Skip to main content

Carl Lloyd’s Tips on Taking a Penalty Kick


​Carli Lloyd knows how important penalty kicks are. Her U.S. squad lost the 2011 World Cup final to Japan in a shootout. Lloyd missed her attempt, which motivated her to improve — and she did. Now she's the regular penalty taker for the U.S. Here's how she thrives when all eyes are on her.

Know your enemy

"I look at film to see the goalkeeper's tendencies — which side they favor more, whether they do anything before the kick. I make my decision where to place the kick based on that."

Be flexible

"When you run up, you should be looking at the ball and make a committed effort to know where you're going to kick it. But you can look up a little and see what the keeper is doing. You may see the keeper moving a certain way, and then you change things up. Against Colombia in the 2015 World Cup, the keeper left early and dove. I could see that, and I knew I didn't have to nail it in the corner."

Be yourself

"You can't line up the same way Messi lines up or Ronaldo lines up. Get in a comfortable position that you enjoy being in. I don't have a certain number of steps or a certain line I take. I try to mix it up."

Trust yourself

"You have to be confident in what you're stepping up to do. And that comes with lots of practice. I spend lots of time after training practicing penalty kicks. It's all practice."

Photo: Frank Mattia/Icon Sportswire/AP