USWNT star Julie Ertz bids emotional goodbye to soccer with 3-0 win over South Africa in her final match: ‘To any young girl that dreams to be here…it’s worth it – every part of it’
- Julie Ertz played her last game for the United States on Thursday evening
- Two-time World Cup winner wore the captain’s armband for the 123rd appearance
- DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news
Two-time World Cup winner Julie Ertz played her last game for the United States – an emotional 3-0 win over South Africa – in an exhibition match on Thursday evening.
Ertz – who is married to NFL star Zach of the Arizona Cardinals – announced last month that she is retiring after a 10-year career. She started against South Africa and wore the captain’s armband for her 123rd appearance for the United States.
Lynn Williams scored twice as the US scored in the first half. Ertz was subbed off in the 35th minute to a standing ovation from the crowd at TQL Stadium, shortly after Trinity Rodman made it 2-0.
The teams will play again on Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago. That match will be the last for Megan Rapinoe, who is also retiring.
“Thank you very much to the fans for coming tonight, this is obviously a monumental match for me,” said an emotional Ertz on the pitch.
Two-time World Cup winner Julie Ertz played her last match for the United States on Thursday
The 31-year-old announced last month that she is retiring after a ten-year career in football
Ertz was subbed off in the 35th minute to a standing ovation from the crowd at TQL Stadium
“I am beyond grateful to have been able to represent this weapon for as long as I have. I would like to thank my teammates for the great victory tonight. For every young girl who dreams here, it is worth it. Every part of it.
“I’ve loved every part of this journey I’ve had and you guys are a big part of that. God has been so good. I’m so blessed to be here and to have one last game for this final chapter. I love this sport so much – as we all do – and I am grateful to be part of the American Soccer family.”
The 31-year-old then performed a mic drop.
It was the first match for the United States since exiting the Women’s World Cup in the round of 16 this summer. The Americans were eliminated by Sweden via penalties, the first elimination in football’s top tournament.
The 31-year-old Ertz had already hinted that she would retire after the loss to Sweden, tearfully telling reporters that it was likely her last match wearing the team logo. She made it official in August.
She said before Thursday’s game that being able to spend time with her son and husband, a tight end for the Arizona Cardinals, was “irreplaceable.” And she was grateful that she could walk away on her own terms.
“I am extremely grateful to have been able to represent this weapon for as long as I have,” Ertz said after the match
The 31-year-old wore the captain’s armband in her 123rd appearance for the United States
“I feel like I could take a step back and say, ‘It’s not because Mom can’t play. Mommy can play. She just changed priorities,” Ertz said. “And I think that comes with age and I feel like I’ve been so blessed to have the career that I’ve had.”
It was uncertain whether Ertz would return to football before she was named to the World Cup squad. The two-time U.S. Player of the Year suffered a knee injury before helping the U.S. win bronze at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo before taking time off last year for the birth of her son.
But she played a few friendlies against Ireland in April and signed for Angel City in the National Women’s Soccer League, working her way back into form.
Known for her versatility, Ertz was a center back for the 2015 U.S. World Cup team and a defensive midfielder as the Americans defended their title in 2019.
She ends her career with the national team with 20 goals. She started all 17 World Cup matches.
Ertz scored six goals in 95 games with the Chicago Red Stars of the NWSL from 2014-2021. She played in three games for Angel City this season with one goal.