NJ’s Lloyd becomes USA’s newest sports star
Jersey girl Carli Lloyd continues to build her legacy as one of the most clutch, cold-blooded performers in U.S. women's soccer history.
The South Jersey native has been Garden State through-and-through on her way to soccer stardom.
Lloyd's soccer journey began in the Burlington County town of Delran, where she attended Delran High School from 1997 to 2000.
After twice being named High School Player of the Year, the legend of Lloyd grew even more during a remarkable run at Rutgers University.
Carli finished her Scarlet Knights career as the all-time leader in points (117), goals (50), and shots.
But, that merely set the stage for Lloyd's national team heroics.
The 32-year-old developed the clutch reputation over the last decade, scoring winning goals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic finals. She has added a sparkling new chapter in the 2015 World Cup.
Lloyd put the U.S. squad on her back Tuesday night, scoring on a penalty kick and setting up an insurance goal, as they defeated Germany 2-0 in the semifinals.
"It's a dream come true. This is what we're training for, the blood, sweat and tears are for. This is a great game,'' Lloyd said in a post-game television interview. "But my eyes are on the final.''
The penalty kick came at a pivotal time in the 69th minute, with the match knotted at 0-0, just 10 minutes after Germany had missed their own PK.
"Just slotted it home. I knew what I had to do," Lloyd said.
The midfielder has now scored goals in three straight knockout matches for the U.S. team, who is looking for its third World Cup title and first since 1999. They meet the winner of tonight's Japan-England match in Sunday's final.
"We didn't come here just to make the final. We came here to win it,'" Lloyd said. "So we've got to go after it next game."
After the thrilling the victory, Lloyd reflected on her time growing up in New Jersey as a 16-year-old and watching the last women's title team play in the 1999 World Cup at Giants Stadium.
"I was a young girl at the time watching, thinking to myself it would be a dream come true to be a part of this," she said. "It's truly an honor. Winning a World Cup would absolutely be a dream come true."
The girl from Delran has truly arrived and cemented her status as a national sports star and clutch performer. On Sunday, Lloyd has a chance to add world champion to her growing list of accolades.
"I've just been training my butt off the last 12 years," she said. "These are the moments I live for. This is kind of when I roll up my sleeves up and say to myself, 'I need to step up.'"
Don't bet against Clutch Carli leaving her mark on the final.