Julie Ertz Bids Farewell to Soccer in Triumph
Julie Ertz, a two-time World Cup champion, marked the end of her illustrious professional soccer career with a triumphant 3-0 victory for the U.S. team against South Africa during a friendly match in Cincinnati on Thursday. Ertz, a two-time Female Player of the Year, played a pivotal role in securing World Cup victories for the team in both 2015 and 2019. Her farewell was a heartfelt moment, with fans expressing their appreciation by displaying messages of admiration throughout the game.
For Ertz, this farewell represented closure. When asked about the significance of the fans' support after the match, she shared, "Closure. You always want to make an impact in this sport and for this team especially, that's both on and off the field."
Some had hoped that Ertz might reconsider retiring, especially with the Paris Olympics on the horizon, after taking an 18-month break to give birth to her son Madden earlier this year. However, her priorities had shifted. She expressed her excitement about spending time with her young son, saying, "I've got a little boy that I'm excited to spend my time with. Sacrificing time is hard and his face is so cute... but mama can still play!"
Alex Morgan, a striker on the team, hailed Ertz as "one of the most important players" on the squad over the past decade and expressed her happiness for Ertz's decision to retire on her terms.
Julie Ertz, at the age of 31, concludes her international career with 123 caps for the national team. She had a distinguished career in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL), spanning seven seasons with the Chicago Red Stars before joining Angel City FC in Los Angeles earlier this year.
Ertz's retirement coincides with a period of change for the U.S. women's team. They recently played their first match since their disappointing exit in the round of 16 at the Women's World Cup in New Zealand and Australia. The team is currently in search of a new head coach and will bid farewell to another soccer legend, Megan Rapinoe, in an upcoming friendly against South Africa in Chicago.