Back-to-back FIFA World Cup champion and two-time U.S. Soccer Player of the Year Julie Ertz is retiring from the sport, US Soccer announced on Thursday.
“As an athlete, you’re always focused on the next goal, the next tournament, and you rarely have time to think about your career,” Ertz said. “However, over the past few months my heart has been filled with gratitude as I thought of the incredible experiences football has given me.”
Ertz, 31, played as a central defender in the 2015 World Cup and as a central midfielder in the 2019 Cup.
She is the only player to win the Young American Football Player of the Year and American Football Player of the Year twice, in 2017 and 2019.
Ertz, née Johnston, is also a two-time Olympian. She featured in the 2016 matches in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and made a comeback from a knee injury in the pandemic-delayed 2021 matches in Tokyo, in which she started in five of six matches and played the second most minutes in total. Tournament.
After the 2021 Olympics, Ertz took 18 months out of play due to injuries and welcoming a son, but returned to the field at the 2023 World Cup, where she played every minute of four matches.
Ertz was drafted third overall in the National Women’s Soccer League by the Chicago Red Stars in 2014 and won the league’s Rookie of the Year award that year.
Ertz joins teammate Megan Rapinoe in retiring. Former United States women’s national team coach Vlatko Andonovksi resigned earlier this month.
In a farewell message, Ertz thanked his teams and colleagues, his fans and his family.
“Finally, to football. You have shaped every part of who I am,” she says. “My relationship with my faith, my character, my friendships, my travels, my studies, just my daily routine. It’s a sad thing to think about and know that the game goes on without you. The game owes you nothing but it It gave me so much. What a really beautiful game. I’m just grateful for the time we spent.