“I was solely relying on talent and didn’t know the importance of being fit, being mentally strong and how to train and act like a professional,” Lloyd said about the learning experience. Her father helped turn things around by connecting her with coach James Galanis, with whom she still trains. “James had this vision and his goal was to turn me into one of the best players in the world,” she noted. While that wasn’t something Lloyd believed at the time, she worked hard to change her diet and her fitness regimen and made the sacrifices necessary to become a world-class athlete. “With each obstacle and each struggle you get stronger and stronger,” she told Visa. “You don’t grow in the good moments, you grow as a person and as an athlete in tough times and it helps define your character.”
Carli Lloyd is now co-captain of the United States Women’s National Team and a Team Visa member, a group of sponsored Olympic and Paralympic Games athletes who embody Visa’s values of acceptance, partnership and innovation. “I was really excited to join Team Visa just before the World Cup,” said Lloyd. “Visa wants the best for their athletes. It’s an honor to be a part of it.”
Before her historic World Cup win, Lloyd had already won two gold medals, each in the finals of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and the London 2012 Olympic Games, so she isn’t new to the Olympic Games party as she heads to Rio this summer. Still, another gold medal would solidify her status as one of the world’s best soccer players. Off the field, Lloyd is the author of the upcoming memoir, When Nobody Was Watching (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Sept. 2016) and plans to marry her high school sweetheart, Brian Hollins, a club pro golfer, following the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Theresa Gonzalez is a senior writer for Visa and the author of two Chronicle Books titles. She lives in San Francisco. Follow her on Twitter @theresagonzalez.
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