Two-time Women's World Cup winner Carli Lloyd will seriously consider pursuing a future career as an NFL kicker when she retires from football.

Lloyd, 37, sent social media into a spin when she drilled a series of field goals, including one from 55 yards, while visiting a Philadelphia Eagles practice session in August.

The United States national team veteran and long-time Eagles fan is nearing the end of a decorated career in football and could swap the round ball for the pigskin in a bid to become the first woman to play in the NFL.

Her personal coach, James Galanis, said an unnamed team had offered Lloyd the chance to kick in a preseason game, while Hall of Fame kicker Morten Andersen has volunteered his services help ease the transition.

Lloyd said: "The NFL gig has definitely been a hot topic for me.

"It's something that just completely took me by surprise, it went viral.

"I'm definitely considering it. Right now I'm just going to focus on soccer at the moment but I definitely want to entertain the idea of potentially becoming the first female to kick in the NFL."

Lloyd, 37, plays at club level for NWSL side Sky Blue FC.

The 2016 Best FIFA Women's Player last month confirmed her desire to become a four-time Olympian at Tokyo 2020.

However, she admitted those plans depend on the identity of Jill Ellis' replacement as USA head coach.

Jill Ellis says it is for other people to determine what her legacy is after she bowed out as head coach of the United States women's team.

The 53-year-old, who took over the reins in 2014, leaves after guiding the national team to successive World Cup triumphs in 2015 and 2019.

Her final match, a friendly with South Korea in Chicago, ended in a 1-1 draw.

Ellis, who was recently named women's coach of the year at the Best FIFA Football Awards 2019, would not be drawn on how her time in charge will be remembered, instead choosing to highlight the lasting relationships she has built.

Asked what her legacy would be, she told reporters: "I've been asked that question before and I kind of feel that's someone else's narrative to write. It's not about me writing my legacy or what I hope it will be. I've tried to do the best I can.

"I've tried to always give everything I have to this job – and with passion. I feel good about that. What people think about that is going to be their story to write. It's been great.

"I've had amazing staff, who mean the world to me. I'll miss them because as I said to them last night, they're my family.

"I think that's just been the best part of this job, building relationships. I'm not going to remember games so much, as I'm going to remember all these people that helped me get where I am."

While this is the end of her USWNT coaching career, Ellis will continue to work with the federation for at least the next year in the role of an ambassador, representing U.S. Soccer at various events.

 

Megan Rapinoe does not understand why speculation she could join Barcelona spread like "wildfire", but she is open to offers.

The World Cup winner suggested in a recent interview with beIN SPORTS that she would like to play in Spain by the end of her career.

Barcelona board member Maria Teixidor indicated Rapinoe was an option for the club but indicated her wage demands could make a move difficult.

Reign FC star Rapinoe, however, appeared to row back on her earlier comments after playing for the United States in a 2-0 defeat of South Korea. 

"I was like, 'what did I say?', I don't remember saying that, but who knows because sometimes I say stuff," Rapinoe told reporters.

"I was like, 'did I say I was going there?', I just thought I was open to all offers as always. I'll entertain anything that has dollar signs next to it.

"It is interesting though. It's cool to see all of these teams jumping in and seeing that interest, if there is interest, to see it from foreign teams about players.

"Hopefully, that becomes more normal, with interest in players coming over to our league and vice-versa. It's going to be hard to lure us away from the travelling circus that we all partake in."

Rapinoe, though, said her family were keen on a potential move to Spain.

She added: "My mom and dad were already like, 'here we are over wine, living out our pipe dream in Barcelona for a year', and I was like 'what? What are we talking about?'.

"But I don't know. It might be nice, that two-bedroom apartment."

Rapinoe won both the Golden Ball and the Golden Boot as Jill Ellis' USA side defended their World Cup crown earlier this year, then she collected the Best FIFA Women's Player award last month.

