Carli Lloyd: A Drive for a Goal

by Taylor Takeuchi from San Diego, California in United States

133984Carli Lloyd Shooting Lloyd playing for the US Women's National Team in San Jose, California on 10 May 2015. Drive for a Goal
   “Real heroes strive for imperishable trophies. Their rules and goals are different. They live and work in the world, but they embrace the eternal values of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control” (Harper). Charles Harper’s essay “How we Choose our Heroes” argues how heroes are people who show qualities such as “patience” and “humility”. Sadly, modern society chooses “celebrities from whom we expect little and sometimes get less” (Harper). The heroes we choose are usually the most famous or the most beautiful. We choose looks over actions. We choose the Kardashians over the advocate fighting for women's education in third-world countries. This begs the question: Who should our true heroes be? A worthy hero is a positive role model for us to follow. The coach who pushed a young athlete to the next level, the former drug addict who shares his/her story with a school, and an advocate fighting for a better future. All these people are role models who helped teach kindness to those around them. Heroes change people’s lives in a positive way. True heroes are people showing us what type of person we can be. A hero is someone inspiring others through example and advocating for what they believe in while staying authentic to themselves.

      A person who is a positive role model and an advocate for a better future is a female soccer player named Carli Lloyd. Born in the small town of Delran New Jersey, Lloyd developed a love for soccer from a young age. She played on numerous soccer teams in her youth and adolescence years, and in college, was the star player at Rutgers University. Only when she got cut from the Youth National Team (a team that trains players for the National team) was she then pushed to become the extraordinary soccer player we know today. Soon after getting cut she teamed up with the trainer and mentor, James Galanis, whom she credits for saving her career. With the help of Galanis, she worked harder and became more committed to the game. Lloyd then debuted on the United States National Team in 2005. She would go on to win two Olympic gold medals (2008 and 2012) and a FIFA World Cup (2015). In the World Cup, she captured the admiration of the nation after scoring a hat trick (three goals in a game) in the final against Japan. The player of the match was awarded to her in that final, FIFA then named her player of the year two times in a row. Carli Lloyd displays qualities like perseverance, hard work, and dedication making her the outstanding soccer player that America loves and praises. The sacrifices she has made and enthusiasm she showed has captured the hearts of countless female athletes. Not only is she a hero on the field but also off the field as well, and her sense of equality has driven change in the nation. America should not deem Carli Lloyd a hero because of her lavish awards, but instead, praise her for being a positive role model and inspiring the younger generation.

Lloyd is a positive role model often demonstrating perseverance and a mindset that refuses to give up. In her memoir When Nobody Was Watching: My Hard-Fought Journey to the Top of the Soccer World, see how she was a player who loved a challenge. She divulged:
    “I was benched by [the coach] after a lackluster showing in our send-off game before going to [the Olympics]. When I scored both goals in the final to carry the U.S. another Olympic Gold…[it proved] I am one of those athletes who thrive on slights whether real or imagined. My trainer James  calls it “the underdog mentality” (Lloyd 5).

   Lloyd did not stop working despite the fact that lots of people underestimated her. In fact, the doubt of people added fuel to her hunger to become the best in the world. Lloyd gained her skilled by climbing the over the obstacles and the challenges that were in her way. The doubt that weighed on her, had been turned it into a desire to become the best in the world and a hunger to show all those who misjudged her. Lloyd relished the fact that she was underestimated. She showed all the doubters that they were wrong, and at the same time uplifting those who have been doubted. By using her story she encouraged those that were doubted to keep chasing after their goals. In addition, Lloyd not only exhibited determination but also she displayed a perpetual drive to grow. This is seen when she says: “I am not somebody who comes home after training and switches off. I am switched on 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Some may think that’s extreme, but in order to be the best and where I want to be in my career. You can’t ever shut off”. She had a mentality of hard work and hunger. She continuously trained her mind and her body around the clock. It has helped her grow to the level she is today. She always displayed a continuous hunger to never settle for anything. She sent a message synonymous with many athletes, hard work is going to get one anywhere. Through her countless sacrifice and hours she puts in, she inspired young athletes to become the best version of themselves. She not only encouraged hard work but dedication as well. In her biographical part of her profile on the official U.S. Women’s National Team website, she was quoted stating: "If it’s a holiday, if I am training on Christmas Day, most likely nobody else is – and that gives me the edge" (qtd. in USWNT). The ability to practice beyond what is required clearly demonstrated in Lloyd. Christmas is a time to sit down with loved ones and enjoy each others company. Most people would’ve balked at the idea of relinquishing their sacred holidays to work and exercise. Lloyd knew the likelihood of reaching her goals depended on how much work she puts in, as a result, she knew shortcuts can’t be taken. She had a “no days off” mentality and trains 365 days a year. Her commitment to soccer no matter the cost is a quality a hero possesses. Lloyd's endless commitment has allowed her to achieve her goals while inspiring others to persist with any goals they might have. Her commitment is the key to elevating her from ordinary, to extraordinary. In conclusion, Carli Lloyd possesses traits of a positive role model including her strength to work through tough times, her ability to work hard, and her complete and utter devotion to soccer. She not only possesses these qualities but used these qualities create a better future.

