U.S. women’s soccer star Carli Lloyd admitted her ambition of becoming an NFL kicker may have to be slowed for an extra year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The two-time Women’s World Cup winner has made no secret of her NFL dream, and she caught the eyes of NFL people last August when she drilling a series of kicks while visiting a Philadelphia Eagles practice session.
Lloyd, a longtime Eagles fan, is convinced she could become the first woman to play in the NFL. Hall of Fame kicker Morten Andersen last year said he would be prepared to school Lloyd in the intricacies of kicking a pigskin with the precision she shoots a soccer ball.
But an unexpected possible stumbling block surfaced when the Tokyo Olympics had to be pushed back to 2021, meaning Lloyd, 37, will focus on her established sports career for a while longer.
Asked about the NFL plans, Lloyd said: “I’m focusing on soccer at the moment, but I’ve always been a kid who loves a challenge and I’ve never backed down from any challenge. I know with proper training and the right technique and someone showing me how to properly kick, I know that I can do it.
“It may have to get pushed a year or so. I know the times right now are a little up in the air, so we’ll see. I’m not ruling it out.”
The global health crisis has had a major knock-on effect on the sporting world, and Lloyd must stay on her game deeper into her 30s than she might have envisaged, to maintain a shot at playing another Olympics. She already has two gold medals, from the 2008 and 2012 Games.
Speaking in a streamed Yahoo and Women’s Sports Foundation event, she confirmed a determination to be a part of the U.S. team in Japan.
“For me now it’s another year to be able to prepare, to be able to push the boundaries, the barriers, of becoming more fit, stronger, to better my game, and I’m excited about it,” she said.
Despite the allure of the NFL, she may have stayed in football in 2021, anyway.
“It gives me another year, because I didn’t think I was going to be ready to be done after this year, so I get another year to play,” she said.
“Everyone’s talking about the age,” she added. “It’s a year later; it’s not going to make much difference because I’m feeling at the top of my game and feeling really, really good right now.”