Julie Ertz retires from USWNT duty after World Cup heartbreak


United States women’s national team defender Julie Ertz announced her retirement from international soccer following Sunday’s heartbreaking defeat to Sweden in the Women’s World Cup round of 16.

Ertz was part of a USWNT defense that recorded its third shutout of the tournament, and while the Americans dominated the 0-0 match for long stretches, they fell 5-4 on penalties, marking their earliest exit from a Women’s World Cup in the team’s history. Afterward, Ertz indicated the match would be her last for the U.S.

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“Unfortunately this is my last time in this crest,” she told ESPN’s Alexis Nunes in a postmatch interview.

Ertz made a sensational comeback to professional soccer earlier this year after giving birth to her son, Madden, last August. She first suited up for the U.S. in a pair of friendlies against Ireland back in April, and shortly thereafter signed with NWSL side Angel City. She then made enough progress to be named to the U.S. World Cup roster in June.

Initially, it was expected that Ertz would play as a holding midfielder. But when U.S. captain Becky Sauerbrunn sustained a foot injury that kept her out of the World Cup, manager Vlatko Andonovski moved Ertz to center-back, a role she filled during the U.S. team’s run to the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

Ertz went on to strike up a hugely effective partnership alongside Naomi Girma, with the U.S. conceding just one goal in four matches. She lauded the growth of the team’s young players, a group that includes Girma.

“The future is in absolutely great hands,” Ertz added. “You know, sometimes you learn the most from your failures, which sucks. But it’s part of my career as well.”

Ertz then fought back tears, as she indicated she wouldn’t be playing for the U.S. again, and added, “I’m so excited for [the USWNT] in the future.”

Barring a change of heart, Ertz will finish her international career with 122 appearances for the U.S., scoring 20 goals. Ertz was part of two World Cup-winning sides in 2015 and 2019.


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