EXCLUSIVE: Carli Lloyd Has Received An Offer From An NFL Team To Kick In A Preseason Game
Carli Lloyd has been offered the chance to make history by becoming the first woman to play in a National Football League preseason game, her trainer James Galanis told FOX Sports on Monday.
Lloyd was approached by multiple NFL teams after a video of her kicking a 55-yard field goal on a visit to a Philadelphia Eagles training session last week went viral. One of those teams, Galanis said, presented soccer legend Lloyd with the opportunity to be part of the roster and see actual game time.
However, while Lloyd was genuinely interested, the matchup on Thursday conflicted with a United States women’s national team game against Portugal. Galanis declined to name the football team in question. Each of the 32 NFL teams have their final preseason exhibition games on Thursday.
“Today, she got another call from another NFL team,” Galanis told me in a telephone conversation on Monday. “The one that called today, I don’t want to say who it is, was willing to put her on the roster for their next (game). They were willing to put her on the roster.”
Galanis continued: “She was told (she could) play on Thursday, the NFL game, but she is playing Thursday with the national team, so that was the conflict.”
It is likely that Lloyd, who was unavailable for comment at press time, would have turned down the chance in any case, due to the limited amount of preparation time. However, the prospect of becoming a true pioneer for sporting gender equality has serious appeal.
“Knowing Carli, I don’t think she would just hop on and do it,” Galanis added. “She would need a couple of weeks training just to get comfortable and acclimatized. But things have escalated and it is real.
“I think Carli is perfectly made out for a job like that. She loves the pressure. She’s got one of the hardest kicks in the world when it comes to women. She is great at long range balls, she displayed that by scoring a goal from just past the halfway line in a World Cup final, and she is definitely in tune with the mechanics. She would be an ideal candidate.
“We are thinking about what it would do to the sport itself, every sport at every level. She would be the first female that’s really playing with males, and what would it do to the whole equality (issue).
“We are definitely thinking about it. Knowing Carli, this is why it is enticing for her, because it is a challenge. That’s what Carli thrives on, it is the next thing she can conquer. That’s why we have had half a dozen conversations about it in less than a week.”
(Want more stories like this in your inbox every weekday? Sign up for the FOX Sports Insider newsletter with Martin Rogers here!)
Galanis, the soccer guru who has served as a mentor to Lloyd in addition to his duties as the Director of the Universal Soccer Academy, said that the NFL team who offered a preseason roster spot urged her to contact them immediately if she decided to get serious about giving football a try.
Lloyd is arguably the most technically proficient striker of a soccer ball that the women’s game has ever seen and is also a lifelong football fan. In 2015, her extraordinary hat-trick inside the first 15 minutes of the final led the U.S. to World Cup glory. She also won gold at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, scoring the decisive goal in both finals.
At 37, it is uncertain whether she will continue in soccer until the Tokyo Olympics next summer. During the U.S. team’s triumph in this year’s World Cup, she was restricted to a role off the bench.
Last week, she had little idea that the invite to the Eagles camp would have such a potentially life-changing impact. She took Galanis’ 13-year-old son Preston with her to meet the players and treated the whole experience like a fun day out.
However, her launched field goal – albeit with a couple of extra steps than would be feasible in a regular NFL game — quickly picked up speed on social media and sparked a conversation as to when, or if, a woman could play in the NFL.
Galanis, who has worked with her throughout a career that has seen her named the best women’s player in the world twice, believes she would be a perfect fit.
“Mentally it has to be someone who thrives and excels under pressure and can handle the pressure of the crowd and the situation itself,” Galanis said. “Where they are maybe scoring with a potential game-winning kick, and the pressure of knowing you’ve got all these players coming at you to smother the ball.
“Kicking field goals comes down to the right mechanics. If you are an athlete in tune with your body whether you are male or female, if you have those right, there is no reason why you can’t score a field goal.”