Carli LLoyd scores a penalty in the CONCAF against Costa Rica (Getty Images)Carli LLoyd scores a penalty in the CONCAF against Costa Rica (Getty Images) © Copyright

Carli Lloyd // Goal machine

With the inaugural SheBelives Cup just days away – an exciting tournament between the top four women's national teams – we look at how US hero and Ballon D'or winner Carli Lloyd pulled off a CR7-style transformation to become a midfield goal machine

In 2015 Carli Lloyd had the kind of year you fantasise about, or have on Champ Man when you put yourself into the game with 20 for everything.

In July, Lloyd scored a 13-minute hat-trick in the World Cup final against Japan. Her third was from the halfway line, a sixth goal in four games and not a bad way to avenge her shootout miss against the same opposition in 2011. Lloyd turned 33 right after the tournament, and has scored two more international hat-tricks since then, including one in now-trademark blitzkrieg style (23 first-half minutes).

Carli LLoyd beats Trinidad and Tobago keeper at the 2016 CONCAF (Getty Images)

 

In the calendar years 2014 and 2015, Lloyd bagged 31 times for USA. It didn’t used to be like this. She almost quit the sport when she was cut from the under-21 team, and did not make her full international debut until the age of 23. “In the beginning stages of my youth career, I just relied on talent,” says Lloyd. “I wasn’t fully fit and didn’t have the discipline that was needed to make it to the highest level.”

It was around this time, in 2002, that she started to work with Australian-born coach James Galanis. “Physically, she was very weak, mentally she wasn’t as competitive as she should have been, and her character, as far as being coachable was concerned, wasn’t great,” Galanis told ESPN. “But I saw her skill and movement without the ball. I knew the US national team was lacking players like her. I said, ‘You can go on and become the best player in the world.’ She didn’t believe me.”

A decade on, Lloyd has won everything there is to win: a virtuoso match-winner in one World Cup final and two Olympic finals, and a Ballon D'or to add to the list. She is now able to combine her natural talent with extraordinary physical prowess. Lloyd is the perfect box-to-box goalscoring centre mid.

Carli LLoyd with her Ballon D'or with Lionel Messi (Getty Images)

 

“It’s a remarkable story,” Galanis gushed after Lloyd’s famous hat-trick. But I’m not surprised, because she’s outworked every single soccer player on the planet.”

Her typical workout mixes long runs with sprint intervals on a running track; a boxing session; body-weight circuit training (burpees, sit-ups, push-ups) and high-energy HIIT workouts. No gyms, no weights, no let up. Just goals.

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