December 11, 2019 / 9:17 PM / 4 months ago

U.S. soccer World Cup champion Lloyd keeps her eye on NFL dream

FILE PHOTO: Nov 7, 2019; Columbus, OH, USA; United States forward Carli Lloyd (10) during an International Friendly Women's Soccer match against Sweden at MAPFRE Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK (Reuters) - World Cup winner Carli Lloyd said on Tuesday she had been practising for a hoped-for future in the NFL and was not fazed about the idea of playing alongside the men.

“Obviously there’s 300-pound men on the line but it’s sort of like taking a penalty shot: you’re not worried about the keeper, you’re worried about just putting the ball in the back of the net,” Lloyd, co-captain of the United States team that won the soccer World Cup in July, told Reuters.

“You’re focused on the technique, you’re focused on getting the ball up and over and in between the uprights, your focus isn’t necessarily on the people in front of you.”

The 37-year-old forward said she had successfully practised in pads and a helmet, focusing on repetition and technique.

She sparked intense interest in August when a video of her kicking a 55-yard field goal at a Philadelphia Eagles practice went viral on the internet.

Lloyd said a fourth trip to the Olympics, in Tokyo next year, was her top priority but the timing of the Games would allow her to also try to realise her hopes of becoming the first woman to be drafted to an NFL team.

“Olympics is done in August, preseason in football is around August,” said Lloyd at the unveiling of a plaque in Manhattan commemorating her team’s post-World Cup tickertape parade. “We’ll see –- you never know.”

Lauren Silberman became the first woman to enter the NFL combine in 2013, after the league announced that it would allow women to participate from 2012, but the would-be kicker was not drafted to a team and her lacklustre performance at the tryout was widely criticized.

Lloyd’s interest coincides with a decline in performance among kickers, with Dallas Cowboys’ Brett Maher the most recent player to get cut after missing 10 field goal chances this season.

Reporting By Amy Tennery; editing by Clare Fallon

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