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How rejection paved Carli Lloyd’s road to stardom

Rejected for a South Jersey select team at 11, Carli Lloyd went on to forge a different path toward stardom

Photo by Morgan Tencza

Michael Jordan didn’t make the varsity basketball team his sophomore year of high school. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter was rejected by 12 publishers. There have been many prominent figures who have been rejected but used this obstacle as motivation. Another example is soccer icon, Carli Lloyd.

The Delran, N.J. native posted a photo of a letter on Twitter last month that she received back in 1993 from the South Jersey Girls Soccer League’s selected team, informing her she did not make the team.

Although Lloyd did not make the squad, she would not let failure define who she was as a soccer player. She decided to try out for the Medford Strikers, the squad that kickstarted an illustrious career.

As a member of the Strikers, Lloyd was able to win the 1997 and 1998 State Cups. She was also able to build a successful pedigree at Delran High School, Rutgers University, the W-League, the WPS, the FA WSL, the NWSL, and representing her country through various international competitions.

The now 37-year-old, who is currently a member of Sky Blue FC, has accumulated several individual honors. Individually, she has been acknowledged twice by FIFA as the best women’s player in the world (2015 and 2016), the CONCACAF Women’s Player of the Year in 2015, and was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2017.

On the other end of the spectrum, most of Lloyd’s team success has come while donning the red, white, and blue, where she has won two Olympic gold medals (2008 and 2012) and two World Cups (2015 and 2019). She has also had the privilege to play for the U.S in 294 appearances, where the forward has tallied 123 goals, third in U.S. soccer history behind Abby Wambach and Mia Hamm.

Even though Lloyd was rejected by the SJ select team at just 11 years old, she didn’t let the experience define her as a soccer player. Instead, this event ignited a fire under her to make her want to be among the greatest to ever play the sport.