In an unexpected twist, Julie Ertz was named on the 26-player roster for the United States women’s national team’s pair of friendly games vs. Ireland in early April. If Ertz appears in either game, it will be her first appearance for club or country since the bronze medal match in the Tokyo Olympics on Aug. 5, 2021.
Ertz has been away from the game for over a year and a half due to injuries and the birth of her child, Madden, in August 2022.
"It's very exciting to be back with the team again and I'm grateful to have this opportunity," Ertz said in a statement. "I have to work out details in regards to my club situation, but I am very thankful to Zach, my family, and U.S. Soccer for the amazing support they have provided to get me back to this point.
"I've been training hard, excited to see where I'm at physically and getting better each day. I am going into this camp the same way I always have, to compete with the best women in the world."
The 30-year-old midfielder isn’t currently on any club team but has been doing enough training on her own to earn herself a spot on head coach Vlatko Andonovski’s latest roster. Ertz was last with Angel City but is now a free agent.
Andonovski told the media that Ertz is, “in negotiations with a team or teams.”
Here's the rest of the USWNT roster that will face Ireland.
Latest USWNT April roster
The final prep for Australia-New Zealand begins pic.twitter.com/zT5OeqvCoL— U.S. Women's National Soccer Team (@USWNT) March 28, 2023
Returning faces seemed to be the theme of this April roster.
Reigning NWSL MVP Sophia Smith is back after missing the last two international windows with an injury. Kelley O’Hara could play her first game with the USWNT since July 11, Tierna Davidson is looking for her first taste of game action since a torn ACL in March 2022 and Casey Krueger returns for the first time since October 2021.
Krueger gave birth to her first child in July 2022.
Three big names that have been absent from USWNT rosters for some time now due to injuries are Catarina Macario, Christen Press and Tobin Heath. Andonovski said that Macario is the closest to returning and should be playing by next month.
Megan Rapinoe is recovering from a calf injury and wasn’t named for the two friendlies.
The USWNT’s two games against Ireland will be played in a little over a week. The first game is on April 8 at Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas, and the second will be a historic game at the new CITYPARK in St. Louis, Missouri.
Ireland will enjoy the challenge of the USWNT as the Irish women will compete in their first World Cup this summer.