World famous soccer player, Carli Lloyd, has established herself as an extremely successful athlete in the world of sports, winning multiple gold medals at the Olympics and multiple Fifa World Championships with the United States Women’s National Team, most recently in the summer of 2019. Although the United States Women’s Soccer team has been extremely successful on the world stage, they’re facing challenges regarding pay equality. This struggle with equal pay could force stars like Carli to investigate other career opportunities that are more lucrative, like kicking field goals in the NFL.
This is exactly what happened just two weeks ago. Carli, a huge NFL and Philadelphia Eagles fan, was spotted at one of the Eagles’ practices kicking 50+ yard field goals. This news blew up all over social media and prompted multiple NFL teams to reach out to Carli about a possible transition to the NFL to kick field goals. One unnamed team even offered her a spot on their preseason roster.
Female NFL Player
Once the video surfaced of Carli successfully kicking field goals at the Eagles’ practice, rumors began to swirl about her potentially kicking on an NFL team. She is one of the best soccer players in the world and there are quite a few parallels between an NFL placekicker and a soccer player, most notably the cleats they wear, that suggest a transition from soccer to football could be successful.
The need for a female NFL player is long overdue as football in general, but especially NFL football is dominated by males. There have been changes over the last few years that have brought more females into the NFL world. One of these changes included a few coaching hires that have brought females onto NFL coaching staffs. The next step is bringing in a female player.
Carli is rumored to be genuinely interested in a career as an NFL kicker as her soccer career winds down. She has stated that she would like to take the time to train and develop her place kicking talent and possibly pursue her NFL career next season. Current and past NFL players have gotten on board and begun advocating for Carli, with Bills’ kicker, Stephen Haushcka, even offering to help her train.
Football is possibly the most single-sex dominated sport in the world as there is no true equal league for women who want to play football. There are men and women’s basketball, soccer, baseball/softball, and hockey teams and leagues all over the world. From high school to the professional level men and women have the opportunity to pursue careers in those sports. The same cannot be said for football. At the high school level, you find few girls playing football and if they do they must play with the male team. There is no collegiate women’s football team and there is no professional female football leagues besides the lingerie league which is considered demeaning by many.
Carli Lloyd breaking through into the NFL could be instrumental for not only presenting more opportunities for women in football, but also women in sports in general. Outside of the playing field, the sport industry and business of sport is male dominated. A role model like Carli Lloyd could inspire young women to pursue their dreams in sport no matter the obstacles they face and the gender of the people around them.
In addition, Carli potentially leaving soccer for the NFL could put pressure on FIFA and the United States Women’s National Soccer team to increase the pay of their athletes. Since playing in the NFL is more lucrative than being a professional soccer player it could draw more soccer stars away from the sport and towards football to increase their salary. Losing a star like Carli could be detrimental to the USWNT. By even considering leaving the sport she’s become so good at, it could send a message to United States soccer about wage equality. In this sense Carli is also advocating for equal pay for women.