The U.S. Women’s National Team was featured on ABC’s Good Morning America on Friday morning along with Grammy nominated artist, Ed Sheeran.The team traveled by ferry to New York City’s Central Park before getting to meet the British pop star and chat with GMA hosts, Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos, Lara Spencer, Ginger Zee and Amy Robach.
It was #USWNT Media Day at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square yesterday! More than 190 media members came to speak to the players, making for a memorable day in Manhattan.
U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis
On the U.S. team’s form heading into Women’s World Cup:
“The team is in great spirits, very focused, [we’re] fine tuning, and you know, really excited to get going out there in Canada.”
On the difficulty of the tournament:
“If you just look at some of the Ballon d’Or ballots and nominees you can tell that the rest of the world has some tremendous players. I think that for the general public, they’re going to see an amazing level of athleticism."
"I think defending is going to be a very, very big part of this World Cup. Teams’ ability to make space and limit it is going to be a big part of this tournament. But if I’m a fan, or if I’m my ten year-old daughter, I want to see goals, I want to see fun, I want to see high-fives and goal celebrations. Those are the things I think the general public can see from this (World Cup).”
On facing Sweden and former USWNT manager Pia Sundhage in the second game of the group stage:
“All opponents I view with respect. Obviously I know Pia as a personal friend. So I know her very well and have the utmost respect for her as a person and as a coach. In terms of our personnel, I think it’s very different than when Pia was in charge. We’ve got different players involved and we play slightly differently, so I bet she’s probably got her scouts involved scouting us. But I think it’s great, I have no problem playing against my friends. I welcome the competition. Pia is a tremendous lady who’s done a lot for our sport and for our Federation here, and I’ll be excited to see her up there in Canada.”
U.S. forward Abby Wambach
On opportunities presented in this year’s World Cup:
“Well obviously winning is one of the biggest catalysts for positive growth of anything. Here in this country we haven’t experienced winning a World Cup, so we all want to see what kind of growth could take place after doing so. I’m just excited about having another opportunity to move the game forward.”
U.S. midfielder Carli Lloyd
On growing fan interest in the sport:
“I was thinking about this over the last year or so leading up (to this year’s World Cup). The last World Cup was great, and I think that Brazil game really enabled a lot of people to jump on board and follow us more. But I think we’re at a point now where, if we win this thing, I mean, this could be huge. And there’s no better time to win it, with the coverage, with social media, and with the fact that we haven’t won it in 16 years. So it’s a great time to win it, I think it’s one of the best environments we could be in, and we’re ready to go after it.”
On head coach Jill Ellis:
“I’ve known Jill for a really long time. We go back from the U.S. Under-21 days, and it’s pretty cool to kind of see everything come full-circle. I want to win a World Cup for her, I want to win it for myself and my teammates. But she’s done a great job of kind of steering the ship and getting us to believe in the philosophy and how we want to play, and I think things are really coming together.”
U.S. midfielder Megan Rapinoe
On the growth in popularity of the team:
“We know that we are part of this crazy growth stage (in the sport’s popularity). Four years ago, before the last World Cup, we were not doing this (Media Day), and I think we had like five or six thousand fans at our Send-Off game. We’re really proud of where we are now, and hopefully that just keeps growing.”
U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo
On excitement ahead of the World Cup:
“We all should be really excited. I’m really excited. We’re in New York City for a couple more days, but I think all of us are ready to just fly to Canada, close the doors behind us, and just really start to prepare our final days into the first game.”
On the competition within the team and depth of the squad:
“Competition is what makes us all better. That’s not cliché, that’s how our team operates. But it’s a competition that’s healthy. We know that to win the World Cup it’s going to take all 23 players. And I think this is the first tournament that I’ve been a part of where we have the opportunity to rest players throughout the tournament, to get a number of players’ minutes, and you’re not going to see a drop off in the level of play. I think that’s incredible and it’s the first time that we’ve had so much depth on a U.S. team.”
