Carli Lloyd, 37, is a two-time FIFA women’s world player of the year and a two-time World Cup champion with the U.S. women’s national team. She went to Eagles camp in Philadelphia—near her south Jersey home—to watch a joint practice with the Ravens and Eagles. While there, she was invited to kick with the Ravens special teams, aiming for the narrow goal posts NFL kickers practice with during the week and off-season. With regular holder Sam Koch taking the snap and holding, Lloyd booted a 55-yard field goal cleanly through. I spoke with her the next day.
FMIA: How did this come about?
Lloyd: “I love the Eagles. I’ve been an Eagles fan my whole life. I had an off-day and I figured I’d come out. Randy Brown, the former mayor of a town near me in New Jersey, is a [assistant special-teams] coach with the Ravens, has been bugging me for years to go to a practice. I brought my boots. I could kick all day long. I could kick field goals all day long. I absolutely love it. There’s a lot the same with kicking a soccer ball and kicking a football. I love kicking long balls in soccer, and it carries over the football. The technique is the same, and I think I’m very accurate. So I started at 25, and they kept moving me back. I hit one short, I think. There were a couple with the wind that went wide. I got to 55, and that was it. One take. It was good. I had no idea anyone was videotaping it or putting it on cell-phone video. I tried from 57, but it was wide; distance was good. I would have kept going—my competitive nature. But I felt like I was holding them up out there.”
FMIA: What was the reaction, and did teams reach out?
Lloyd: “When we got in the car, it was unbelievable. The texts, the videos, everything going viral. I had no idea. It was insane. It still is insane. I could not believe the attention on social media. I just had a conversation with Randy, actually. The coaches and his GM, they all saw the video. They were like, What is she doing next week? I’m laughing about it, but the more I think about it, this has the chance to be sort of a pioneering moment for women.”
FMIA: Do you think a woman could be a successful kicker in the NFL? There’d be a lot of pressure.
Lloyd: “I know that I could actually probably do it. Put on the helmet, strap on the pads, go for it. The mindset I have, I think with practice, I know I have to work on my steps and my technique, but I think I could do it and do it well. It could be a huge pivotal moment. There is no reason why a woman could not do this. And I actually invite the pressure. I love the pressure. When I have to nail something—shooting hoops, ax-throwing, kicking a field goal—that is the moment I live for and want. It comes down to the mind, training the mind. It’s worth having some conversations about it. With practice and someone showing me, I know I can do it. I have one of the most accurate shots in our game. Big thing would be getting used to the big boys out there. But nothing scares me. You hold yourself back if you’re afraid. What’s the worst that can happen? I don’t make the team? Let’s just say I did try. Maybe I change the landscape a lot.”
FMIA: What do you an 8-year-old girl somewhere in America would think, watching you try out for an NFL team?
Lloyd: “Oh, that would be massive. Pretty massive. If I was a little girl watching and I saw an NFL kicker that was a female, that would be cool.”