Megan Rapinoe called on her fellow professional footballers to make the most of a "unique" opportunity to "change this world forever" during her acceptance speech at The Best FIFA Awards.

After collecting the women's individual honour at the ceremony in Milan on Monday, Rapinoe used the platform to speak out about some of the notable issues in the modern game.

The United States international declared how she had been inspired by Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly after the pair stood up to incidents of racism, as well as referencing other events that have highlighted the homophobia and inequalities that still exist within football.

Rapinoe finished by calling on those in attendance, as well as those watching on, to capitalise on the platform provided by the sport to make a difference for the future.

"Some of the stories that have inspired me the most this year: Raheem Sterling and Koulibaly, their incredible performances on the field but the way that they have taken on the disgusting racism that they have had to face this year, but probably throughout their whole lives," the 34-year-old said.

"The young Iranian woman who eventually set herself on fire because she was not able to go to the game, the one 'out' MLS player and the countless other 'out' LGBTQ female players who fight so hard not just to play the sport that they love but also to fight the rampant homophobia that we have.

"Those were all the stories that inspired me so much, but they also made me a little bit sad and a bit disappointed.

"I feel like that if we really want to have meaningful change, what I think is most inspiring is if everyone other than Raheem Sterling and Koulibaly, if they were so outraged about racism as they were.

"If everybody else was that outraged as the LGBTQ players, if everybody was outraged by the equal pay, or lack there of, or the lack of investment in the women's game, that would be the most inspiring thing to me.

"We have such an incredible opportunity being professional football players, so much success – financial and otherwise – we have incredible platforms. I ask everyone here to lend your platform to other people, lift them up and share your success.

"We have a unique opportunity in football, different to any other sport in the world, to use this beautiful game to change this world forever.

"I hope you take that to heart, do something, anything. We have incredible power in this room."

Rapinoe secured The Best award for the first time in her career, edging out fellow nominees Alex Morgan and Lucy Bronze after winning the Golden Boot and Golden Ball at the Women's World Cup in France.

Megan Rapinoe has won The Best FIFA Women's Player award for the first time in her career, securing the prize ahead of fellow finalists Lucy Bronze and Alex Morgan.

Rapinoe receives the individual honour after playing a starring role in the United States’ triumph at the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

The 34-year-old scooped the Golden Boot after scoring six goals, while she was also lifted the Golden Ball after being judged the best player at the tournament.

Morgan also finished with the same number of goals in France, though missed out on the scoring crown by virtue of playing more minutes than her compatriot.

The 30-year-old striker – who has surpassed a century of goals in her illustrious international career – was the only one of the trio to previously be nominated, finishing third in 2012.

Meanwhile, the coach's award went to Jill Ellis, who made history at the Women’s World Cup.

The USA boss became the first coach to win the tournament for a second time, having also led them to glory in the 2015 edition in Canada.

Bronze, meanwhile, was a key member of the England squad that reached the last four, following on from an outstanding season for Lyon that included helping the French club lift the Women’s Champions League for a fourth successive season.

Rapinoe and Morgan were joined by compatriots Kelley O'Hara, Rose Lavelle and Julie Ertz in the FIFA FIFPro Women's World11.

As well as Bronze, there were also places for Brazil legend Marta, Netherlands goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal, Sweden's Nilla Fischer and France duo Wendie Renard and Amandine Henry.

 

FIFA FIFPro Women's World11: Sari van Veenendaal, Lucy Bronze, Nilla Fischer, Kelley O’Hara, Wendie Renard, Julie Ertz, Amandine Henry, Rose Lavelle, Marta, Alex Morgan

Women's World Cup star Alex Morgan will not play again this year due to a knee injury, she has announced.

The United States forward Morgan, 30, made the announcement on Instagram, calling an end to her season with the Orlando Pride of the National Women's Soccer League.

"This year has had the highest of highs but along with that comes challenges and sometimes even falling short of my goals I set for myself in 2019," Morgan wrote.

