United States women’s national team standout player Julie Ertz announced her retirement Thursday after a 10-year professional career.
“With immense emotion and processing, I have decided that it is time to hang up my boots,” he said on social media.
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The decision means Ertz will no longer play for his NWSL team, Angel City FC. The player attributed the decision to changes in her life in recent years, specifically living in Arizona and raising a young family with her husband, Arizona Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz.
“These last six months have been a dream come true. After the pregnancy, I never knew if I would ever have the chance to play this beautiful sport again, let alone another World Cup,” he added. “I am devastated to not be able to continue advancing to the playoffs and this has made my decision incredibly difficult. The logistics of not living in a NWSL market are challenging and I know the sacrifices it takes to be the best you can be. . As I have aged and become a mother, it is clear that the sacrifices of spending time away from my family no longer seem feasible with so many factors at play.
Ertz made her USWNT debut in 2013 and was selected by the Chicago Red Stars of the NWSL the following year, where she spent the majority of her career with the club. She quickly became a mainstay of club and country and was a key part of the USWNT winning the 2015 Women’s World Cup when she was playing running back. She eventually moved into the defensive midfield role and was one of the best in the world in that position, staying there until the USWNT’s 2019 World Cup triumph.
He was also on the national team for the 2016 and 2020 Olympics, but has spent much of the last three years off the field. He battled a serious knee injury and recovered in time for the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Olympics, where the USWNT won bronze but did not play for the remainder of the year due to injury.
She then went on maternity leave and gave birth to her son Madden in August 2022 and only returned to play in April of this year. She played seven games for Angel City before competing in her third and final World Cup this summer, where she played in all four USWNT games as a running back.
Zach Ertz reflected on his wife’s return trip to the field last month, saying they had “a lot of candid conversations” that ended with her crying, according to ESPN. “I didn’t want to look back five or 10 years from now and think, ‘Man, if only I could have seen it, if only I could have done this,’” he said. “She didn’t know if she could do that, but at least exhaust the option. And then we had a lot of discussions and I pushed her. I said, ‘Hey, you need to exhaust this. Give it your all.” “It can, and if it works, great. If it doesn’t work, at least you know. And obviously it works.”
Their last game was on August 6 in Melbourne, Australia, when the USWNT were knocked out of the World Cup by Sweden on penalties in the round of 16. After the game, Ertz mocked his retirement in an interview with Fox Sports.
“For me it’s very emotional because it’s probably the last game in which I’ll have the honor of wearing this shield,” he said of his reaction to the loss. “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 withdrawal following the USWNT’s World Cup campaign. Megan Rapinoe announced her retirement before the start of the tournament and she will play her last game with the USWNT on September 24 against South Africa in Chicago. Rapinoe will end the NWSL season with OL Reign, who is expected to make the playoffs.