Carli Lloyd is officially the best in the world.

The soccer star was recently appointed the US Women's National Team captain (along with defender Becky Sauerbrunn) and, more importantly, was named the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year.

Lloyd accepted the honor alongside Lionel Messi, who won the Ballon d'Or (aka the "Golden Ball" - the men's equivalent of player of the year). This is Messi's fourth time winning the award, while Lloyd is the third US player to win the award, joining the ranks of Mia Hamm (who won twice) and Abby Wambach.

But perhaps what is most remarkable about Lloyd's achievement is the fact that she almost didn't become the best player in the world. Lloyd, historically known for inconsistency, has suffered career ups and downs, such as being benched coming into the 2012 Olympics while also scoring clutch goals in high-stakes tournaments (like the same 2012 Olympics). Throughout her professional career, she has been known as the player who constantly trains harder and longer to improve her fitness and skills - not only physically but mentally and emotionally. Whether implicitly or explicitly stated, Lloyd is out to silence the naysayers.

But even before the career disappointments and highlights there were obstacles. In 2003 Carli Lloyd almost quit playing soccer. While Lloyd made it through the early teens when girls usually begin to drop out of sports at twice the rate of boys, she suffered major disappointment in college when she was cut from the U-21 national team. Carli Lloyd had lost her passion for the sport.

And yet somehow Lloyd made it through. With encouragement from her father she reconnected with James Galanis who identified in Lloyd raw talent and helped her tap it. Personal trainer, mentor, and life coach, Galanis helped Lloyd become the player who scores when it matters, and who earns a hat trick in the final match of the 2015 Women's World Cup - the most watched US soccer match (men's or women's!) in history. That is world class, and youths around the world will benefit for the positive example.


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