Carli Lloyd was the top goalscorer and best player of the recent Women’s World Cup, won by USA. The 33 year-old American midfielder, who plays for Houston Dash in the National Women’s Soccer League, is the favourite to win the FIFA award for the best female football player in the world in 2015.
Lloyd led the US national team to their third world title, finding the net six times in the tournament held in Canada last June and July, including three goals in the final against Japan.
USA is the leading country in many sectors of society, but in men’s football they have struggled a lot despite some small progress through the years. However, their women’s team is far more accomplished, and continues to be the dominant force in world football.
In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, Lloyd spoke about the differences between men’s and women’s football, as well as her hopes of winning the FIFA award this year.
Q. USA won the World Cup title for the first time in 16 years, avenging their 2011 loss against Japan. Was revenge your main motivation to win the title?
I wouldn't say that revenge was our motivation to win. We have played Japan in the last three major tournament finals and each time it has been different. We all wanted to win the World Cup and it didn't matter who we were facing in the final. That was our motivation – to become a World Cup champion.
Q. You scored the gold medal-winning goals in the finals of both the 2008 Summer Olympics and the 2012 Summer Olympics. This year you netted a hat-trick in the World Cup final. Would you say you were born to find the net in the big games?
I think my preparation over the years and training when no one is watching have prepared me to show up in the biggest moments. I have continued to break barriers both mentally and physically.
Q. You are a midfielder, but the last few years you have scored many goals – more than many strikers. To what do you attribute your tendency to find the net?
I have mostly been a box to box midfielder throughout my career on the national team. The difference with scoring more goals in the last few years has been my positional change on the field. I have been higher up the field and have been able to attack more and get in the box.
Q. You have won the World Cup three times with USA. Is an NWSL title your biggest aim now? Do you believe you can do that with Houston Dash?
I always want to win no matter which team I am playing on. I always go out there and give 100%. That was the goal with Houston. But we have fallen short of the playoffs this year.
Q. The women's US soccer team has much more successes than the men's team. What do you think is the reason for that?
It's a different game. We have always been dominant because of our athleticism and fitness. But the world is catching up and the gap is closing in on us. We now need to be more skillful and more sophisticated with our play.
Q. The men's world champions are Germany. If an exhibition game was to be held between the USA women's team and the Germany men's team, what would be the score like, in your opinion? Is there a monumental difference between women's and men's soccer or would you be able to compete well with them?
It would be extremely hard to play against Germany. Men are faster and stronger. We often times play against U-16 boys teams and that is as about as old as we can go.
Q. Do you think it will one day be possible for a female soccer player to be able to take part in a men's team? How does that scenario sound to you?
I would love to play against men. I play against men when in training at www.universalsocceracademy.com and find that it is one of the best ways to be challenged.
Q. This year, German Nadine Kessler was named the Women's World Player of the Year. Do you expect to win that award next year? You were in the shortlist in 2012.
Many people are saying that I am the favourite to win it. However I am not getting too excited until it happens.
Q. Who are your favorite male and female players in the world among current footballers?
Some of my favourite male players include Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Gerrard and James Rodriguez. Some of my favourite female players include Michelle Akers, Formiga, Aya Miyama.
Q. What do you think is the biggest obstacle that is preventing women's football from being as popular as men's football?
The USA is trying really hard to turn women's soccer into a mainstream sport. US Soccer have invested a lot of money in the women's game and are doing their bit to grow the game. However in other countries women's soccer is not being funded heavily by national soccer associations or clubs.
This is stunting the growth of the game, and not encouraging females to play. In a lot of countries girls are looked down upon if they play soccer.