Two-time World Cup champion Julie Ertz retires from professional soccer

Two-time World Cup champion Julie Ertz retired from professional soccer with an announcement on social media on Thursday.

"With immense emotion and processing, I've decided it is time to hang up the boots," the U.S. women's national team icon and longtime NWSL defender posted on social media.

Ertz, 31, had hinted at this decision following the Americans' early exit at the FIFA Women's World Cup earlier this month.

Part of the team that lifted the trophy in 2015 and 2019, Ertz rejoined the USWNT after giving birth to her first child, son Madden, last August.

Ertz, who is married to Arizona Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz, said she wants to spend more time with her family.

"I know the sacrifices it takes to be the best you can be," she said. "As I have gotten older and become a mom, it's clear the sacrifices of time away from my family no longer seem doable with so many factors at play."

Julie Ertz Retires – What The Soccer World Had To Say

Ertz signed with Angel City FC of the NWSL in April. She played seven seasons with the league's Chicago Red Stars, who drafted her with the third overall pick in 2014.

"As a former player that went through my own retirement process, I have an intimate understanding of what Julie is going through," Angel City general manager Angela Hucles Mangano said. "She has given her life to the sport of soccer, and now she has made the difficult decision to leave the game to focus on her family. We fully support her in this choice and recognize how complex these life decisions can be. She will always be a part of this club, in addition to having made an indelible mark on global soccer. We wish her only happiness in the future."

Ertz played in the 2016 Rio Olympics and won a bronze medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She scored 10 goals over 122 international appearances and was named the U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year in 2017 and 2019.

"Representing this country on the National Team has been the greatest honor," Ertz said. "To play for the USWNT means you chase greatness every day while you wear the crest. I hope that I was able to leave an impact that reflects that."

Ertz thanked her teammates, coaches, fans and family for their support.

"Finally, to the game of soccer," she concluded. "You have shaped every part of who I am. My relationship with my faith, my character, friendships, travel, college, heck, just my daily routine. It's a sad thing to reflect and know the game just moves on without you. The game doesn't owe you anything but it has given me so much. What a truly beautiful game it is. I'm just grateful for the time we had."

Ertz's retirement is the second significant departure for the USWNT this year.

Megan Rapinoe, 38, will make her final appearance for the Stars & Stripes in a Sept. 24 friendly against South Africa at Chicago's Soldier Field. Her final regular-season game with the NWSL's OL Reign is Oct. 6 against the Washington Spirit in Seattle.

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