As a wide-eyed ten year old, I was able to witness the US Women’s National Team win a gold medal in the 1996 Olympics. It was that day that my life changed. It was that day that I started dreaming of what my life could be. Everyday following, I spent my life chasing my dream of reaching the pinnacle of women’s soccer, striving to wear the United States crest across my chest. My undeniable passion and love for the game only continued to expand throughout my journey of playing for numerous club teams, my high school, Villanova University, and the Women’s Professional League. Each and every one of those playing experiences largely contributed in guiding me to achieve my once far-fetched dream, and at 24 years old I got the opportunity to play on The United States Women’s National Team for the first time.
The game of soccer has forever influenced the person that I am, teaching me the significance of hard work and determination. It has given me the confidence to face all of life’s challenges, and more importantly taught me to enjoy the journey. I view my entire career as a blessing, allowing me to travel the world, achieve my dreams as a professional soccer player, and establish so many amazing relationships.
I would like to say thank you to my family and friends who have supported me throughout my 21-year long career. Thank you for being there, loving and supporting me, from my days as a recreational player to the days I spent competing at the highest level around the globe. To the hundreds of people I have been privileged and honored to call my teammates, I could never say enough to express the gratitude I have for each and every one of you. From the bottom of my heart, please know that you have each had a part in inspiring me to be the best person and footballer that I could be. Thank you all for being my motivation through the ups and the downs, the injuries and recoveries, the victories and defeats, the moments of adversity, and some of the best times of my life. A special thank you to all my coaches, both past and present, for each doing your part to shape me into the goalkeeper and the individual that I am today. Your efforts and dedication towards me, and towards the sport have inspired my passion to coach and mentor the next generation of soccer players.
My dreams as a soccer player have been fulfilled beyond what I ever could have imagined. With much thought and consideration I know it is time for me to step away from the game, and begin the pursuit of a new dream. Going forward I am committing my life to my family, The Jillian Loyden Foundation, and coaching kids in effort to help them achieve their greatest dreams. In continuing my efforts towards being the most positive role model that I can possibly be, I want to empower children to be the leaders of tomorrow, to do greater than I have ever done. I look forward to making a greater impact on the world in this next chapter of my life.