"I'm disappointed I won't be able to compete with the Pride for the remainder of 2019 due to a knee injury I've been managing since the World Cup, and that I can't be there to help my team-mates and my club have more success.

"I have already started physical therapy in LA and am eager to get back on the field doing what I love."

The Pride said in a statement Morgan had "a patella stress reaction in her right knee" stemming from an injury sustained while with the national team.

"It's obviously difficult to lose a player of Alex's calibre due to injury," Pride general manager Erik Ustruck said.

"However, after consulting with the club’s medical team at Orlando Health and U.S. Soccer, we felt it was in the best interest of Alex's long-term health to shut her down for the season to focus on the rehabilitation process and take the appropriate time to recover from the lingering knee injury."

The striker has been nursing the injury since she was substituted during USA's group game against Sweden at the World Cup in June.

She returned to play in the remaining games of the tournament, won by USA as they defended their title, even scoring a goal in a semi-final victory over England.

Morgan, who has played six games with the Pride this season, four before the World Cup and two since, has a history of knee injuries.

She suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament as a teenager in high school and also underwent keyhole surgery on her right knee in 2015.

Morgan, along with USA team-mate Megan Rapinoe, has been nominated for The Best FIFA Women's Player award, with the winner to be announced at a ceremony in Milan on September 23.

President Donald Trump has held talks with FIFA chief Gianni Infantino about how women's football can become "more equitable".

Trump, who openly rowed with star player Megan Rapinoe during the United States' Women's World Cup triumph, met Infantino at the White House.

The US women's national team are embroiled in a long-running battle with US Soccer in a battle to secure pay parity with their male counterparts, a far less successful team on the world stage.

Trump has yet to make his position clear in that argument, but after talks with FIFA president Infantino he said: "Gianni and I just had a meeting on women’s soccer and what everybody’s going to do to make that even better and more equitable, etc etc."

Infantino added: "[In] women's soccer, where you are world champion, there is much more to do. The president was saying this to me and he is right.

"We are working with that and we will announce very soon some new initiatives."

Rapinoe said during the World Cup that she would not visit the White House if President Trump invited the team, triggering an angry response from the Oval Office. Trump suggested she had shown "disrespect" to her country.

The 34-year-old Rapinoe, who is gay and has used her platform to speak out on civil rights matters, refused to sing the US national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, during the World Cup in France. She previously supported NFL star Colin Kaepernick when - in an action that was rebuked by President Trump - he took a knee before games during the anthem in protest at racial injustice in the US.

Rapinoe has also urged Infantino to make his voice heard in the equal-pay dispute.

Trump and Infantino were meeting primarily on Monday to discuss the United States' co-hosting of the 2026 World Cup with Canada and Mexico.

"We are, as you probably know, getting the World Cup in 2026 for the United States," Trump said. "Some of it is a partnership with Mexico and Canada. It's coming into the United States for a large percentage of the games.

"We're very excited about it."

Phil Neville acknowledges he has been flattered by reported interest from the United States women's team but insists there has been no approach from the world champions.

Neville guided England to the semi-finals of this year's Women's World Cup, where they lost to the USA.

Victorious coach Jill Ellis will leave her role with USA at the end of October, though, and reports in England this week claimed Neville was a leading candidate.

But the ex-Manchester United defender, who is under contract with the Football Association until 2021, says his focus is on the 2020 Olympic Games, where he will lead Great Britain.

"There's been no approach," Neville told BBC Sport after England's 2-1 friendly defeat to Norway. "My focus is on winning us a gold medal in the Olympics.

"Beyond that, it's flattering because it means you're doing a good job. But my focus is England. I love this job, as I said before the game, and we've got a big job to do.

"We can see over the last two games [including a draw with Belgium last week] that the work is still in progress and we've still got a long way to go."

Neville was this week nominated for the FIFA's Best award for the top women's coach.

Afterwards, speaking ahead of the Norway game, the former England international defended his record and claimed England were lucky to have him.

