USWNT Stars Talk ‘College GameDay’ Experience
BIRMINGHAM -- Soccer may be rising in popularity, but football is still king in Alabama.
So with ESPN's "College GameDay" just under 60 miles away in Tuscaloosa for then-No. 2 Alabama's Saturday night showdown against No. 15 Ole Miss, it only made sense for a few U.S. women's national team players to stop by the set before their own game in Birmingham on Sunday.
Carli Lloyd, Julie Johnston and Meghan Klingenberg -- all three of whom started every game for the world champion U.S. team this past summer at the Women's World Cup in Canada -- made the trek from Birmingham to Tuscaloosa Saturday morning as special guests of the weekly college football pregame show.
"It was so cool," Johnston said. "My dad played in the SEC, so to be able to be there, from watching it to being there, was really cool to see how it’s run. They were great and great to us, and I was really glad to be a part of it."
Johnston's father, David, was a kicker at LSU in 1980 and 1981 after previously spending time at Mesa (Ariz.) Community College.
At least for Lloyd, she said the decision to visit "GameDay" came after hearing about it at the last minute.
"It happened very quickly," Lloyd said. "My agent just gave me a buzz about it, and I thought it would be a cool opportunity, something to experience that I’ve never experienced before. Being in the South, especially in Alabama, people take their football very seriously, so it was cool. It was good to be there, good to kind of see all the fans that were chanting ‘USA,’ and they were very interested in seeing us. We had a good time."
"GameDay" reporter Sam Ponder briefly interviewed Lloyd during a live segment on the broadcast. The second of Ponder's two questions posed toward Lloyd asked her about her recent field goal competition with Houston Texans' Vince Wilfork on HBO's "Hard Knocks."
Lloyd made her kick, before the 325-pound nose tackle topped her from a slightly farther distance.
"Vince cut it off, he was done after 35 yards, but I wanted to try it more," Lloyd told Ponder. "It was a lot of fun, though."
Klingenberg was not made available to the media after the game.
The U.S. defeated Haiti, 8-0 -- its second win in four days against the Caribbean nation and the fourth game overall of its 10-game Victory Tour celebrating its World Cup win -- at Legion Field in front of a record crowd of 35,753 fans.
Johnston scored the opening goal 53 seconds into the match on a corner kick.
Lloyd posted her second hat trick in as many days against Haiti, with all three goals coming in the first half of play. She's now recorded three hat tricks in 2015 -- the first coming in the U.S.'s 5-2 win against Japan in the World Cup final in July -- and five overall in her national team career.
Check out some tweets from Saturday's event:
The Alabama soccer team meets Lloyd, Johnston and Klingenberg:
So did Alabama softball star Haylie McCleney, who also happens to double as a Team USA softball member:
And "GameDay" guest picker, country singer Eric Church, did too, with trophy in hand:
Even "College GameDay" host Rece Davis got a selfie:
The USWNT, which has won three World Cups, knows Alabama has won a few championships of its own:
As for Lloyd, Johnston and Klingenberg, they seemed to enjoy the show, as well: