Carli Lloyd’s voice catches just briefly when she considers whether revealing the emotional scars of a longtime rift with her parents might someday bring her family back together.
It’s an ever-so-slight display off raw emotion from Lloyd, belying her usual no-nonsense exterior.
“Growing up my family meant the world to me. I would listen to every single thing they said. I would look forward to Christmases and Thanksgivings and just being with them,” Lloyd said. “And then to have this spiral, with not speaking to them, has really saddened me over the years.
“It’s been hard because there have been so many joyous moments in my career and my life and they haven’t been a part of that. So you know, definitely down the road, I’d love for things to work out and get back on track. Maybe this is a great opportunity for it to happen.”
Lloyd divulges that she has been estranged from her family since 2008 in her new memoir, “When Nobody Was Watching: My Hard-Fought Journey to the Top of the Soccer World,” which comes out on Monday.
Although she is intensely private, she says the discord in her family has been part of her journey. She had to be totally honest with her co-author Wayne Coffey.
“I don’t do fake,” she said in an interview with The Associated Press, echoing a theme from the book.
Lloyd’s rise culminated last year when she scored three goals in the World Cup final over Japan to win soccer’s biggest trophy. She was later named FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year.
But the 34-year-old midfielder’s career was peppered with setbacks. Lloyd was benched before the 2012 London Games by then-coach Pia Sundhage, who liked the combination of Shannon Boxx and Lauren Holiday. The demotion didn’t last long because Boxx was injured in the opener.
Lloyd started the rest of the way and scored both goals in the gold-medal match against Japan at Wembley Stadium. She’s the only player to score winning goals in consecutive Olympic finals: At the Beijing Games in 2008, she scored in overtime for a 1-0 victory against Brazil.
By her side for the past 13 years has been James Galanis, her mentor and coach. Lloyd considered quitting the sport after college but her father approached Galanis after a training session and asked him to help his daughter.
Lloyd is fiercely loyal to Galanis, crediting him with making her the athlete she is today. He endearingly refers to her as “Ms. Lloyd” in emails.
She’s also loyal to another friend, goalkeeper Hope Solo.
When Solo was ostracized from the national team during the 2007 World Cup for comments she made following the semifinal loss to Brazil, Lloyd stood by her. Coach Greg Ryan had decided to play Brianna Scurry in goal rather than Solo and the United States lost 4-0. Solo publicly questioned the decision.
“Hope and I weren’t actually close prior to this. We got into a little bit of an argument about a car situation when we were in residency in 2006. With her big personality and my strong personality, our egos clashed,” Lloyd said, laughing. “This 2007 moment, I didn’t like what was happening. … I thought to myself, ‘This isn’t right.'”
Solo has often been a lightning rod for controversy and is currently suspended from the U.S. team for six months after calling Sweden a “bunch of cowards” for their defensive tactics during the Rio Olympics. U.S. Soccer has said the suspension was the culmination of several missteps.
“I’ve tried to wrap my head around the Olympics and just the way that we finished up, and Hope’s comment, and her suspension,” Lloyd said. “It’s weird. It’s weird being in camp without her there, weird sitting on the bus and she’s not across from me.
“I hope that in time after the suspension is over, after she settles down and U.S. soccer settles down, I hope that maybe they can come together and work it out.”
The United States was sent home from Brazil after the 1-1 draw with Sweden was decided by penalty kicks. It was the Americans’ earliest-ever exit from the Olympics after winning three straight gold medals.
For now Lloyd is looking forward to the immediate future. First there’s a book tour. In November she’ll marry high school sweetheart Brian Hollins.
Ongoing are the collective bargaining agreement talks with U.S. Soccer. The team’s current contract expires at the end of this year.
The players are looking to bring their salaries more in line with those for players on the men’s national team. Lloyd was among five players who drew national attention when they filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charging the federation with wage discrimination.
“Things are moving along,” she said about negotiations. “We’ve dealt with this before, where it gets down to the wire. It’s not something to stress out about, it’s the nature of the business. We had a World Cup, we had the Olympics, so things have been pretty busy. But we do have some time before the new year.”
Beyond that, there’s preparation for the 2019 World Cup in France and the 2020 Games in Japan. Lloyd will be 38 when the next quadrennial wraps up.
“I think the next three years of my journey is really all about enjoying the ride. It’s going to be over in a blink of an eye,” she said about her career. “I owe it to myself, I owe it to James, and all of my support system, to just make the most of it.”