The decorated midfielder/defender will get a “farewell game” from the USWNT when it hosts South Africa in a friendly on Sept. 21 in Cincinnati, the federation announced Thursday. The match will be the first of a two-game friendly series, as the USWNT will bid adieu to Megan Rapinoe, who won’t play in Cincinnati, in the second match three days later in Chicago.
Ertz, 31, announced her retirement from soccer on Aug. 31 after indicating that she’d likely hang the cleats up following the United States’ round of 16 exit at the 2023 Women’s World Cup, citing difficulties of balancing her life as a mother with trying to play soccer as one of the reasons for retirement. It wasn’t clear at the time if Ertz would play one final match with the national team as she said farewell to her NWSL team Angel City FC.
“I expected to just walk away after retirement, but to have the opportunity to say goodbye to my teammates and the fans one last time is something special that many players dream of,” Ertz said in a statement Thursday. “I wasn’t expecting this honor so I’m very thankful to [interim head coach] Twila [Kilgore] and to U.S. Soccer for giving me the chance to close this chapter of my life with those who have made this journey so memorable.”
Ertz, who made her USWNT debut in 2013, retires as one of the most accomplished players in the federation’s history. She was an integral part of the United States’ back-to-back Women’s World Cup wins in 2015 and 2019, scoring a goal in the latter tournament, one of the 20 goals she scored in her international career. She won the U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year award twice, first winning it in 2017 and again in 2019.
Following the COVID-delayed 2020 Olympics played in the summer of 2021, Ertz didn’t play soccer professionally or internationally for nearly two years as she battled an injury before giving birth to her son in August 2022. She returned to the United States national team for a friendly in April and made her debut with Angel City later that month.
Even though she was away from the game for as long as she was, Ertz was viewed by many as one of the top players for the USWNT during the 2023 World Cup as her position flexibility helped the squad give up just one goal over four games.
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