October 20, 2009
Jersey girl Lloyd joins Sky Blue
A year after she said he wanted to get away and play elsewhere, Carli Lloyd is returning home.
Sky Blue FC announced Monday that the Delran, N.J. native signed with the Women's Professional Soccer club for next season.
Lloyd is best known for scoring the winning goal for the U.S. in extratime in a 1-0 victory over Brazil in last year's women's gold-medal Olympic match in Beijing.
"There's nothing better than coming back home," Lloyd said in a conference call.
"It's important for me to be home for many reasons, especially having a house here and having a family.
"This is my hometown. There are other Jersey girls on the team. The added bonus is that I'm coming to a team that has already accomplished so much. Sky Blue FC winning the championship. I just want to win another championship."
The expansion Philadelphia Independence showed some interest in Lloyd.
"You go through the process, you weight out the pros and cons and you figure out the best fit," she said. "Being with Sky Blue FC was the best fit for me. I just want to grow with the team and get better as well."
The 27-year-old Lloyd became a free agent after playing for the Chicago Red Stars. She underachieved, scoring only twice and assisted on one goal.
"You never want to dwell too much on the past," she said. "It was very important for me to be home in their environment."
Lloyd said she did not have any problems with Red Stars coach Emma Hayes or tried to avoid signing with Sky Blue last year because of then coach-general manager Ian Sawyers, who eventually left the team.
"Neither," she said.
Lloyd said she missed her personal trainer, James Galanis.
"He's my go-to person," she said. "He keeps me fit. He keeps me mentally prepared and keeps me sharp as well. I was out of sort a bit, out of form. I've come back after the season and have worked as hard as ever to get myself on track."
Added Lloyd: "I'm back to form now."
Lloyd said that she could not train with Galanis for six-seven months.
"He's been there for me through it all," she said. "If it weren't for him, I don't think that I'd be here where I am. I've accomplished so much in the Olympics and all that. He's been definitely a go-to -- someone that I've got to keep in my back pocket as close as possible."
Sky Blue coach Pauliina Miettinen, a former Finnish international, expects big things out of Lloyd.
"She is a hard-worker," she said. "She will have that little extra something. She also will be one of the role models after having achieved so much. . . . She kind of reminds me of myself when I was younger."
Miettinen said that Lloyd "will be in a system where we will try to possess the ball and move the ball a lot. That will suit her. She gets to be involved with the ball all the time."
Lloyd said she heard that Miettinen is similar to U.S. national coach Pia Sundhage. "Coach Pauliina is going to take my game to another level," she said.
Lloyd will leave with the U.S. Women's National Team for its international friendly with Germany in Augsburg, Germany, Germany Oct. 29.
"It's great to have it done before Germany," she said. "Now I can focus on that."