Carli Lloyd Wins Golden Ball Trophy: Stats, Highlights and Twitter Reaction

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 5, 2015

VANCOUVER, BC - JULY 05:  Carli Lloyd #10 of the United States poses after winning the Golden Ball during the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 Final at BC Place Stadium on July 5, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada.  (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images)
Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images

Scoring a hat trick in a World Cup final tends to earn you a number of plaudits. Carli Lloyd parlayed her three goals in the United States' 5-2 victory over Japan on Sunday into the 2015 Women's World Cup Golden Ball, given to the best player of the tournament.

The U.S. women's national team tweeted the news:

Following the match, she kept the focus on her team, saying, per Nancy Armour of USA Today: "Unbelievable group. Collectively unbelievable. So happy and so proud."  

Lloyd and the United States got off to a dream start in the final. The 32-year-old scored her third goal in the 16th minute of the game, which gave the USWNT a 4-0 lead. ESPN Stats & Info's Paul Carr provided the historical significance of her performance:

Lloyd's third goal will be the one fans remember most. She decided to attempt an audacious effort from the halfway line. A helpless Ayumi Kaihori tried and failed to knock the ball away, and it settled into the back of the net, as illustrated by the Huffington Post:

Another lasting image from the game was Lloyd handing the captain's armband over to Abby Wambach after the 35-year-old entered in the 79th minute. Wambach tried so hard to win a Women's World Cup in the past, and she ended her national team career on a high note, if this was in fact her last match.

The importance of the armband swap wasn't lost on Landon Donovan:

All in all, Lloyd's hat trick will enter the pantheon of all-time great moments in American sports history. An entire generation of female soccer players will strive to match her legacy, as this tweet from Bill Simmons will attest:

Lloyd also caught the attention of President Barack Obama:

ESPN's J.A. Adande joked that Lloyd should have her own White House aspirations after the final:

United States supporters won't soon forget Lloyd's contributions. Getting a hat trick by itself is impressive enough. To accomplish it in the first 16 minutes of a game is nearly impossible.

Hopefully she'll carry that form over to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil, where the Americans will enter as defending gold medalists.