"I have a vision that nobody else has," he said. "I've got bravery that no other coach has probably had.

"So, do you know what? Thank your lucky stars. I'm here. I'm here to stay. And I'm going to continue to keep improving.

"I've got a long way to go but I think, with the set of players we've got and with my philosophy, I think we can go a long way. I live and breathe it."

The Neymar transfer saga is over for at least another window, but it remains to be seen how the star responds at Paris Saint-Germain.

Neymar, 27, was largely expected to return to Barcelona, only for no agreement to be reached between the clubs before the window closed on Monday.

Unsurprisingly, the superstar forward is far from happy.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR ANGRY WITH PSG AFTER NOT GETTING BARCELONA RETURN

Neymar is very sad and deeply angry with PSG over his failed Barcelona move, according to Sport.

However, they also report Barcelona are convinced Neymar will return to Camp Nou in 2020.

Sport say Barca offered €150million – with €20m coming from Neymar – plus Ivan Rakitic and Jean-Clair Todibo on permanent deals and Ousmane Dembele on loan, only for the deal to be rejected.

ROUND-UP

- After plenty of debate, the Premier League will extend its close-season transfer window until September 1 next year, according to The Sun. Several clubs have been frustrated after they only had until August 8 to complete their business as the rest of Europe remained active.

- With Jill Ellis set to leave her post as United States head coach, the Women's World Cup winners have lined up England boss Phil Neville as their number one target to replace her, according to the Daily Mail.

- Manchester United are looking to the future. Sport Witness reports the Premier League giants sent scouts to watch Benfica duo Ruben Dias, 22, and Florentino Luis, 20, against Sporting Braga on Sunday, lining the pair up as two potential transfer targets.

- After collecting just five points from four Premier League games, Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is getting frustrated. Solskjaer is frustrated by the failures of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial to score "scruffy" goals, according to The Athletic.

United States stars Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan will battle England international Lucy Bronze for The Best FIFA Women's Player award after nine names were trimmed from the original shortlist.

Lyon right-back Bronze was named UEFA Women's Player of the Year last week but faces stiff competition from Rapinoe and Morgan to claim the global accolade.

Rapinoe, 34, looks to be the frontrunner after spearheading her country to Women's World Cup glory earlier this year.

The winger scooped the Golden Boot with six goals from five games and completed a triumphant individual double by claiming the Golden Ball.

Team-mate Morgan netted the same number of goals in France, including the winner in the 2-1 semi-final defeat of England, and only missed out on the goalscoring crown by virtue of playing more minutes than Rapinoe.

Bronze's hopes could hinge on a strong club campaign as she helped Lyon to the treble, although two of the previous three winners - Carli Lloyd and Marta - have been based in the NWSL in America.

Similar battle lines have been drawn for the title of The Best FIFA Women's Coach, with England manager Phil Neville in contention against Jill Ellis, who has won back-to-back World Cups with USA.

Netherlands boss Sarina Wiegman is the other contender after leading her country to the World Cup final.

Christiane Endler, Hedvig Lindahl and Sari van Veenendaal are the finalists for the goalkeeper's gong.

All award winners will be announced at a ceremony in Milan on September 23.

Carli Lloyd received an offer to kick in an NFL preseason game later this week, her trainer James Galanis said on Monday.

Lloyd, a two-time Women's World Cup champion with the United States, drilled a 55-yard field goal at Philadelphia Eagles practice last week, which led to one unnamed team asking her to be on their roster for their matchup on Thursday, Galanis told Fox Sports.

The forward was genuinely interested, Galanis said, but she declined the invitation because it conflicts with USA's friendly against Portugal at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

"[Monday], she got another call from another NFL team," Galanis said.

"The one that called today, I don't want to say who it is, was willing to put her on the roster for their next [game]. They were willing to put her on the roster. She was told [she could] play on Thursday, the NFL game, but she is playing Thursday with the national team, so that was the conflict."

