Carli Lloyd remembers looking at the clock on the Jumbotron above the field Sunday in Frankfurt, Germany.
"I told myself, 'We've got 10 more minutes . . . we've got 10 minutes to win this thing."
Ten minutes later, of course, the U.S. women's soccer team was not celebrating its first World Cup title in a dozen years. It had failed to hold a one-goal lead, so it was time for a penalty-kick shootout against Japan. The players knew the drill, and had won a quarterfinal thriller over Brazil in a shootout after a last-gasp goal. But this was a different feeling. If you felt it watching from home, they felt it on the field, too.
"It was weird - the feeling I had in the Brazil game, we were OK getting to the shootout, [like] we got this," Lloyd said Wednesday. "We all hit perfect PKs [against Brazil]. There was something about this game; we wanted to finish it off before the PKs, and I felt that. It's weird. . . . PKs are all about momentum. The Japanese players, the goalkeeper, they had to have studied our shootout . . . and there's that thing you play in your head. Should you switch your spot, should you not switch your spot? That's a tough thing."
Lloyd was back on her home turf Wednesday, stopping off at the Universal Soccer Academy in Lumberton, Burlington County, to do some interviews as youth players worked out behind her. The best female soccer player this area has ever produced still is getting her head around what happened in Germany.
"It's tough," Lloyd said. "Gosh, after I missed my PK, I was just in utter shock. I don't think I've ever hit a PK over the crossbar. At the end of the day, I'm proud of how I played. I think that was my best game of the tournament. And I think overall I had a great tournament. I'm proud of the team for how we played. It's just been hard to swallow. You just are constantly thinking about the game, thinking about what if, and there's nothing we can change."
She used the word weird a lot, especially in describing the two Japanese goals - "two kind of unfortunate weird little mistakes."
Lloyd, from Delran, has experienced the highest of highs, kicking the game-winner in the gold-medal game of the Beijing Olympics. She appreciates the flood of support. She thought her phone was going to die after that quarterfinal game, which she called the greatest game she ever was a part of. She also had the instant perspective of how the title was just a great thing for Japan as a country. It would have been harder to take if it had been anybody else winning, she said.
The support from the public is much appreciated. "It has kind of helped us embrace it a little more," Lloyd said.
She made it clear, however, they weren't in Germany just to become media stars. "For us, that end prize was first, and we thought we were destined to make it."
Trying to send a message
In response to great concerns about concussions, the Ivy League announced Wednesday that it will allow only two full-contact football practices a week, three less than permissible under NCAA rules.
Among other measures, the league said "there will be more stringent postgame league review of helmet-to-helmet and targeted hits, including the suspension of players."
All good signs, even necessary signs. Will the measures lead to a safer game? It's hard to say, but it's a message that local high schools and youth programs should take note of. And maybe leagues such as the Southeastern Conference and Big Ten could follow suit, which would send an even louder message.
Katy hears you
Dutch Gaitley, a senior reserve on Temple's basketball team this past season, made it clear last week that the premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 had his full attention.
Gaitley tweeted, "I don't care if @katyperry herself tweets at me during this movie, there is zero chance of me answering #HarryPotter."
Perry has 8,443,418 followers because she is on Twitter all the time.
"So this is a bad time?" Perry (as in Katy herself) tweeted Gaitley.
Gaitley stayed cool with his response: "harry potter time, no tweety"
Later, he came back with, "movies over now, we can talk"
No word from Perry yet. At least on Twitter.
Contact staff writer Mike Jensen at 215-854-4489 or firstname.lastname@example.org.