Man City Women have signed two-time FIFA World Player of the Year Carli Lloyd.
The 34-year-old has played in her homeland throughout her club career to date, but the World Cup winner and double Olympic gold medallist joins Nick Cushing’s Super League champions in the hunt for a new challenge.
Lloyd will be with the team until the end of the Spring Series and feature in the FA Women’s Cup and UEFA Women’s Champions League campaign. She will begin training with the squad in early March.
Lloyd told CityTV: “I’m thrilled to be here and I’m looking forward to starting up and meeting teammates.
“This is a unique opportunity and I couldn’t be prouder to be part of the club here in Manchester. I’m looking forward to kicking off.
“I’m always looking for different challenges. I always want to continue to get better and look for ways where I am going to be able to push my game. Coming here and being part of City is going to do that.
“It’s definitely an unbelievable opportunity to be able to compete in the Spring Series, the FA Cup and most importantly, the Champions League.
“I wouldn’t have that opportunity if I didn’t come over here. I’m really looking forward to it – I want to continue to get better and I’m going to be playing with some real world class players.
“Seeing the facilities and the organisation and dealing with Nick Cushing, [I’ve found] there’s just a great philosophy in place. When you add in Champions League and all of these other unbelievable events, it’s hard not to want to come.
“It’s an incredible, professional environment. Just being here for a short stint has been unbelievable. They’ve set the bar high.
“It’s going to be awesome and I’m thrilled to take on the challenge of winning and doing really well.”
Cushing, Head Coach of the 2016 League and Cup Double Champions, said: “We are a successful team but a young team too, having only entered the Women’s Super League three years ago, so adding players to our squad with substantial experience is crucial to our development.
“Carli has had an incredible career and is recognised as one of the best in the world. There is much we can learn from her that will help us to improve as a team. We are all looking forward to working with her over the coming months.”
Since making her senior international debut in 2005, Lloyd has clocked up 232 appearances for the USA, scoring 96 goals.
She signs for City from Houston Dash, and has featured for Western New York Flash, Atlanta Beat, Sky Blue FC and Chicago Red Stars amongst others. In 2015, she was named the US Soccer Athlete of the Year.
The 34-year-old has represented the United States at three World Cups, netting a hat-trick in the 2015 final – the first player ever to do so – in a 5-2 triumph over Japan. The pick of the bunch was a stunning long-range chip just short of the halfway line.
Voted the tournament’s outstanding player, she received the Golden Ball.
In 2008 and 2012, Lloyd also helped her country to Olympic gold medals, scoring in both finals.
Ever hungry for improvement, she is excited to now test herself in England’s top flight.
“The biggest thing for me as a player is: how can I continue to get better?” she continued.
“I don’t think I have all the answers or think that I don’t need to improve on anything.
“I’m looking to be in a different environment with different players and a new coach. I want to go out there and work as hard as I can every single day.
“[I want to be] someone who can really help some of the younger players – that’s kind of my role and hopefully, I can instil some of the things I’ve learned into them.”
With so many to choose from, Lloyd admitted it is tough to pick her greatest career highlight. She settled on the World Cup victory, but explained it had taken a lot of hard work for her to reach those heights.
“It’s tough to say – World Cups, Olympics… they’ve all been amazing,” she smiled. “I probably would say winning the 2015 World Cup was a career highlight of mine, just because it hadn’t been won in a really long time.
“With that comes all the struggles and obstacles. Without those things throughout my career, I probably wouldn’t have been able to reach these points of success.
“You have to learn from your failures and your obstacles and I’ve had plenty of those to learn from over the years. Success is great and it’s honestly been a great journey.
“I’ve still got three or four years left in me before I hang up the cleats (boots) and I want to cross some more items off the bucket list.“Playing for Manchester City – the FA Cup, Spring Series, the Champions League – serves up some more challenges and some that I’m looking forward to.”