Galanis said Lloyd was "definitely thinking about" trying to kick in the NFL. 

"Knowing Carli, I don't think she would just hop on and do it," Galanis said. "She would need a couple of weeks training just to get comfortable. But things have escalated and it is real … Knowing Carli, this is why it is enticing for her because it is a challenge. That's what Carli thrives on, it is the next thing she can conquer. That's why we have had half a dozen conversations about it in less than a week."

Lloyd told NBC Sports she thinks, with some work, she could be successful at the position. 

"The mindset I have, I think with practice, I know I have to work on my steps and my technique, but I think I could do it and do it well," Lloyd said during that interview.

"It could be a huge pivotal moment. There is no reason why a woman could not do this. And I actually invite the pressure. I love the pressure.

"When I have to nail something – shooting hoops, axe throwing, kicking a field goal – that is the moment I live for and want. It's worth having some conversations about it. With practice and someone showing me, I know I can do it."

Carli Lloyd believes she could be a successful NFL kicker after going viral for making a 55-yard field goal while visiting a Philadelphia Eagles practice.

The United States women's national team star turned heads this week when she drilled a perfect long-range attempt, which she later said resulted in "some inquiries" from NFL teams.

Lloyd, a long-time Eagles fan, sat down with NBC Sports' Peter King for his weekly 'Football Morning in America' column to discuss how the impressive kick came to be.

"I love the Eagles. I've been an Eagles fan my whole life," Lloyd said. "I had an off-day and I figured I'd come out ... I brought my boots.

"I could kick all day long. I could kick field goals all day long. I absolutely love it. There's a lot the same with kicking a soccer ball and kicking a football. I love kicking long balls in soccer, and it carries over to football. The technique is the same, and I think I'm very accurate.

"I started at 25 [yards], and they kept moving me back. I hit one short, I think. There were a couple with the wind that went wide. I got to 55, and that was it. One take. It was good.

"I had no idea anyone was videotaping it or putting it on cell-phone video. I tried from 57, but it was wide; the distance was good. I would have kept going — my competitive nature. But I felt like I was holding them up out there."

Lloyd was flooded with messages after the clip went viral on social media.

"When we got in the car, it was unbelievable," she said. "The texts, the videos, everything going viral. I had no idea. It was insane. It still is insane. I could not believe the attention on social media.

"I just had a conversation with Randy [Brown, the former mayor of a town near Lloyd's home and assistant special-teams coach with the Baltimore Ravens], actually. The coaches and his GM, they all saw the video. They were like, 'What is she doing next week?'

"I'm laughing about it, but the more I think about it, this has the chance to be sort of a pioneering moment for women."

Lloyd's kick also caught the attention of Gil Brandt, former Dallas Cowboys' vice-president of player personnel, who tweeted: "Honestly, I don't think it will be long before we see a woman break through this NFL barrier. I'd give her an honest tryout if I were, say, the [Chicago] Bears."

The USWNT veteran, who helped her side retain the World Cup in July, hopes one day there could be a place for women in the NFL. 

"I know that I could actually probably do it. Put on the helmet, strap on the pads, go for it," Lloyd said. "The mindset I have, I think with practice, I know I have to work on my steps and my technique, but I think I could do it and do it well. It could be a huge, pivotal moment.

"There is no reason why a woman could not do this. And I actually invite the pressure. I love the pressure. When I have to nail something — shooting hoops, axe-throwing, kicking a field goal — that is the moment I live for and want.

"It's worth having some conversations about it. With practice and someone showing me, I know I can do it. I have one of the most accurate shots in our game. [The] big thing would be getting used to the big boys out there. But nothing scares me.

"You hold yourself back if you're afraid. What's the worst that can happen? I don't make the team? Let's just say I did try. Maybe I change the landscape a lot."

