World Cup champion returns to her hometown
After leading the USA women's soccer team to victory in the World Cup tournament earlier this month, athlete Carli Lloyd returned home to South Jersey Wednesday to a hero's welcome.
Hundreds of boys and girls cheered wildly as Lloyd was given a key to the Blue Barn recreation center in Marlton, where she's trained for years. It was then it was announced that a section of the building has been renamed Carli Lloyd Court.
"Being on the USA soccer team has been an incredible journey," said Lloyd, wearing a red jersey given to her by local officials, "I've had lots of ups and downs, I've gone through things that I didn't think I'd be able to pull through, but I've continued to work and have continued to stay the course."
She then told the kids life isn't always a straight road.
"There's lots of peaks and valleys, there's lots of things you're going to go through," she said. "But when I look at my career, all the things I've accomplished, the great things, they're amazing, they're unbelievable, but I look at the difficult times that I've gone through, and those are the times that have actually helped shape me and have actually helped me get back up twice as much."
Her advice to the kids was simple and straightforward.
"Keep believing in your dreams. Keep working hard and if you believe in yourself, anything is attainable," Lloyd said.
After the presentation, Lloyd said she felt honored to have a court in the recreation center named for her, and she reiterated her message of hard work to all Garden State children.
"Life is not about excuses and saying what if. It's about believing and it's about putting your head down and going to work every single day," she said.
Lloyd said she's had some days where she began training at 7 a.m. feeling exhausted before she even began, then trained for four hours.
"Those are the days and moments that turn you into a world champion," she said. "I just want to be a good role model and I want to compete and win and be the best that I can be."
Lloyd said life is about facing obstacles and overcoming them.
"I know that I'm on top of the world right now but I know that quickly there will be another obstacle that I'll be able to face, but I know in my heart I will never doubt that I can get through anything."