On the 9th of January 2017, Carli Lloyd was named 2016 FIFA Player of the Year, her second year in a row as the world’s best female player. In 2015 she won the FIFA Women’s World Cup with the USA, scoring a hat-trick against Japan in the first 16 minutes of the match, and becoming the second soccer player in history to score a hat-trick in a World Cup Final. After completing the hat trick with a spectacular strike from halfway, her teammates questioned if she was even human. But what a lot of people don’t know is.. Lloyd was just following her 12-year plan.
In 2003, Lloyd was an out-of-shape player, cut from the USA U/21 team and contemplating a career change to give up on soccer and work for the FBI. Then she met James Galanis, an Australian coach who recognized her potential. He offered to train her and rapidly began constructing a detailed plan for world domination.
To understand what Carli Lloyd truly went through before her rise to Ballon d’or winner, the foundation of her work must be analyzed. Whether it was playing with boys when she was 5, dominating throughout high school, playing for Rutgers, the list goes on. There is a common theme that Carli emphasized throughout her career, that is:
The PROCESS, and HARD WORK.
A turning point in the then 21 year old’s career may have come at the most unexpected time. Rutgers star, Lloyd was firing on all cylinders throughout her NCAA career, being named First-Team All-Big-East 4 seasons running. Although when she was cut from the Under-21 USWNT, Carli was left in tears, on the brink of calling it a quits, she decided to contact James Galanis. Lloyd’s father reached out to James, and the rest, is history.
Galanis performed an initial assessment on Lloyd, and noticed how unfit she was. Combine that with bad living and training habits, and Lloyd was quite some ways away from her USWNT dream. Eating takeaway too often, spending time with the wrong crowd, stuff like this can deteriorate your career. Though, these may not have been the exact habits which Carly implemented in her lifestyle, they are those which many players do. Professional footballers are extremely disciplined in every area of life, hence their incredible fitness and commitment to being the best they can be every day. Together, Lloyd and Galanis formed a commitment. Carli promised to make football the number 1 priority in her life. Over her friends, family, boyfriend, anything or anyone. Lloyd put in the time and effort, and eventually trained individually with her newly formed habits.
The take-away from Lloyds commitment is simple. She commits her very being and life to football, there was nothing of higher priority. This is explained in-depth in our 10000 Hours video. To make football your life in the future, you must make football your life starting today! If you want to play for the USWNT, what did Alex Morgan do to get there? What was her journey like? What did her process consist of? What does Alex eat, how much does she train, what are her tactical sessions like? Mimicking successful people who came before you is a major factor in improving at a rapid rate.
From cut at the Under-21 level, to scoring the winning goal in extra time vs powerhouse Brazil. Carli’s rise took her to the world stage, and she stepped up. This rise was a product of hours, hours, and more hours of hard work on the pitch. To many people, the spectators in the stands, and millions of eyes worldwide, Carli was just another player on the pitch. Although on August 21st in Beijing, Lloyd knew how hard she had worked to get there. She knew the current phase of her process and was prepared for it.
2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup
The USWNT were one of the favorites to win the 2011 tournament in Germany, although at the semi-final stage, the American dream looked to be over. In the 122nd minute, up rose Aby Wambach, steering in a far post header to crush Brazilian hearts, and sending the match to penalties. The United States went on to score all 5 of theirs, Lloyd among the scorers.
The final pitted Japan against the United States, and it was an unforgettable night, for Japan. This match also went onto Penalties after Japan equalized at 2-2 in the 117th minute. Penalties came, Lloyd stepped up, and fired over the crossbar. It was a moment of shock for the 48,000 in the stands, and the millions watching around the world. The USWNT crashed out of the World Cup, and were left to collect runners-up medals.
2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup
After the disappointment in Frankfurt 4 years prior, World Cup glory in Canada beckoned. In 7 matches, the US only conceded 3 goals, and lost 0 games. Fast forward to the final, it was a rematch between the USA and Japan. It was also a chance for Lloyd and the USWNT to REDEEM themselves! This task took little time, as Carli Lloyd opened the scoring in the 3rd minute of the match. 13 minutes later, Lloyd had completed her hat trick after scoring from the halfway line. The US went on to win the match 5-2, and win world-wide hearts.
ALL of us (I’m talking you guys Effective family) have been there at some point. We have a bad game, or get injured, or in Lloyd’s case – miss a penalty that potentially cost the US the most prized trophy in world sport. How do you recover from that? One of the learnings from Carli’s story is that if you fall down, never stay there. Get back up, dust yourself off and go again.
So congratulations Carli Lloyd on your success, you are an inspiration to us all. From being cut at the U-21 level, to scoring a 13-minute hat trick in the World Cup Final, and putting in one of the greatest sporting performances in history, you did it all from consistency, hard work, and trusting the process!