Carli Lloyd takes the time to give readers an inside look from USWNT camp (Photo by Roberto Fernandez, ISI Photos).
Anyone who follows the U.S. Women's National Team knows all about the recent emotional roller coaster ride that saw the world's top ranked team fall in a shocking 2-1 defeat to Mexico and enter into a three-match playoff for entrance into the 2011 FIFA World Cup. Following a 3-0 win over Costa Rica, the USWNT next played this past Saturday in the first pairing of a two-game home-and-home series with Italy. After 93 minutes of scoreless soccer, 21-year-old substitute striker Alex Morgan buried a game-winning goal in the 94th minute to give her nation a leg up in the playoff. While most fans have been keeping up with the action from afar, someone in the middle of the battle is USWNT veteran midfielder Carli Lloyd. Come take a first-hand look at the recent ride through the eyes of Carli, who was kind enough to pen this exclusive guest post with Resolution Sports.
I was so excited to be back playing after I had been out with my injury for 5 months. My preparation included a 3 week camp in Atlanta and Philadelphia and 1 game in each venue. I hadn't played more than 15 minutes in a game since April 25. That was a long time! I was nervous.
I wasn't expecting much when I went into camp, and the word patience became my word each day. Every day I improved. I played 60 minutes against China and then played my first 90 minute game the second game. This was my preparation for World Cup qualifying. There was NEVER any doubt we would not qualify for the World Cup.
And now off to Cancun for 3 weeks. I was planning on having Thanksgiving at home and was looking forward to our break. Our loss to Mexico threw our worlds upside down. We shocked the world with our loss to Mexico. I couldn't believe it. I was in shock, but suddenly I realized that this was a positive thing. We can't take anything for granted anymore. It is not a for sure that we will advance in every tournament we play in. This put things into perspective for everyone.
Not only did our world change, but our coaching staff, our support staff, and U.S. Soccer all had to prepare for 2 more weeks together. The beauty of this is that we got a second chance, and it’s all up to us to get it done.
I've enjoyed the road thus far. I think we have all embraced this opportunity and are here to take care of business. We have become closer. We have laughed about all the plans we all had over our break that had to be canceled. This is making us stronger. This will make winning and being together that much better. We played well in Italy. We came out strong with lots of energy and finally got one in the back of the net in the final seconds of the game. We have one more game to get it done, and I fully believe this team will get it done.
There is too much history with this team to quit. We fight until the whistle blows. There is always a never say die attitude. We always find a way to win. We have just picked a longer and more interesting road to qualify for the World Cup. I have joked to some people that we need to embrace all this now because there will be a Dare to Dream 2!