Carli Lloyd has opened up in devastating detail about how a ‘narcissistic’ personal coach drove a 12-year wedge between her and her family at the height of her soccer career.
Lloyd is one of the finest soccer players the United States has ever had – playing 316 times for her country and winning two World Cups in 2015 and 2019. In her retirement, she has forged a reputation as a tough-talking analyst with FOX Sports.
But now, in an emotional and moving interview with CBS Sports and Kate Abdo, she has spoken about her relationship with her personal coach James Galanis – who she says brain-washed her into a 12-year rift with her family from 2008 up until the pandemic.
‘Nobody truly knows the situation that went down,’ she said, explaining how she first met Galanis. ;My dad reached out to this personal coach after I got cut from the U21 national team. I was ready to quit, I needed someone to get me over that last little bit that I needed. This coach came in and started working with me
‘It was a bit of a family affair. My sister was kind of nannying his two kids, my dad was the manager of my brother’s team. Then just all of a sudden something happened with my dad and him and he was out of the picture, then my sister is out of the picture. Slowly, people in my life were getting chopped out.’
Carli Lloyd spoke in brave detail about the impact her ex-coach James Galanis had on her life
Lloyd said that Galanis (eight) was narcissistic and contributed to a 12-year rift with her family
Lloyd bravely opened up on the impact the family rift has had on her in recent years
Her husband Brian was one of the few people by Lloyds side during that 12-year period but even he had reservations over the impact of his wife’s relationship with Galanis.
‘My husband Brian, who was not my husband at the time, had some hesitations abut him that I’d come to find out,’ Lloyd said. ‘He didn’t think fondly of him for about a decade. But for me it was tunnel vision. When you strive for greatness and you want to succeed there are things you sacrifice.
‘I didn’t see things clearly because I was on a mission to be the best. That came with a price – I didn’t talk to my family for 12 years. From about 2008 to 2020. 2020, Covid year, a lot of things slowed down. I had some differing views with my personal coach – there was a manipulating, a brainwashing, just a very unhealthy thing going on.
‘The way I was being treated, it just kind of opened my eyes to the type of person that he was and is. I just came to terms with it not being good for me in my life.
‘I can’t sit here and say he didn’t help. He helped. But it came with a price. The price of my family missing out, missing weddings, my dad nearly had a heart-attack. Those are moments you don’t get back. He was who he always was.
‘It completely opened my eyes to a lot of things. The control, the manipulation, the brain-washing, driving a wedge through my family – all of these things that I didn’t see.’
Lloyd, 41, became tearful in the interview when she explained how her pregnant sister reached out to her to try and orchestrate a healing of the relationship between the soccer star and her family.
‘I was talking to my sister for about four years,’ Lloyd said. ‘She was about to give birth to her first and she called me, (Lloyd visibly becomes tearful) and left me a voicemail I will never forget. She said she didn’t want her firstborn to not know her aunt.
‘I’d kind of given her a heads up of what was going on. 2020 happened, I’d had a surgery and wasn’t training with my coach any more and she kind of facilitated – my family came over my house.
Lloyd’s split with her family was over the height of her soccer career and two World Cup wins
Lloyd said that her sister helped her reconnect with her parents and rebuild the relationship
Host Kate Abdo drew comparisons with Lloyd’s experiences with her own marriage
‘It was strange, it had been a really long time. My mom was extremely nervous. Everybody was. Whenever we tried to rekindle I had my coach in my ear, manipulating me, saying you can’t trust your family.
‘I can see how people get wrapped up in that, taken advantage of. I always had this guard up about me. It worked for my career but I wasn’t somebody that expressed myself and I needed to let that guard down.
‘I’ve given myself grace to know I wasn’t in the mindset, my eyes weren’t open to see it.’
It was then that Abdo herself drew parallels to her marriage. The presenter used to be married to the German investor Ramtin Abdo in 2010. It is unclear when they divorced and Abdo has not spoken publicly about it on many occasions up to now.
She said to Lloyd: I’ve been in that situation, I can relate to that – it takes space and distance to be able to see the level of manipulation and control involved. I would say I saw it in my marriage and it took for me to be away form that to be able to make the right decisions and really process everything that that happened.
‘I think I struggled with feeling so disappointed in myself. How did I let that happen? and at such personal cost to people that I care about and that I love?’
Lloyd replied: ‘100%. I consider myself strong, I consider myself able to read people but when someone is narcissistic and really really good at manipulating, even the strongest people fall victim to it.’
Galanis has not responded to Lloyd’s claims about their time working together.