Lloyd and the rest of the national team are in the middle of a victory tour that will end on October 6 against South Korea. After the World Cup, Lloyd hinted she will continue playing international football for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Frank de Boer has backtracked on his equal pay comment after he said it was "ridiculous" the United States women's national team expect to be paid the same as their male counterparts.

Women's World Cup winners USA, who beat Netherlands in last month's final, continue to be embroiled in a battle for equal pay with U.S. Soccer.

Atlanta United coach De Boer said he is a champion of women's soccer and indicated he regrets his choice of words during an interview with the Guardian.

“I think for me, it’s ridiculous. It's the same like tennis," De Boer said to the newspaper. "If there are watching, for the World Cup final, 500 million people or something like that, and 100 million for a women's final, that's a difference. So it's not the same.

"And of course, they have to be paid what they deserve to and not less, just what they really deserve. If it's just as popular as the men, they will get it, because the income and the advertising will go into that.

"But it's not like that, so why do they have to earn the same? I think it's ridiculous. I don't understand that."

De Boer, however, has now clarified his comments.

"Especially the word ridiculous," he said. "It's a hard word if I read that word only. If you see the whole context, I was very clear that I always promote women's soccer."

USA star Megan Rapinoe has been one of the most vocal athletes to speak out against the pay disparity, using her platform after USA defended their World Cup title.

Talks between players and governing body U.S. Soccer have broken down, with Rapinoe indicating she will continue fighting for equal pay.

"They're the only employer that we could have playing for the national team, we're the only employees that they could have, so for better or for worse we're tethered together," she told ABC's Good Morning America on Thursday.

"I think that if and when and ever they are willing to have a conversation about equal pay that starts there and goes forward, we're always open to that."

Women's World Cup champions the United States started their victory tour with a 3-0 win over the Republic of Ireland.

After defending their World Cup trophy in France, USA defeated Ireland thanks to goals from Tobin Heath, Lindsey Horan and Carli Lloyd in California on Saturday.

USA were without stars Megan Rapinoe or Alex Morgan at the Rose Bowl – the first of five games across the United States that will run through October.

But that just meant some of USA's other stars were able to shine.

Christen Press, who impressed throughout the World Cup, fed the ball to Heath – who opened the scoring in the 16th minute.

Samantha Mewis and Lindsey Horan quickly partnered up for the next goal – the latter doubling the advantage just past the half-hour mark with a tap-in.

Lloyd capped off the team's scoring four minutes before half-time after the veteran looped a header over the Ireland goalkeeper.

Next up, USA will face Portugal in Philadelphia on August 29.

United States star Megan Rapinoe and three of her international team-mates are among 12 nominees for the Best FIFA Women's Player Award for 2019.

A first-time recipient will be named in Milan on September 23 after former winners Marta, Lieke Martens and Carli Lloyd all failed to make the shortlist.

Reign FC forward Rapinoe shapes as a strong contender after inspiring USA to glory at the Women's World Cup in France.

The 34-year-old scored six goals in five games, including one in the 2-0 victory over Netherlands in the final, to claim a Golden Ball-Golden Boot double.

Rapinoe's compatriots Alex Morgan, Rose Lavelle and Julie Ertz are also in contention, as are England pair Ellen White and Lucy Bronze, who claimed the Silver Ball.

Right-back Bronze and striker Ada Hegerberg, last year's inaugural Women's Ballon d'Or winner, feature among four players from the Lyon side that won the Women's Champions League.

The list of contenders has been expanded to 12 from the usual 10 due to a tie in the number of votes received by some nominees.

 

The Best FIFA Women's Player nominees:

Lucy Bronze (Lyon & England)
Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars & United States)
Caroline Graham Hansen (Barcelona & Norway)
Ada Hegerberg (Lyon)
Amandine Henry (Lyon & France)
Sam Kerr (Chicago Red Stars & Australia)
Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit & United States)
Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal & Netherlands)
Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride & United States)
Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC & United States)
Wendie Renard (Lyon & France)
Ellen White (Manchester City & England)

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