players.”

Since her retirement from the USWNT in 2021, Lloyd has been outspoken about perceived issues with the culture within the program, which she mentioned again during the disappointing 2023 World Cup run.