Everyday this month, Double G Sports will be featuring interviews from prominent women in the sports industry as our way of celebrating Women’s History Month. This project is in its 2nd year. Today we feature Jill Loyden, goalie for the US Women’s National Team and our local professional soccer team, Sky Blue FC.
As a small child Jill Loyden never could have imagined playing professional soccer, but now she will be opening the season in her home state as the starting goalie for Sky Blue FC, part of the new National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). Loyden said she never would of dreamed to be in the situation she is now and is enjoying every moment of it.
“I enjoy every day that I get to play. Every day I am on the field there is a new challenge and its just part of enjoying the journey. Every day I get to just smile and have so much fun.”
Loyden has been playing soccer since she was a little girl and has excelled at every level. In high school she was chosen for First-Team All-State, then in college she won multiple honors including First-Team All-American and Big East Goalkeeper of the year. After graduating college she was drafted in the sixth round (37th overall), and after playing behind Hope Solo in St. Louis, she earned a starting job for the Chicago Red Stars in 2010.
During her high school years, Loyden lettered in three sports, basketball, soccer, and softball. She was a true athlete and wanted to play a sport year round to stay in top shape, she also said that basketball helped to enhance her skills as a goalie.
Her passion for soccer and her family are all the motivation Loyden needed growing up and are still her motivation to this day. She did not do it for the fame or for the money, she plays soccer because it is what she loves and what makes her happy.
“I just really enjoy soccer and I love it so much. In all the areas of my life I try to do something as best I can, I don’t really just go half in on anything. My family has really been a driving force for me, they always give me so much love and support, especially this past year.”
In 2011 Loyden broke her hand and was out for three months, but she rehabbed and worked hard to comeback as strong as possible.
“It showed me a lot about perseverance and overcoming adversity and not feeling bad for myself. That’s one thing I never do is feel bad for myself.”
She came back for camp and after two weeks made the World Cup team that was heading to Germany. On their way to the finals Loyden’s U.S. team defeated Brazil, a then favorite, in the 90th minute. Loyden said that, that goal and game were one of the most memorable moments of her life. The team lost in the finals to Japan, it was a heart-wrenching loss, but Loyden still said that it was an incredible experience.
“I was overwhelmed, it was everything you could ever dream of as a player and its everybody’s dream to go to a world cup. Unfortunately we didn’t win, but it was really an amazing experience. I was just glad to be a part of it.”
Loyden was part of the 2012 Olympic gold winning team and during their victory tour she was substituted into a game against Costa Rica for her first international appearance.
Sunday, April 14th will start Sky Blue FC’s season, where Loyden will be less than an hour away from her home town, Vineland. Come watch them play at Yurcak Field, in Piscataway against the Western New York Flash. This Jersey girl is back home and ready to help lead her team to a fantastic son.
Update: Since this interview took place, Jill Loyden suffered a spiral fracture of the 4th metacarpal in her left hand during a training session in Portugal on March 7th. Loyden will be out about three weeks. She had this to say about the injury…
“I’m going to be working hard to try to get back for as much of the NWSL season as possible,” said Loyden. “In the meantime, I’ll be supporting my teammates for club and country and doing my best to get totally healthy and ready to play.”