Carli Lloyd has received plenty of honors during her decades long career. On Monday night, the two-time World Cup champion and Delran, New Jersey native added to that list as she was recognized by a group who had seen her grow from the very beginning. Lloyd was honored at the 117th Philadelphia Sports Writers Association Banquet in Cherry Hill, New Jersey along with other esteemed guests from across the city’s sports spectrum.
“It’s a huge honor. Anytime I come back home and receive an honor where my roots started and the foundation was laid, it’s always just an amazing experience,” Lloyd told Brotherly Game ahead of the ceremony. “I’m so very grateful to be here among so many other legends of different sports. It’s a great area and great to be recognized back home.”
Lloyd headlined a star-studded group of two dozen honorees at the event. Following the banquet’s cancellation in 2021 and a postponement from earlier this year, the PSWA elected to make the 2022 dinner a celebration of local legends. Other names included the Philadelphia Union’s first All-Star representative Sebastien Le Toux, Philadelphia Flyers defenseman and hockey hall of famer Mark Howe, and former Saint Joseph’s University men’s basketball head coach and current Michigan assistant coach Phil Martelli.
Other players and staff were honored with physical awards during the night. Villanova University men’s basketball guard Collin Gillespie was named the 2021 Outstanding Amateur Athlete. Another change to norm saw the 2021 Team of the Year Award go to the “COVID-19 Response Team,” with the honor accepted by Dr. Anna Doubeni of the University of Pennsylvania.
Lloyd herself has won honors twice previously from PSWA. Fresh off winning Gold at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, she was named that year’s Native Daughter by the association. She followed that up in 2015 by winning the “Most Outstanding Athlete Award” after captaining the United States women’s national soccer team to a World Cup title. For reference, the 2021 award went to Philadelphia Phillies outfielder and 2021 National League MVP Bryce Harper.
Jersey and Philadelphia played a huge role in Lloyd’s career. Growing up, attending and playing soccer for Delran High School she was Girls’ High School Player of the Year twice by the Philadelphia Inquirer. Other honors, like being named to the Star-Ledger All-State First Team twice and named the Courier-Post Player of the Year (2000). Many of the people writing those articles or voting on those awards were in attendance during the banquet.
Many of those early recognitions have been cataloged by Lloyd’s parents, Stephen and Pamela, who joined her on Monday night. The countless number of scrapbooks her dad has kept are something the former national team captain has a new found appreciation for at this stage of her life.
“I thought he was kind of crazy back then, but it’s nice to have those things now and to be able to look back,” she said. “When my husband and I start a family, being able to kind of share that with our kids (is special).”
During her speech at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Cherry Hill, flanked by members of the PSWA and Flyers’ legend Bill Barber, Lloyd was eager to gush about her upbringing in South Jersey.
“We breed really tough people here,” Lloyd joked to the crowd of 400 plus attendees. “Fans are really brutal. But they’re real, they’re honest.”
That sentiment carried a lot of weight on a stage filled with members of the Broad Street Bullies and former Philadelphia Eagles coach Dick Vermeil.
Wrapping up her time, Lloyd made mention of her new position as a minority owner of National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) side NJ/NY Gotham FC. The deal, which was finalized last week, is something Lloyd has been working on with her former team for quite some time. In her mind, Lloyd still wants to help grow women’s soccer not just nationally but in her own backyard. She doubled down on this in both her final remarks and while speaking to BG.
“I still feel like I have more to give to the game, that’s why I’m taking up this role,” she explained. “I think it’s gonna be a role where I find myself maybe going down different avenues. Figuring out what I like, what I want to pursue, what I’m passionate about, and ultimately help the team (and) the league and just help women’s soccer grow.”