U.S. defender Christie Rampone
On the difference between this World Cup and the others she’s experienced:
“It’s been amazing to see the build up to each and every World Cup, obviously this being my fifth. The coverage has been really amazing, which then sparks interest from everybody at home.”
On the World Cup being so close to home:
“Being close to Canada, I think it’s going to be even better, because game times will be live and in prime time, and people will be able to watch it instead of getting up at the crack of dawn and seeing a game. So I think the timing of this event is definitely going to be a big factor for us.”
U.S. forward Alex Morgan
On the experience of this World Cup versus the last one:
“Going into the last World Cup, I just remember we weren’t getting as many fans as we’re getting now. We didn’t have as much coverage, and it was harder to get on TV. I feel like everything is lined up for us, and all we have to do now is win it.”
“Well I was definitely learning during that 2011 World Cup. Christie, Carli, and a couple other players – Abby – were helping me along the way. It was my first major tournament, and I didn’t really know what to expect going into it. I hadn’t played in front of a crowd larger than five or ten thousand, so it was very new to me. I think going into this World Cup I just feel like I can expect a little bit more, and I know what I needed preparing for this World Cup. I feel, mentally, a little more at ease, just with the experience. There’s some things you just can’t learn without experience, and I think having a World Cup under me – and going through that emotional rollercoaster, from group play all the way until the end of the final – I think definitely helped me to be mentally stronger today.”
SOCCER TO THE BONE
In Delran, New Jersey, a small town with a blue collar work ethic, Carli Lloyd lived one block from the field. “I played a ton of pickup games – there were a lot of Turkish guys, all ages, and we’d just play for hours. You could play freely and try different things, not having a coach breathing down your neck. I loved it.” And when there wasn’t a game, she’d head out to the field alone, lugging a bag of collected balls. “I was kind of a ball scavenger. I’d go find them in the woods after weekend tournaments.” She’d shoot on goal, go fetch the balls, and start again.
While Lloyd was always a soccer junkie – the kid who always polished her cleats, the one at the field playing for hours, she says she still “had no idea what it took” to get to the next level. Post-college, Lloyd began developing the intense work ethic and commitment to fitness she’s now known for. She remembers the first time she was told to run for fifteen minutes, “I was like, uh? Fifteen minutes straight? I’m thinking, ‘Oh good lord.’ I’d get a side cramp, I’d be totally gassed. Now I go on 90 minute runs no problem. Before, I couldn’t do 15 minutes.”
Her coach would tell her stories of the greats – how Mohammad Ali would train on Christmas morning because he knew no one else was training on Christmas morning, how Bruce Lee would do 10,000 sits up a day. Lloyd took that to heart: “If it’s a holiday, if I am training on Christmas Day, most likely nobody else is – and that gives me the edge. If I’m supposed to run for 20 minutes and I get back and it’s only been 19:34, I’m going to jog in a circle for 26 more seconds. I’m never going to cut it short. I know what it takes now.”
Carli Lloyd has known her fiancé Brian since she was a kid. “I lived on one side of the field, Carli lived on the other,” says Brian. “I’d always see her by herself kicking balls at the field.” While he is primarily a golfer, he played soccer in high school and continues to train with her to this day.
U.S. National Team: The WNT’s all-time scoring leader (61 goals heading into 2015) for a player who has played exclusively as a midfielder, Lloyd has scored many crucial goals for the USA during her career, most recently during the 2012 London Olympics – when she scored twice in the 2-1 gold medal victory vs. Japan -- and 2014 Women’s World Cup Qualifying tournament.
