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Rutgers Community Rallies for Hometown Hero Carli Lloyd

The United States Women’s National Team has enjoyed a dominant run through the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and former Scarlet Knight Carli Lloyd has been a huge part in the team’s success.

The 32-year-old midfielder has started every game for the United States during this year’s tournament, and her dramatic scores have caused many fans to consider her the breakout star of the World Cup. In the Round of 16, Lloyd’s converted penalty kick in the 66th minute sealed a USA victory over Colombia. Lloyd’s second goal would break a scoreless tie against top-ranked Germany, as she converted another penalty kick. The United States would go on to win 2-0, earning a trip to the championship game against Japan for the second straight tournament.

Former Scarlet Knight midfielder is one win away from a World Cup title (Getty Images).

Former Scarlet Knight midfielder Carli Lloyd is one win away from a World Cup title (Getty Images).

Before joining the USWNT, Lloyd was a star at Rutgers. She played four seasons (2001-2004) on the banks. In addition to being named the 2011 Big East Rookie of the Year and the 2004 Big East Midfielder of the Year, Lloyd was named First-Team All-Big East in each of her four seasons. The Delran Township native is second all-time in game-winning goals for Rutgers (15), and Rutgers’ all-time leader in goals (50), points (117) and shots (295).

While Lloyd may be a “breakout star” in the eyes of the nation, the Rutgers community is not surprised by her success for the national team. Glenn Crooks, Lloyd’s head coach during her Rutgers career, described what made Lloyd great on the banks.

“She was explosive, she was courageous,” said Crooks according to “Very good in the air and two-footed. And just a great athlete. But she had a great sense for the game as well. For her age, there was a lot of sophistication to her game.”

Lloyd’s Rutgers legacy, as well as her involvement with the Rutgers community, has earned her the respect and admiration from the Scarlet Knight community. During the offseason, Lloyd resides in Mount Laurel, NJ, less than hour from Rutgers, and she still makes occasional visits to campus.

One such visit took place in November of 2013, when Lloyd and fellow Rutgers soccer All-American Alexi Lalas took part in an autograph session with fans prior to a Rutgers basketball game. In a video on the Scarlet Knights’ YouTube page, Lloyd spoke about how it felt to be back on campus.

“It’s great to be back,” Lloyd said. “I see some familiar faces. Some of the employees who work here that have been here since, you know, I played.”

The Rutgers community has shown support for the hometown hero on social media by using the hashtag “gocaRli”, rooting for her and the USWNT’s success while also taking pride in the fact Lloyd is one of their own.

“All of @RFootball & #CHOPNation are proud of @CarliLloyd!!” tweeted Rutgers football head coach Kyle Flood, posing with a #gocaRli banner. “Good luck @ussoccer_wnt – bring home the cup!! #1-0 CHOP!”

Rutgers football coach Kyle Flood wishing Carli Lloyd luck in Sunday's World Cup final (Photo: Kyle Flood/Twitter).

Rutgers football coach Kyle Flood wishing Carli Lloyd luck in Sunday’s World Cup final (Photo: Kyle Flood/Twitter).

The eyes of the nation, especially #CHOPNation, will be upon Lloyd and the rest of the USWNT as they look for revenge on Japan in the championship game, who defeated the United States in 2011’s championship. Kickoff is set for Sunday at 7:00pm EST from BC Place Stadium in Vancouver.

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