Not a good idea to bet against Lloyd

Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Soccer

"Every phase of my career there's been small, little battles, big battles. I'm constantly fighting these battles ... to be on top in the big moments. That's really what it's all about."

This is actually the fourth phase of Lloyd's career, one for which Galanis -- a confident and convincing Australian Lloyd happily calls her guru -- originally didn't plan. When he started working with Lloyd near her New Jersey home 15 years ago, he divided her career into three segments, ending with the 2016 Rio Olympics. But Lloyd convinced him she had more left.

A lot more.

"I'm more fit than I've ever been. I'm stronger than I've ever been. I'm training harder than ever. And I think I'm playing smarter," she said.

Smarts and experience, Lloyd said, have made her better by allowing her to anticipate plays and react to them before they happen.

"It's all about efficiency," she said. "In the beginning of my career, I'd just run all around. Now it's all about getting in the right position, doing less running because you've become even smarter and wiser."

One of those who is smartly betting on Lloyd to prove her detractors wrong again is Jill Ellis, coach of the women's national team.

"Carli battled some injuries last year so now it's about getting back into an everyday competitive environment," Ellis said. "Like any player, it's about showing consistency in your performance to produce every day on the training pitch, and then performing at the highest levels in matches."

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Lloyd is getting the chance to produce on the training pitch during twice-daily practices. And next week, when Ellis trims the camp roster from 24 to 18, Lloyd hopes to convince her coach she deserves a chance to perform at the highest levels in matches during a Jan. 21 friendly with Denmark in San Diego.

The real target, though, is October's World Cup qualifiers. And by then Lloyd promises she'll have nothing left to prove.

"I know that I'll be peaking at the right moment and giving the coaching staff no reason to leave me out of the squad," she said.

"This next phase, I'm going to take over the world again."

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