Hard work, not just luck, led to Carli Lloyd’s midfield goal

Grant Wahl, the fine soccer writer for Sports Illustrated, calls it “the greatest goal in U.S. soccer history.”

He’s talking about Carli Lloyd’s third goal in the World Cup final, the one she lofted from midfield over the head of Japan’s goalkeeper, Ayumi Kaihori, who had come off her line.

James Galanis and his star student. (Instagram)

James Galanis and his star student. (Instagram)

That goal, roughly the equivalent of a half-court basket in Game Seven of the NBA Finals, was no fluke, Wahl writes.

It was something Lloyd had worked on over and over with her longtime trainer, James Galanis.

During their two-a-day workouts, Wahl writes, Galanis “would ask Lloyd to move back to the center circle and take aim at the goal, bouncing 50-yard shots … into the net.”

Lloyd tells Wahl she didn’t see much point in the exercise. “‘I’m thinking, ‘Who is going to shoot from midfield?’

“Never did I think I would score a goal from midfield in a World Cup final,” she said. “But instincts kicked in. From practicing it, it happened.”

Lloyd often and loudly sings the praises Galanis, whom she credits with molding her into the player she is today. They started working together more than 10 years ago, when Lloyd, out of shape and disappointed at having been cut from the U.S. U-21 team, was thinking about quitting soccer.

USA Today

USA Today

Galanis, she says, reignited her passion for the game and salvaged her career by convincing her that if she worked at it, she could become one of the world’s elite players.

But he meant really work at it, like she’d never worked at anything in her life.

According to Wahl, Galanis told Lloyd:

“Forget about friends, forget about family, forget about boyfriends. If this isn’t No. 1, let’s just walk off the field right now. What I’m saying to you, Carli, is that at 10 o’clock on a Saturday night, if I call you and say, ‘I’ll meet you at the field in half an hour,’ and you’re at a party with your friends, don’t tell me, ‘Sorry, Coach, I’m at a party.’ You’ll turn to your friends and say, ‘Sorry guys, I have to leave. I’m going to training.’ ”

Back in May, Lloyd addressed the current U-20 team. (See the video below.) She told the young players that Galanis taught her a lesson she’s never forgotten:

“Your talent’s not enough … Just because you’re talented doesn’t mean you’re gonna get to the top, and it doesn’t mean you’re gonna stay at the top.”

She adds:

“You just have to grind. You gotta roll the sleeves up, and you gotta get to work.”

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