Carli Lloyd retirement: Why was she subbed out by Alex Morgan in final USWNT match?

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Carli Lloyd played her 316th and final match for the U.S. women’s national soccer team on Tuesday. Emotions flowed at Allianz Field in Minnesota, although she couldn’t find one final goal in the 6-0 win over South Korea.

She was feted in a pregame ceremony that included her family on the field, and then again in a postgame ceremony that featured a final speech and a mic drop. She departs with the second-most appearances in USWNT history (316) and the fourth most all-time goals in the world (134).

The 39-year-old Lloyd walked off the field for the final time during a 65th-minute substitution, removing her “Lloyd” No. 10 jersey and revealing another that featured her married name “Hollins,” a gesture intended to recognize her husband’s support and mark the next chapter of her life.

MORE: Tom Brady’s tribute to Carli Lloyd

Why was Carli Lloyd subbed out?

Lloyd started the match and wore the captain’s armband for her final match. Many assumed she would play out the full 90 minutes and perhaps get subbed out for one final standing ovation before the end, but the switch came much earlier. She was taken off in the 65th minute for fellow forward Alex Morgan.

“The change was predetermined,” USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski said postgame. “She knew about what time she was going to come out.

“There were two reasons: I wanted her to enjoy the last moment and share it with the fans. And the other thing was that we did want to see Alex (Morgan) on the field, as well. And she showed why we wanted to see her on the field. She could score goals and help us win games.”

MORE: Why USWNT will struggle to find a player like Lloyd

Morgan went on to score one goal and assisted another. But Lloyd was apparently thinking team-first the entire way in her final match.

“It’s her night and she said, ‘This is about you guys. This is your opportunity to make something of this, so you can be on this team in the future.’ That sums it up right there,” said U.S. midfielder Andi Sullivan about the words Lloyd shared with the team. “I think we rose to the challenge tonight and it was fun to do that for her.”

Who is Carli Lloyd’s husband?

Lloyd is married to her high school sweetheart Brian Hollins. They formally tied the knot in November 2016 after the Olympics that year. Hollins was in attendance at Allianz Field: He was on the field in the pregame, was interviewed during the game and was part of the in-stadium video tribute.

(Getty Images)

Hollins also saw Lloyd reveal the jersey with her married name on the back. She explained why she decided to mark her final moments on the field with the gesture:

“A lot of thought went into that,” she said. “I just wanted to do something that was really kind of powerful. My husband had no idea. He said I brought tears to his eyes.

“It means the world to me because for so long — we’ve been dating for 21 years — he’s just been riding this journey with me, supporting me every step of the way and he hasn’t complained once. I couldn’t have done this journey without him. So to leave the field one last time with the Lloyd jersey on my back and then to go off as Hollins, I think that’s sort of a tribute to the next chapter. The next chapter is going to be about Brian and me and I think that’s really special.”

According to Golf, the 37-year-old Hollins is the assistant golf pro at Trenton Country Club in New Jersey. He was a qualifier for the 2015 U.S. Open, but never qualified for the PGA Tour. He was one year behind Lloyd at Delran High School in New Jersey, where Lloyd was born and raised. The two reside in New Jersey.

“I’ve seen her play since high school,” Hollins told Fox Sports in an interview during the match. “It’s a lot of games, and it’s definitely been an emotional couple months knowing (retirement) is coming. But it’s been pretty surreal. It was tough.

“It’s hard to know something is coming to an end,” he continued. “I’m pretty proud of her. It’s been an amazing journey seeing her play throughout the whole career she’s had. It’s been amazing what she’s accomplished and who she is as a person. It’s been unbelievable.”

What’s next for Carli Lloyd?

The first order of business for Lloyd is the final two regular season matches in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) with NJ/NY Gotham FC on Oct. 28 and Oct. 31. Playoff matches are likely to follow if the team can clinch a berth. She will officially hang up her boots and call it a career at the end of her team’s NWSL playoff run.

MORE: Where Lloyd ranks in the Top 10 USWNT players of all-time

After her 17-year playing career has wrapped, she has already said that she plans to make family a priority, including starting one of her own. From traveling to skiing, golfing and riding her four-wheeler, Lloyd has dropped mentions of what her post-playing days could look like from a personal and family perspective.

Since announcing she would retire at the end of the current NWSL season, Lloyd has been asked by multiple media members in multiple different ways whether she will be pouring her energy and passion toward any specific area outside of family. If she has something in mind, she has yet to reveal it. But she does have designs on being involved in the game in some capacity.

“You will not see me on the field,” said before her mic drop (video below), “but you best believe that I will be around helping this game grow.”



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