When Nobody Was Watching
Carli Lloyd with Wayne Coffey
In 2015, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team won its first FIFA championship in sixteen years, culminating in an epic final game that electrified soccer fans around the world. It featured a gutsy, brilliant performance by team captain and midfielder Carli Lloyd, who made history that day, scoring a hat trick—three goals in one game—during the first sixteen minutes.
But there was a time when Carli almost quit the sport. In 2003 she was struggling, her soccer career at a crossroads. Then she found a trusted trainer, James Galanis, who saw in Carli a player with raw talent, skill, and a great dedication to the game. What Carli lacked were fitness, mental toughness, and character. Together they set to work, training day and night, fighting, grinding it out. No one worked harder than Carli. And no one believed in her more than James. Despite all the naysayers, the times she was benched, moments when her self-confidence took a nosedive, she succeeded in becoming one of the best players in the world.
The Story of Sport
Soccer is my favorite sport (well, maybe running, but they’re similar). I played recreationally for years and worked as a referee during high school and college. For all that though, I don’t follow professional soccer. I hear things here and there, but not much. So I was only tangentially interested in Carli’s description of specific games.
If you’re not a soccer fan and decide to read this, I think you’ll be fine, although you might not pick up on all the details.
The Mental Game
What endlessly fascinates me is the psychology of elite athletes. Each athlete finds his/her own ways to cope with stress, push to a next level, and stay motivated.
I find Carli particularly interesting because she was often in conflict with her family, teammates, and coaches. As a difficult person myself, I sympathized with that and enjoyed learning how she dealt with those issues.
Good for fans and non-sports people. Great insight into the development and maturation of a top athlete.