2015: Named to the 2015 FIFA U.S. Women's World Cup roster, her third World Cup selection... Has appeared in all nine games for the U.S. so far this year, starting eight, captaining four and playing the second-most minutes on the team with 752... Provided the assist on Abby Wambach's second goal in the USA's 3-0 win over the Republic of Ireland on May 10... Notched both goals in a 2-1 win against Norway at the Algarve Cup on March 4... Played in all four games during the Algarve Cup, helping the WNT win its 10th title... 2014: Had arguably her most productive all-around year with the National Team, starting all 23 games in which she appeared, tying her career high with 15 goals scored while adding eight assists and led the team in both goals and assists … Tied for the team lead in games played and led the USA in starts … Led the USA in minutes played and the only player to play more than 2,000 minutes (2,043) … Captained the team on two occasions against France (6/19) and Guatemala (10/17) … Became the ninth player in WNT history to hit the 50-goal milestone when she scored a brace against China PR (4/10) … The only player to play every minute of all five games at the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship, she scored five goals with four assists to help the USA book its ticket to the 2015 Women’s World Cup and was named MVP of the tournament … Had three two-goal games, vs. Russia, China PR and Mexico … Scored a hat trick at the end of the year vs. Argentina at the International Tournament of Brasilia … In a span of seven consecutive games at the end of the year, she scored 10 goals while scoring at least one in each game … 2013: Played 768 minutes in 11 games while starting nine and scored three goals with one assist … Scored against the Korea Republic, Australia and New Zealand … With her 45th and 46th career goals, she tied and then passed Julie Foudy to become the top scorer in U.S. WNT history for a player that has played exclusively in the midfield … 2012: Played in all 32 matches for the USA, one of just three players to do so, while starting 27 … She was once again a hero in an Olympic gold medal game, scoring both goals in the USA’s 2-1 victory against Japan in front of more than 80,000 fans at Wembley Stadium … Became the only player – male or female – in the history of the Olympics to score game-winning goals in two consecutive Olympic gold medal games … Her 2,441 minutes played were the second-most in a year during her career … Her 15 goals were a career high for a calendar year and made her the third-leading scorer on the U.S. team … Did not start the first match of the Olympics against France, but came on early for an injured Shannon Boxx and scored the winning goal … She then started the remaining five games while scoring four total goals, good for second on the team in the Olympics behind Abby Wambach’s five goals … She never left the field again after coming into the France match in the 16th minute … Scored a slew of goals against top teams and registered her first career hat trick in a 3-0 victory against Mexico during Olympic qualifying to seal first place in the group for the USA … Started all five games of the Olympic Qualifying tournament in Vancouver, Canada, scoring six goals (tied for tops on the team) with one assist … Also scored in the 3-0 semifinal victory against Costa Rica that sent the USA to the Olympics … On the short list for the 2012 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year and finished sixth in the voting … 2011: Tied for the team lead in games played with 19, starting them all, and led the USA in minutes played with 1,654 … Played all but 16 minutes of the Women’s World Cup in Germany, scoring one goal with one assist … The first World Cup goal of her career came against Colombia in group play on a shot from distance ... Tied for second on the team in scoring with six goals and three assists on the year … Scored three goals at the Algarve Cup, against Norway, Finland and then Iceland in the championship game … Also scored against Sweden and China at the Four Nations Tournament … Her six goals moved her into 15th place on the all-time U.S. scoring list with 28 goals … 2010: Suffered a broken ankle early in the WPS season but still played in 15 matches for the USA, starting 14 … She scored three goals with five assists and earned her 100th career cap in the final game of the year against Italy during the second leg of the FIFA Women’s World Cup playoff series … Scored against Germany in the Algarve Cup final … Started all five games at the CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament, scoring two goals with five assists … Played every minute of both legs of the playoff series against Italy … 2009: Played in six