USWNT’s Julie Ertz announces retirement, two-time World Cup winner concludes 10-year career –

U.S. women’s national team standout Julie Ertz announced her retirement Thursday following a 10-year professional career.

“With immense emotion and processing, I’ve decided it is time to hang up my boots,” she said on social media.

The decision means Ertz will not play again for her NWSL team, Angel City FC. The player attributed the decision to changes in her life over the last few years, specifically living in Arizona and raising a young family with her husband, Arizona Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz.


— Julie Ertz (@julieertz)

“These past six months have been a dream come true. After pregnancy, I never knew if I had the chance to play the beautiful game again, let alone another World Cup,” she added. “I’m crushed not to be able to continue the push to playoffs and that has made my decision incredibly difficult. The logistics of not living in an NWSL market is challenging, and I know the sacrifices it takes to be the best you can be. As I have gotten older and become a mom, it’s clear the sacrifices of time away from my family no longer seem doable with so many factors at play.”

Ertz made her USWNT debut in 2013 and was drafted by the NWSL’s Chicago Red Stars the following year, where she spent most of her club career. She quickly became a mainstay for club and country and was an essential part of the USWNT’s 2015 Women’s World Cup victory, when she played as a center back. She eventually moved into a defensive midfield role and was one of the world’s best in the position and stayed there for the USWNT’s 2019 World Cup triumph.

She was also part of the national team’s 2016 and 2020 Olympics team but spent much of the last three years away from the pitch. She battled a serious knee injury and recovered in time for the pandemic-delayed Olympic Games in Tokyo, where the USWNT won bronze, but did not play for the rest of the year because of the injury.

She then went on maternity leave and gave birth to her son Madden in Aug. 2022 and only returned to play in April of this year. She played seven games for Angel City before competing at her third and final World Cup this summer, where she played all four of the USWNT games as a center back.

Zach Ertz reflected on his wife’s journey back to the field last month and said they had “a lot of heartfelt conversations” that ended with her in tears, per ESPN. “I didn’t want her to look back in five, 10 years like, ‘Man, if only I could’ve seen if I could’ve done it,'” he said. “She didn’t know if she could do it, but at least exhaust the option. And, so, we had a lot of discussions and I just kind of pushed her. I said, ‘Hey, you need to exhaust this. Give it all you can, and if it works, great. If it doesn’t, at least you know.’ And obviously it has.”

Her last match was on Aug. 6 in Melbourne, Australia, when the USWNT were eliminated from the World Cup by Sweden on penalty kicks in the round of 16. After the match, Ertz teased her retirement in an interview with Fox Sports.

“It’s an honor to represent this team, and I’m excited for the future of these girls.” 🇺🇸❤️

Julie Ertz spoke of the honor it was to play for the @USWNT and her excitement for the future of the team after her final game in the FIFA Women’s World Cup ⬇️

— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer)

“For me, it’s just emotional because it’s probably my last game ever being able to have the honor to wear this crest,” she said about her reaction to the defeat. “It’s an honor to represent this team and I’m excited for the future of the girls.”

Ertz’s announcement marks the second high-profile retirement following the USWNT’s World Cup campaign. Megan Rapinoe announced her retirement before the tournament began and will play her last match for the USWNT on Sept. 24 against South Africa in Chicago. Rapinoe will finish out the NWSL season with OL Reign, who are expected to make the playoffs.

This content was originally published here.

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