It was only halftime at Ott’s Tavern in Delran, but hometown girlCarli Lloyd’s hat trick in the Women’s World Cup Final hadCeleste Taylor looking to the future.
“I hope we have another parade,” said Taylor,who was wearing a Delran High School jersey, and whose daughter, Brianna, also plays soccer for Lloyd’s high school alma mater.
“My daughter idolizes her,” Taylor said.
More than 200 people turned out to watch the game at Ott’s in Delran, a tiny New Jersey town with a big soccer following.
The crowd, which included relatives of Llloyd’s high school sweetheart and now fiancé Brian Hollins, along with their friends and friends of friends.
When Lloyd scored her first goal, the crowd was pumped. The second goal, just minutes later, drew disbelief, leaving several to wonder if it had been a replay.
Along the way, the crowd gave up the ubiquitous “USA” chant for raucous cheers of “Car-li, Car-li.”
“Is this nuts? It is,” said Al Arcaini, 49, of Delran.
Then Lloyd hit her third goal, the hat trick from mid-field.
“Is there a mercy rule in soccer?” one kid asked. “I’ve got to go to the bathroom but I’m afraid they’ll score again.”
They did score again, two more times, but by that time the win seemed all but certain. Things calmed down a bit, though as the U.S. Women’s National Team began playing a defensive style designed to hold their lead, the crowd grew restless.
“Give it to Carli,” one man shouted.
After the game, there was cheering, but also some reflection.
“This is a wonderful recognition women can aspire to do whatever men do,” said Rachel Williams, 44, from Cinnaminson. “It’s just wonderful to see. This will propel youth sports, boys, girls, whatever, to the next level.”
But mostly there was cheering.
Kathy Hollins, Lloyd’s future mother-in-law, said watching her son’s fiancée was: “Like a high. You don’t even need drugs … She’s so awesome, she just doesn’t give up.”