MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Preparing for a new challenge at Manchester City, FIFA player of the year Carli Lloyd is relishing the chance to improve her game.
After spending her entire career playing for clubs in her homeland, the United States captain signed Wednesday to play for English champion City this spring.
The 34-year-old Lloyd is expected to rejoin the Houston Dash of the National Women’s Soccer League in June, although City’s statement did not mention the Texas team.
“I’ve still got three or four years left in me before I hang up the cleats and I want to cross some more items off the bucket list,” Lloyd said in a statement.
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The midfielder has collected two Olympic goal medals and won the Women’s World Cup in 2015.
“The biggest thing for me as a player is: how can I continue to get better?” she said. “I don’t think I have all the answers or think that I don’t need to improve on anything.
“I’m looking to be in a different environment with different players and a new coach.”
City will give Lloyd a chance to play in Europe’s Champions League for the first time.
“Having played in the U.S. throughout my career, the chance to fulfill a long held ambition to test myself in a new footballing environment … is something I am relishing,” she said.
Lloyd joins several national team players who have opted to play overseas this season, including forward Alex Morgan, who will play for Lyon in France before returning to the NWSL’s Orlando Pride. In January, Crystal Dunn signed a deal with Chelsea through 2018. Retired national team midfielder Heather O’Reilly is playing for Arsenal.
City is the defending champion of the FA Women’s Super League.
“We are a successful team but a young team, too, having only entered the Women’s Super League three years ago, so adding players to our squad with substantial experience is crucial to our development,” City coach Nick Cushing said. “Carli has had an incredible career and is recognized as one of the best in the world.
“There is much we can learn from her that will help us to improve as a team. We are all looking forward to working with her over the coming months.”
Houston Dash coach Randy Waldrum said that Lloyd informed him at the weekend about the opportunity to play for Man City.
“I’m disappointed that she will not be with the team as we start the season, but I wished her all the best with her decision,” Waldrum said. “Our team is not built around any one player, so nothing will change with regards to our goals and expectations for our team.”
Lloyd has been with the Dash since she was acquired in a trade from the Western New York Flash in 2014. As a member of the national team, she is one of the allocated players to the domestic women’s league, which is entering its fifth year.
Lloyd was recently named to the U.S. roster for the SheBelieves Cup. The United States joins Germany, France and England for the international tournament that will be played in three American cities from March 1-7.