(Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

Carli Lloyd is denying that her recent comments about the USWNT’s decline in culture were referring to race or gender.

On two recent podcasts, Lloyd said that she “hated” playing for the USWNT in recent years due to a culture shift following the 2015 World Cup.

Some within the USWNT fan base took that as meaning that the team became “a little too progressive.”

“Culture doesn’t mean like, you know, ‘everybody show up early and bring snacks.’ By ‘culture’ she means, like, ‘too diverse,’” co-host Alexis Guerreros said on the soccer podcast “The Cooligans.”

In an interview with Insider, Lloyd further expanded on her comments and said that it was simply “the culture that is out on the field” that she was referencing.

“The culture for me is what the culture has been on the national team since the inception,” Lloyd told Insider. “All of those players, they brought a fight. They brought a hunger. They brought a desire. They brought mentality. They brought a never-say-die attitude. They brought finding a way, whether it’s the 91st minute, to get a ball in the back of the net. That has slowly dissipated from 2015 on.”

Denying that she had been “referring to culture on race, on gender, on any of that,” Lloyd said that the social media landscape has led to narratives being created that aren’t always accurate.

“People just take clips and they take what people say and they throw their own spin on it and their own narrative,” she said. “I wish the world wasn’t like this.”

She also said that it’s “just human nature” for players on successful teams like the USWNT, which has won four World Cups, to “become complacent.” In order to continue thriving, teams have to remain competitive and hungry. The USWNT, she asserts, didn’t have that in recent years.

“You have to constantly keep elevating,” she said. “And you have to constantly keep playing and performing as if you haven’t achieved anything.”

Lloyd says that she wasn’t the only one on the team to feel like the drive to win had lessened, saying that they “weren’t a team.” She also attributed the USWNT’s bronze-medal finish at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to the perceived lack of cohesion.

Canada went on to win the gold medal after defeating the USWNT in the semifinals. Lloyd scored two goals in the bronze medal matchup with Australia to help the USWNT to a medal.

“I was in the situation feeling that way, and several other [players] — if not, the entire squad — felt the same way that the culture was not good,” she said. “The culture was not good at training sessions. The culture was not good when we’d leave the training field, in our meal rooms, out together.

“If anyone has watched the bronze medal game and the Tokyo Olympics, everybody could see that we were disjointed. We had some of the best players out there. Talent-wise, on paper, we should have won, and we should have went in there, and we should have thrashed teams, but we didn’t because we weren’t a team. And because we didn’t have the culture of what has made this team so successful over the years.”

Lloyd does have hope in the younger generation, saying that she “saw that hunger back” during the 2022 SheBelieves Cup that the USWNT won. Several young players had standout performances, including Catarina Macario and Emily Fox.

“I saw that drive. I saw glimpses of that, and that’s what we need,” Lloyd added. “That’s the duty of these younger players, if they’re going to continue to play for this team, is they have to continue to keep sharing that culture and bridging the next several generations with it.”