With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics postponed at least one year amid coronavirus concerns, challenges have arisen for the athletes nearing the end of their athletic careers.
For Carli Lloyd, she anticipated this summer would make her the oldest United States soccer player in history as she played in her third Olympic Games.
She still could, even though she was considering retiring after the tournament. And as long as she makes the team next year, that’s the captain’s plan.
“I was going to take it to this summer’s Olympics and then see where I was mentally and physically,” Lloyd said, via the Los Angeles Times. “I wasn’t sure when I would officially retire. So now I have the opportunity to stick around for another year and it would be a dream come true to win gold with my teammates.
“That would be satisfying enough for me to officially retire.”
Lloyd turns 38 in July and was already unsatisfied with her decreased role in the USWNT’s fourth Women’s World Cup run.
New coach Vlato Andonovski started the forward in an Olympic qualifying match in January, and in two of three SheBelieves cup games. But it’s important to note that that was in the absence of Alex Morgan, who missed that stretch due to her pregnancy.
When Morgan laces her boots back up in time for 2021, the USWNT won’t have an easy time building its roster. Despite what it means for her career, Lloyd knows that it was the right call to put off the Olympics another year.
“I believe it was the right decision to make,” Lloyd said. “This unprecedented pandemic is bigger than sports. People’s lives have been lost, the virus continues to spread and our healthcare systems are overloaded.”
Hopefully, we’ll see the two-time women’s world player of the year and two-time World Cup champion back out there in 2021.
It wouldn’t feel right without her.
Thumbnail photo via Harrison Barden/USA TODAY Sports Images