Julie Ertz, one of the greatest competitors in U.S. Women’s National Team history and one of a select group of players to win FIFA World Cups at the youth and senior levels, has officially announced her retirement from professional soccer.
Ertz played a major part in helping the USA win back-to-back FIFA 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 off the field for 18 months following the Olympics in 2021 due to injuries and the birth of her son but made a comeback to play in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. She was stellar in New Zealand and Australia, playing every minute of all four matches while marshaling a U.S. defense that allowed just two shots on goal over the four games.
“As an athlete you’re always singularly focused on the next goal, the next tournament and rarely do you get time to reflect on your career,” said Ertz. “However, over the past couple of months my heart has been filled with gratitude as I’ve thought about the amazing experiences soccer has given me. I’ve been blessed to meet and train with some of the best and most inspirational women I’ve ever been around, and I’ve experienced different cultures while traveling the world to compete at the highest level. I gave everything I had to the sport that I love. With that I can walk away with no regrets because while I gave soccer every ounce of myself, soccer gave me even more, and for that I’ll always be thankful.”
Ertz is a two-time U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year (2017 and 2019) and is one of just five players to win both the U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year (which she won in 2012) and the senior team award. She is the only player to win the U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year and then win the U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year twice.
A two-time Olympian, Ertz came back from a serious knee injury to play in the delayed 2020 Olympics in Japan, gutting out a performance that saw her start five of the six games and play the second-most minutes on the team while helping the USA capture bronze.
Ertz took some time off the field after the Olympics, and then announced her pregnancy in April of 2022. She gave birth to her son, Madden, on Aug. 11, 2022. The 31-year-old debuted for the USWNT in 2013 and her U.S. National Team career spanned 10 years. In her 122 caps, the USA had a record of 100W-17D-5L. Ertz played in 17 World Cup matches, all of which were starts, in which the USA amassed 13 wins and four draws while keeping 11 clean sheets.
She spent most of her club career playing for the Chicago Red Stars from 2014-2021 and then returned to the NWSL earlier this season with Angel City FC. Ertz is a native of Phoenix, Arizona, but became a local celebrity during her husband Zach Ertz’s time playing with the Philadelphia Eagles (2013-2021). Ertz, who is now with the Arizona Cardinals, caught the game-winning touchdown pass in Super Bowl LII.
Julie Ertz was a member of the successful Philadelphia 2026 FIFA World Cup bid committee.
Photo Credit: Morgan Tencza