By Howard Monroe


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Ahead of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team’s Victory Tour matchup with Portugal on Thursday, the World Cup champs took to the field Wednesday evening at Lincoln Financial Field. Delran, New Jersey’s own Carli Lloyd, of course, will be playing and soccer fans are stoked to see her.

“She walked those same halls, she did the exact same thing. You see it every day and it’s a big motivator,” Delran High School soccer player Riley Reynolds said.

The Delran Bears girls soccer team is looking to one of their own for motivation.

“I’ve always wanted to be just like her when I was young and I think I can if I just keep working,” soccer player Gabby Parkinson said.

Lloyd graduated from Delran High School in 2001. Her high school soccer jersey and signed Sports Illustrated magazine cover still hang in the hallway.

“It’s really awesome coming from a small town like Delran to see someone have so much success,” said Bears coach Brian Croly, who coached Lloyd in high school. “She’s a hard worker and anything she got, she got it by hard work. She was head and shoulders above everyone else.

“I don’t think you ever really truly envision something like that. But seeing the work and seeing from when she was in high school to when she was in college to when she was working to get to the national team and the work she puts in, it doesn’t surprise me,” Croly said.

From the field in Delran, Lloyd would go on to win two Olympic gold medals and back-to-back FIFA women’s World Cups.

“The thing she talks about all the time is, she’s a hard worker. She puts a lot of time with being the best in the world and it shows,” coach Nathan Marter said.

Lloyd has been raising eyebrows lately throughout the sports world after comments suggesting she might be eyeing a career in the NFL.

This all came after Lloyd kicked field goals during an Eagles practice last week — starting out at the 25-yard line and kept moving back. Eventually she drilled a 55-yard kick and has since been offered to kick for an unnamed team during a preseason game.

“It’s good news. I think it started the conversation. At first I was kind of laughing about it. But after speaking with my husband and close family and friends at home, I think anything’s possible. I think I would be foolish to maybe not entertain the idea of potentially doing it,” Lloyd said.

Officials say 46,000 tickets have been sold for Thursday’s USWNT game against Portugal.