Chicago (August 31, 2023) – Julie Ertz, one of the greatest competitors in the history of the US Women’s National Team and one of a select group of FIFA World Cup-winning players at the youth and senior levels, has officially announced her retirement from professional soccer.
Ertz played a key role in helping the United States win back-to-back Women’s World Cups, bursting onto the international scene in 2015 in Canada as a center back and then as one of the best defensive midfielders in the world in 2019 in France. She was sidelined for 18 months after the 2021 Olympics due to injuries and the birth of her son but returned to play in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. She was a star in New Zealand and Australia, playing every minute of the four games while leading a U.S. defense that allowed just two shots on goal over the four games.
Ertz is a two-time USA Soccer Player of the Year (2017 and 2019) and is one of only five players to have won both the USA Soccer Young Player of the Year award (which she won in 2012) and first-team honors. She is the only player to win the US Soccer Young Player of the Year award and then to win the US Soccer Player of the Year award twice.
“As an athlete, you are always single-mindedly focused on the next goal, the next championship, and you rarely have time to think about your career,” Ertz said. “However, over the past two months, my heart has been filled with gratitude as I think about the amazing experiences soccer has given me. I have had the pleasure of meeting and training with some of the best and most inspiring women ever, and I have experienced different cultures as I travel the world to compete for The highest level. I gave everything I had to the sport I love. And with that I can leave without any regrets, because while I gave every ounce of myself to football, football gave me more, and for that I will always be grateful.
Ertz, a two-time Olympian, returned from a serious knee injury to play in the postponed 2020 Olympics in Japan, and put out a performance that saw her start five of the six games and play the second-most minutes on the team while assisting the team. The United States won the bronze.
Ertz took some time off the field after the Olympics, then announced her pregnancy in April 2022. She gave birth to her son, Madden, on August 11, 2022.
Ertz, 31, made her debut with the USWNT in 2013 and her career with the U.S. national team spanned 10 years. In their 122 international matches, the USA has posted a record 100W-17D-5L. Ertz played in 17 World Cup matches, all of which were starts, and the USA recorded 13 wins and four draws while keeping 11 clean sheets.
In 2012, as a center back, she led the United States to the U-20 Women’s World Cup title in Japan and was awarded the Bronze Ball as third best player of the tournament, a rare honor for a defenseman. Her performance helped her earn the US Soccer Young Player of the Year award.
Over the course of her career, Ertz has developed into a fan favorite thanks to her dynamic style of play characterized by powerful tackling, a dominant aerial presence and scoring an impressive 20 goals – many from set-pieces – while playing at the back or in defensive midfield. Ertz’s 20 goals came against 15 different opponents: three against New Zealand, two against South Korea, Brazil and Colombia, and one each against France, Republic of Ireland, Haiti, Canada, Jamaica, Chile, Mexico, Costa Rica, Spain, Denmark and Japan.
A defender during her first four years on the US national team, she came off the bench against Brazil in the 2017 Championship of Nations to play as a defensive midfielder – a position she has played all season with her professional club and in the past in college and with the US national team. US Youth National Teams – Scored the dramatic winning goal in the 89th minute of a 4-3 win. From there, she started the final seven games of the year at defensive midfield, scoring five more goals, and playing all but 67 minutes of matches. Her six goals roughly equal the total (8) from her first four years in the WNT and she played so well and was so dominant that she was named the 2017 US Soccer Player of the Year.
In the first match of the 2020 SheBelieves Cup against England on March 5, she became the 40th US Women’s National Team player to reach 100 caps.
At club level, Ertz played the majority of her professional career with the Chicago Red Stars, which spanned nearly 100 matches from 2014-2021. The Red Stars chose her as number 3Research and development Overall pick in the 2014 NWSL Draft. She would go on to be named the 2014 NWSL Rookie of the Year. She returned to the NWSL in 2023 with Angel City, playing in seven games prior to the World Cup, all of them starts, scoring one goal . She will not return to Angel City for the remainder of the NWSL season.
Julie Beth Johnston was born in Phoenix, Arizona and raised in Mesa, where she excelled as a youth player for Sereno, winning nine state titles. She first became part of the US National Teams program at the under-14 level. She earned a scholarship to Santa Clara University, where she was a first-team All-American and West Coast Conference Player of the Year as a senior. She was also the WWC’s Freshman of the Year during her rookie campaign. She earned her first cap for the first team in 2013 against Scotland and scored her first goal for the first team in the Algarve Cup in Portugal in 2015 against France.
In 2017, she married Zach Ertz, who currently plays for the Arizona Cardinals and was a Super Bowl champion with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he caught the game-winning touchdown pass in Super Bowl LII.
In 2018, she and Zach established the Ertz Family Foundation with the goal of empowering others by sharing faith, learning through sports, and advancing education to build supportive communities, with the goal of transforming lives through faith, hope, and love. Her work with the organization continues.
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