What it will take for Carli Lloyd to kick in the NFL
United States women’s national team legend, two-time World Cup champion, two-time Olympic gold medalist, two-time FIFA Player of the Year and Rutgers alum Carli Lloyd steps away from trying her hand at NFL place-kicking to tackle some Q&A with Post columnist Steve Serby.
Q: Why do you believe you can kick in the NFL?
A: I have spent 15 years breaking down my technique on the soccer field and there is no reason why I can’t get the technique down with a two- step field goal. I love challenges and this would be a big challenge for me.
Q: What kind of training do you think you would need to do?
A: I need to get the minimal steps down, try kicking with a helmet and pads and fine-tune the correct technique.
Q: Why is it intriguing to you?
A: It is a challenge and I love challenges, plus no female has ever played in the NFL.
Q: How dangerous would it be for you if one of your kicks was blocked? Keenan Allen of the Chargers says you’d be stampeded. Your reaction?
A: I am not naive to know that there are big men in football and there is the chance of possibly getting tackled or hit.
Q: Why do you think you could handle the pressure of a field goal that could win or lose the game?
A: For the past 15 years I have been placed in pressure situations and that is what I enjoy the most. Mentally I have worked on my mindset and know that what I have gone through would prepare me to kick a field goal in a pressure situation.
Q: What drove you growing up?
A: I loved sports and was highly competitive. I lived and breathed playing soccer. It was my life and still is. I always loved winning and nothing has changed since I was a little girl.
Q: What drives you now?
A: I am highly competitive, but only competing against myself. I have an addiction with becoming better and better every single day. I always want to turn my weaknesses into strengths.
Q: Women in sports and life you admire and why?
A: Katie Ledecky, Simone Biles, Serena Williams have broken barriers in their sports and have reached the top through sheer hard work.
Q: Athletes in sports other than soccer you admire and why?
A: Tom Brady, Kobe Bryant, Roger Federer … they all have one thing in mind, to be the best they can be. They compete against themselves and are a champion in their sport.
Q: Where does winning the recent World Cup rank for you?
A: It is hard to rank the championships I have won, but this World Cup will always be special as it was back-to-back.
Q: Describe the thrill of your famous hat trick (2015 World Cup final vs. Japan).
A: It was certainly a memory I will never forget. I had worked so hard to get to that point and I was just happy to help my team win the World Cup and bring joy to the faces of all our fans.
Q: How often have you watched the greatest shot in U.S. history?
A: Only when it’s been highlighted or shown to me.
Q: Describe the feeling of standing on a float through the Canyon of Heroes. What did you learn about New Yorkers?
A: Being a part of two ticker-tape parades was amazing. The amount of people who crowded the streets and cheered us through the Canyon of Heroes shows how loved our team is and the amount of support we have.
Q: When will the disparity gap between women and men begin to close?
A: I think this will unfortunately be something we have to continue to fight for, but hopefully closes quickly.
Q: 2008 Olympic memories?
A: Going in as the underdogs with a new coach and without our star striker Abby (Wambach), but managed to win and it was incredibly special sharing the field with my teammates as we collectively won an Olympic gold medal. It was special for me being able to score the game-winner in overtime in the final.
Q: 2012 Olympic memories?
A: My role going into this tournament was unknown and I was told I would be a bench player. I ended up coming on in the first game and scored the game-winning goal and starting every game after that. Standing up on the podium was a moment I will never forget because I had overcome a lot of adversity to get the gold medal.
Q: What has made you a big-game player?
A: My personal coach James Galanis of Universal Soccer Academy has really turned me into a mental machine. He taught me how to identify moments where I need to step it up a gear and get the most out of my game.
Q: What was it about Jimmy Galanis that enabled him to get through to you when you wanted to quit?
A: I could tell that he believed in me and had formulated a plan to conquer my weaknesses and further enhance my strengths. He was and is the greatest soccer mind I have ever met and I knew that if I listen to him I can turn the rejection into a positive.
Q: Favorite Rutgers memory?
A: All of the good times I spent with my teammates and the memories and bonds I created throughout my four years there.
Q: Idols growing up — who were they and why were they your idols?
A: My cousin Jaime Bula, Michelle Akers, Michael Jordan and Darren Daulton.
Q: What’s on your bucket list?
A: To backpack through Europe, go on an Alaskan cruise and spend time on the Greek islands.
Q: What would you like your legacy to be?
A: I want to be remembered for what I did on the field and for the way I handled adversity throughout my career. I want people to see that anything is possible through sacrifice, hard work and dedication. You ultimately decide what path you take in life. I want people to see how I never gave up no matter what was thrown my way.
Q: What are you most proud of about your book (When Nobody Was Watching)?
A: I am proud of my honest story that I have shared with the world. I was very transparent with what I have gone through both on and off the field and I hope that my story inspires people from all walks of life to never give up on their dreams and to work hard each and every day to become successful.
Q: Favorite movies?
A: The Hangover, Goonies, Back to the Future, Bridesmaids.
Q: Favorite actor?
A: Bradley Cooper.
Q: Favorite actress?
A: Julia Roberts.
Q: Favorite singer/entertainer?
Q: Favorite meal?
A: Indian food.
Q: 2020 Olympics still the plan?
A: Yes, I would love to play in the Olympics. There is no doubt that I am in the best form ever. I feel like I have improved to a point where everything has aligned. Physically I feel great, tactically I know the game better than ever, my skills are sharper than ever, and I have the experience to know what’s coming. As long as my body feels good I will keep playing.
Q: What’s it like being Carli Lloyd today?
A: I am still the same Carli from 15 years ago before I turned professional, the only difference is I am more mature and have become a better person, but I haven’t changed no matter what success has come my way.
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