Two-time Olympic gold medalist Carli Lloyd shared a scathing review of the US Women’s National Soccer Team on Wednesday on former teammate Hope Solo’s new podcast “Hope Solo Speaks.”
“It was really tough and challenging to be playing these last seven years. To be quite honest, I hated it,” said Lloyd. “It wasn’t fun going in. It was only for love of the game, really, for me. I wanted to win and I wanted to help the team, but the culture within the team was the worst I’ve ever seen it . “
Solo, who was the national team’s goalkeeper from 2000-16, shared the same sentiment and mentioned the culture of bringing politics into the game.
“When I got fired in 2016, every time I left for camp my husband Jerramy (Stevens) hated to see me sad,” said Solo. “I didn’t want to go to the social aspect of camp. I wanted to train my ass off. I wanted to work my butt off. I wanted to play games. But I didn’t want to be around everybody and the culture of the team. It was really difficult. I don’t think people understand how difficult emotionally and mentally that is. “
“It’s tough,” Solo continued. “I just wanted to be a professional athlete. I wanted to be cutthroat and I wanted to win. But you still have to play the political and social games sometimes. That’s hard for an introvert like myself. It was really difficult.”
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Before the entire podcast episode was released, a clip of the two stars discussing the culture of the team, made its rounds on social media, gaining both positive and negative attention.
Lloyd released a video of her own on social media Wednesday to further explain what she meant about the “culture” of the team before the full episode being released.
“In any successful business or in any successful team, there needs to be a good culture in place,” Lloyd said on Instagram. “You can have the most talented people working for you and you can have the most talented player playing on the team, but if there is no collective one or there is no collective goal, no team or business can be successful with a poor culture.
“And in every successful team, nothing becomes bigger than winning. And when things and other things bigger than performing and the will to win – that is when the culture is no longer good enough.
“And by culture, I am referring to mentality, and respects towards coaches, teammates, support staff. I am also talking about the drive, the desire, the hunger, the fight, the accepting a roll and doing it to the best of your ability. Giving it your all and every time you step on the field, giving it your all whether its five minutes on the field or 10 minutes on the field, 60 minutes on the field or 90 minutes on the field. It doesn’t matter . You represent the crest and you represent the country with pride and there are millions of other people who would love to be in our shoes playing on the national team and so you can never take it for granted. “
Lloyd goes on to share that in reality, the team is not “a Cinderella story.”
“For all of you out there who think that everyday with the national team is a Cinderella story and its 23 best friends, that is not reality,” Lloyd continued. “The reality is that we are all a team, we’re all not best friends but we all have one collective goal and that is to win championships.”
Lloyd, who finished her career with the NWSL’s Gotham FC in New Jersey and retired from the game in 2021, said that she was trying to explain in her interview with Solo that the drive to fight for one another was no longer there over the last few years.
“For all of you that want to slap narratives on my words and my experience – one in which I lived for 17 years – you can’t do that because you have no clue.
“Sometimes when teams have success, there is a lot of things that get hidden and there is a lot of things that don’t emerge. And when you fail and you don’t win something, when you receive a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics with the goal was always to walk away with a gold medal, it starts to really reveal what needs to change.
“To all of you who want to call me names – wild, wild names, some of which I’d never use in my lifetime … I feel sorry for you. … There is a cultural shift trying to be made, hence the changes. “
Among these allegations of problems with the team’s culture, the national team has been wrapped up in a six-year equal pay dispute that recently ended, settling on a deal in which they are promised $ 24 million plus bonuses that match those of the men.
Although the settlement was considered historic and was applauded by star player Megan Rapinoe, Solo felt differently. This topic was discussed on Wednesday’s podcast episode and previously on social media in a lengthy Instagram post made by Solo last month.
“This settlement is not a ‘huge win.’ It’s heartbreaking and infuriating, “Solo wrote. “A ‘promise’ of equal pay from the Federation and backpay for a select group of players isn’t equal pay and it’s not what this fight was about. … Read the fine print. ‘Contingent upon the negotiation of a new collective bargaining agreement. ‘ It doesn’t exist yet and is not guaranteed. If the players had ever been successful in negotiating an equal CBA, there would’ve been no reason to sue the Federation in the first place. “
Solo continued: “Throughout the entire process, Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan were the two most agreeable with the Federation and to this day, continue to accept terms that are nowhere near what we set out to do. They both know this is not a win . They know it’s an easy out of a fight they were never really in. “
Contact Analis Bailey at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @analisbailey.