Carli Lloyd has successfully influenced the younger generations, by bringing to light issues such as female inequality. In 2016, Lloyd and other prominent female soccer players filed a wage discrimination complaint against U.S. Soccer Federation. In an article with the New York Times, she explains why she did so: “[My reasons for filing a lawsuit] had everything to do with upholding a fundamental American concept: equal pay for equal play. Even if you are female. Simply put, we’re sick of being treated like second-class citizens. It wears on you after a while. And [Women’s National Soccer team] are done with it” (Lloyd). She carries an honest and open tone in this piece. Her beliefs have to lead her to take bold action against a giant multi-million dollar federation. She is honest with her feelings about the equal pay situation and she has used these emotions to imagine a greater future for the players after her. She then utilizes the media in a way to advocate for the women around her. Lloyd took the platform given to her by her soccer career and used it to combat social issues, which in this case is the pay gap between males and females. She demonstrated how people in the public eye should act. Lloyd used her spotlight to bring attention to a social issue instead of collecting more online followers or money. She created a better future for the athletes of the future while simultaneously inspiring the younger generation. Lloyd and the rest of the team have changed how America views women’s soccer and female athletes. Women’s soccer was scoffed at in the 1980s and considered a joke. With the help of the current player on the United States National Team, it’s now a different story. The FIFA Women’s World Cup Final broke records and was the most watched soccer game in American history. After the team won the historic win, Former President Barack Obama gave a speech about the impact the team has on young female athletes. In his speech, he stated: “This team has taught all America’s children playing like a girl means you’re a badass.’ Obama said, to applause in the White House East Room. ‘Perhaps I shouldn’t have used that phrase. Playing like a girl means being the best” (qtd. in “Obama Honors”). Lloyd and the rest of the team have changed the way girls play soccer over the last decade. They changed how girls were viewed and how girls viewed themselves. She has successfully created a change in female equality and her actions have a tremendous impact on young female athletes. With the help of Lloyd, the world has realized girls can be as good as boys if not better. Lloyd has influenced the ways girls view themselves and at the same time, bringing to light gender inequality in society. She created a better the world through the sport she loved as a true hero would. The true heroes make an impact on the world, no matter how big or how small and it is exactly what Lloyd does.

Carli Lloyd once wrote: “I am, after all, a soccer player. Not a brand. Not a celebrity. Why complicate image-making or pretensions? Give me a ball and let's go. That is how true soccer players are” (218). She displays a willingness to work and well-ingrained passion for soccer, and her passion has led her to fight for her love for the game. Whether that fight is being on the United States National Team or equal pay, she does it with enthusiasm and a sense of love. Her journey started with the intention of becoming the best at something she loved. Lloyd didn’t do it for the money or fame. She created her “brand” through a hell of immeasurable hard work and devotion. She fought for her herself, and eventually others, for something she deeply cares about. Her passion and honesty is something to be admired and applied to our daily lives. Her hard work and love for the game define who she is. Lloyd is a true hero because: “Real heroes strive for the imperishable trophies” (Harper). The real trophy is the difference she makes in people’s lives. She used her platform to shed light on social issues such as equal pay. Her broadcasting of this issue has opened the eyes for many Americans about the gender-oriented inconsistency in pay, including me. Carli Lloyd was first introduced to me in 2nd grade when I watched the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final in 2011. As I watched the United States and Japan battle, I was enthralled with the women on screen. In the end, Japan won the game, but I would never forget a rising star by the name of Carli Lloyd. I even wore her number (10) for a season in my own soccer career. Many years later I learned about her fight against equal play through a 60 Minutes special. Her fight against equal pay helped me discover how severe the disparities between men and women. Her words and actions have given me the courage to stand up to something I thought as unjust. In 7th grade, I wrote an essay about the gender pay gap, and I passionately argued that it’s a problem in female sports. When I was learning about Lloyd’s work I had discovered that gender inequality goes beyond pay. Sadly, this kind of gender discrimination is present in countless aspects of everyday life. Because of her actions, I have discovered the feminist within myself. I am not the naive fourth grader I once was, and know the differences between men and women in society. Carli Lloyd was the drive behind so much change in the world, she scored many goals in her life and on the field. The famous soccer player should be celebrated as a hero, not only because she scored many goals for the United States, but because she is showed us how to drive in our own goals.

Page created on 5/18/2019 9:36:53 PM

Last edited 3/25/2024 3:19:55 PM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Extra Info

For more information about Carli Lloyd please visit these sites:

Official Soccer Profile:

60 Minutes Segment on Equal pay:


Lloyd, Carli. When Nobody Was Watching: My Hard-Fought Journey to the Top of the Soccer World..Mariner Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,, 2017.

Lloyd, Carli. Why I am Fighting for Equal Pay. [Online] Available

Soccer, U.S.. “The Journey: Carli Lloyd” Youtube, 2018.

Courier Post Sports, The. “Obama Honors Carli Lloyd, U.S. Team.”. [Online] Available

Harper, Charles. “How Should We Choose Our Heroes?”. [Online] Available