U.S. women’s soccer legend Carli Lloyd lashed out at former teammates in a series of interviews this week, saying she “hated” the “culture” of the perennial powerhouse program.
Lloyd, a two-time gold medalist and member of two World Cup winning teams, told former teammate Hope Solo that she struggled to enjoy playing in recent years.
“It was really tough and challenging to be playing these last seven years. To be quite honest, I hated it,” Lloyd said in the “Hope Solo Speaks” podcast that aired on Wednesday.
“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.”
Lloyd made similar comments earlier in the week on “Alexi Lalas’ State of the Union Podcast,” saying there was a noticeable change in the program after winning the 2015 World Cup.
“What we had in the last several years was not a good culture, and the mentality changed, and it became toxic,” she told Lalas. “It wasn’t good.”
When asked what changed after 2015, Lloyd offered vague accusations of selfishness. She didn’t call anyone out by name.
“I just saw a shift in peoples’ mindsets,” she said. “It became more about what can I do to build my brand off the field? What can I do to get an endorsement deal and less about what we have to do when we step in between those lines.”
But the women’s team’s results on the field seem to belie Lloyd’s post-2015 critique.
Team USA failed to medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics, falling to Sweden in a dramatic quarterfinal shootout.
Lalas defended Lloyd’s right to speak her mind, but bemoaned bitter in-fighting within U.S. soccer.
“I know @CarliLloyd is a grown woman and she can take the heat from saying some provocative things about the @USWNT. But American soccer…we eat our own,” Lalas tweeted on Thursday.
Lloyd is best known for scoring three goals in the opening 16 minutes of the American victory over Japan in the 2015 World Cup final.
Debates about who is the greatest player in U.S. women’s soccer history usually revolve around Lloyd, Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach.