Julie Ertz Is The Sergio Ramos Of Women’s Soccer

The defender can’t stop scoring for the USWNT.

Julie Ertz did it again Sunday. The USWNT defender scored in a 6-0 rout of South Korea, her fifth goal of 2017. She’s now tied with Alex Morgan for most goals scored for Team USA this year. Julie Ertz’s goal-scoring ability makes her the Sergio Ramos of women’s football. 

Ertz headed in the United States’ fourth goal of the first half for her 13th goal in international play, most among active American defenders. It was her second goal in four days and fourth in her last four national-team appearances.

Goal scoring isn’t typically a defender’s primary task but Ramos and Ertz both excel at both preventing the other team from scoring and putting the ball in the back of the net at the other end.

Ramos is probably the best goal-scoring defender in the men’s game today. He scored 10 goals last season with Real Madrid, including seven in La Liga, the same return as Gareth Bale. This season, Ramos already has one Champions League goal and one World Cup qualifying goal for Spain.

Ertz may be the best goal-scoring defender in the women’s game right now. In the most recent NWSL season with the Chicago Red Stars, no defender scored more than her four goals, although Ertz did spend time at defensive midfield, where she has also played with the USWNT at times. 

 

All but one of Ertz’s 13 goals for the USWNT have come off corners or set pieces. She’s brilliant with her head, whether it’s leaping over defenders like her goal Sunday or this well-directed diving header from Thursday’s 3-1 victory over South Korea.

However, she doesn’t do it all with her noggin. In the Tournament of Nations against Brazil in July, Ertz celebrated her 50th cap (she now has 55) by kicking in the game winner in a 4-3 thriller. 

 

The 2014 NWSL Rookie of the Year keeps getting better. She’s versatile (she played midfield in college at Santa Clara), can score with her head or feet and has both the strength and speed to keep up with anyone on the pitch, including her husband, Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz. 

Ertz has a long way to go to catch Ramos’ 62 career goals and if her shift to defensive midfield becomes permanent with club and country the comparison could end there. But for now, Ertz is a beast in the box and anyone who faces her better make her a focal point of the defense on set pieces. 

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