games for the USA, starting five … 2008: Named the U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year … Was a fixture in the midfield for the USA, starting all 35 games in which she played, tying for the team lead in matches started during the year … Set a U.S. record for most starts in a year at 35 … Finished third on the team in minutes played with 2,781 … Had her best scoring year for the WNT, finding the net nine times with nine assists … Scored two huge goals during the 2008 Olympics, bagging the winner in the crucial 1-0 victory against Japan in group play and then scored one of the most important goals in U.S. history in the Olympic gold medal game as she netted the game-winner in the overtime victory against Brazil … Scored against Canada in the championship game of Olympic qualifying on a dramatic free kick in overtime … Scored the winning goal in a 3-2 stoppage time victory against Australia on April 27, in Cary, N.C. … Scored in both of the USA’s matches in Scandinavia, against Norway and Sweden … 2007: Established herself in a starting role in midfield … After scoring once in her first 24 matches, she scored four goals – one in each game – at the 2007 Algarve Cup, earning tournament top scorer and MVP honors … Scored her sixth career goal on a diving header in the USA’s 1-0 victory against Norway on July 14 and then registered her first two-goal game in a 6-1 win against New Zealand on Aug. 12, including one blast from 38 yards … Started 13 of the 23 matches she played … Played in her first Women’s World Cup tournament, starting three (all in the first round) of the five games she played … Had nine goals and three assists to finish third on the team in scoring … 2006: Earned her third career cap at the 2006 Four Nations Tournament … Earned the first two starts of her career at the 2006 Algarve Cup, gaining a place in the starting 11 against Denmark and in the championship game against Germany … Played in 19 games, starting 13, and scored one goal, that against Chinese Taipei … 2005: Earned her first two caps in 2005, playing against Ukraine and Mexico, a game in which she broke her wrist … 2004: Trained with the U.S. team during the 2004 Olympic Residency Training Camp … Youth National Teams: A member of four U-21 Nordic Cup championships teams, winning titles in 2002 in Finland, in Denmark in 2003, in Iceland in 2004 and in Sweden in 2005 … Scored three times in the 2005 Nordic Cup, including two against Denmark and one in the championship against Norway … Had two goals and an assist, starting every match, at the 2004 Nordic Cup ... Assisted on the lone goal in the USA’s 1-0 win against Denmark in the first round of the 2003 Nordic Cup ... First Appearance: July 10, 2005, vs. Ukraine ... First Goal: Oct. 1, 2006, vs. Chinese Taipei.
Professional / Club – 2014: Traded to the Houston Dash on Oct. 16 in exchange for midfielder Becky Edwards, defender Whitney Engen, and a third round pick in the 2016 NWSL College Draft … Started all 19 games in which she played for the WNY Flash during the 2014 season … Scored eight goals and had five assists … Named to the NWSL Best XI Second Team … Was third in the league in shots with 61 and sixth in shots on goal with 33 … Led the league in fouls committed with 51 … 2013: Allocated to the Western New York Flash for the 2013 NWSL season and played 1,296 minutes in 15 matches, starting 14 … Missed a few games at the start of the season due to injury, but returned to have an excellent year, scoring eight regular season goals, tied for third in the league with four other players … Scored both goals in the 2-0 playoff semifinal win against Sky Blue FC that sent Western NY to the first NWSL championship game … Finished fifth in the league in shots (53) … 2011: Signed with the Atlanta Beat for the 2011 WPS season, playing 800 minutes in 10 games while starting eight … Scored two goals for the Beat … 2010: Signed with her home state and WPS champion Sky Blue FC during the offseason … Played in just five games for Sky Blue in 2010 after suffering a broken ankle early in the season … Was out almost the entire season but returned to play the last two matches and logged just 200 minutes of action in the second season of WPS … 2009: Allocated to the Chicago Red Stars for the inaugural WPS season in 2009 … Played in 16 games for the Red Stars, starting 14, and scored two goals with one assist … Missed several games during the middle of the season after suffering a deep gash across her knee during national team training … Youth: Played for the Medford Strikers club team, winning the 1997 and 1998 State Cups ... Helped lead PDA Galaxy to the 2001 U-23 national title and earned MVP honors … Also trained with the WUSA’s Philadelphia Charge during the summer of 2003.