US football icon Carli Lloyd played her last ever game at Subaru Park yesterday in her extended home town of suburban Philadelphia.
Lloyd will retire at the end of this years’ National Women’s Football League season, bringing to an end an illustrious career that has seen her earn more than 300 caps for the US Women’s National Team.
The 39-year-old has played in Chester, Pennsylvania, several times before with the national side but never at club level until last night.
And so her domestic team Gotham FC sacrificed one of its final home games in Harrison, New Jersey, to be able to honour Lloyd in Chester.
To the delight of more than 10,000 in attendance, Lloyd created a number of scoring chances, though Gotham were held to a 0-0 draw by the Washinton Spirit.
Speaking afterwards, Lloyd addressed the crowd and said: “I just want to thank every single one of you for all your support. This was the best last game I'll ever play at Subaru Park. So, thank you.
“The crowd tonight ... this is what we need at every NWSL game,” Lloyd said. “We need your support. We need you to keep coming out, supporting these amazing women here.
“I want to thank the Philadelphia Union, the NWSL and Gotham FC for making this happen. I know it was an inconvenience to some moving from RedBull (Stadium) down here but it truly meant the world to me. I cannot express how thankful and grateful I am for that.”
Lloyd also took to Twitter to thank fans for their support. She wrote: “Thank you all for the most special evening of my career. A memory I will never forget. I will miss all of this. I will miss all of you!
The forward is second on the all-time appearance list for the USA with 314 caps, but is scheduled to play two more matches against South Korea at the end of October. She will finish the NWSL season with Gotham on October 31st after the four remaining games.
“Everything's come full circle,” Lloyd said. “All my national team teammates, those that are here, a few of them here tonight. Former teammates, all of the coaches I played for, everyone's had a role in my journey. I'm so thankful for that. I'm going to miss playing. I'm going to miss this, playing in front of all of the fans.”
Yesterday’s match at Subaru Park also saw players make a powerful protest following the sexual misconduct allegations against former North Carolina Courage head coach Paul Riley.
All three NWSL matches yesterday were paused in the sixth minute, with players from both sides linking arms to form a circle in the middle of the pitch.
Last week, The Athletic detailed allegations of sexual misconduct by Riley, having spoken to more than a dozen players he had coached since 2010.News Now - Sport News