“It was a battle, all the way to the last second,” Julie Ertz, 27, said when speaking to Fox Sports following the United States Women’s National Team’s win over Spain on June 24. It was a hard-fought victory that was a more physical game that many observers expected, which has a few fans wondering about Julie’s status. She sat out the US’s final match in the group round with a hip contusion, but she came back in time to help the US go 2-1 over Spain. The Americans secured a spot in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup quarterfinals, and now, they’re about to face their hardest challenge yet: France.
This collision between the defending champs (USA) and the tournament’s hosts is probably the most anticipated match in the 2019 World Cup, and Julie will be there to do whatever she can to help the USA pull out a win. Before the June 27 showdown takes place — at 3pm ET — here’s what you need to know about Julie.
1. She’s the pride of Mesa, Arizona. Born Julie Beth Johnston in Mesa, Arizona, Julie’s talents for the game emerged early on. She played for the Serena Soccer Club in Phoenix from 2004 to 2010 on the U13 through U19 teams, according to AZ Central. She won the state title nine times with the club and was appointed captain of the team. She played soccer in college while attending Santa Clara University, and as of 2014, she’s been part of the Chicago Red Stars. She’s been with the USWNT since 2013 and was part of the squad that won the Women’s World Cup in 2015.
2. She’s married to a fellow sports star. Julie Johnston became Julie Ertz in 2017 when she married Zach Ertz, 28, a tight end for the Philadelphia Eagles tight end. The two got engaged in 2016 at the same Stanford baseball stadium where they first met, according to ESPN. They tied the knot a year later.
3. When it comes to her body, she doesn’t mess around. “As an athlete, I’m super in tune with my body so I can be prepared to perform at my best at all times,” Julie tells HollywoodLife. “It’s so important to be responsive to what your body is telling you that it needs – but when busy schedules get in the way, it’s easier said than done.”
“When I’m on the road for away games or Foundation events, I make a conscious effort to take 5 minutes to munch on a nutritious snack like almonds when my stomach’s growling or meditate with my favorite wellness app when I’m feeling exhausted. Professional athlete or not, try finding convenient ways to keep yourself fueled, focused and ready to own it,” she adds.
4. She’s learned how to think on her feet, which is good since she makes a living with her feet. “Life will always ask you to change – you just have to step up and change with it,” Julie says to HollywoodLife. “I had been training as a center back for my entire professional career but was asked by my team to begin playing in the midfield. Though it was a significant switch for me, I looked at it as an opportunity to showcase my hard work.”
“Whether you’re making a career move, switching schools or simply adjusting to a new routine, putting a positive spin on the change and looking at it as an opportunity—instead of an obstacle—will allow you to succeed.”
5. Like you, she loves her snacks. “As a professional soccer player, I’m constantly fueling my body with nutritious foods to give me enough energy to own my every day, every day,” says Julie. “I’m a huge fan of portable, healthy snacks like almonds because they’re easy to put in a bag for enjoying on the go. Plus, an ounce of almonds has the protein (6 grams) and fiber (4 grams) my body needs for the day ahead—whether I’m training on the soccer field or reviewing films of my past games.”