Julie Ertz was named the 2019 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year on Friday, beating out a slew of tough competition on her USWNT squad as well as her goalkeeper with the Chicago Red Stars.
She earned 42 percent of the vote, per ESPN, to win out over teammates Rose Lavelle, Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Alyssa Naeher and Megan Rapinoe, who is accruing awards this month.
It’s the second U.S. Soccer player of the year award for Ertz, who also won it in 2017. The two-time World Cup champion is the 10th player to win multiple times, dating to 1985, and the first to do so as well as win the U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year. She won in 2012 while leading the U-20 team to the World Cup title.
"It's been a whirlwind of a year and one that I'm extremely grateful for," Ertz said in a statement. "My team lifted me up in so many ways and our experiences on and off the field in 2019 just encapsulate the love I have for the national team and for wearing this crest and what it represents."
Ertz, a 27-year-old midfielder, played a more defensive role in 2015 and was moved up to contribute on the attack as well and lead the transition. She scored her first World Cup goal in a group stage game against Chili this summer and has 20 career goals with the national team in 95 appearances. Her 22 matches started for the U.S. this year is a team-high, with 474 minutes coming in the six-game tournament. The defense conceded a stunning three lone goals during the entire World Cup run.
"Julie was such a critical part of our success this summer," former U.S. coach Jill Ellis, who led the team to back-to-back World Cup titles, said via the Associated Press. "It's wonderful that she's being recognized in this way. She's always a consummate professional regardless of the environment. Whether it's in training, National Team games or in the NWSL, she always brings a level of professionalism, effort and talent."
The award is given for contributions to country and club. After returning from France, Ertz started 14 games at midfielder and center back for the Chicago Red Stars. They finished second in league standings and lost to the powerhouse North Carolina Courage in the title game.
Votes are from national team coaches, players who earned caps in the given year, members of the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors, the athletes’ council, NWSL coaches, a few media members, former players and administrators and select college coaches.
Ertz and all of her teammates will have another shot at end-of-the-year awards with the 2020 Olympics coming up from Tokyo. Rapinoe and Morgan led the scoring for the USWNT at the World Cup, with Lavelle producing a breakout summer. She is poised for more success in 2020.
Lloyd, in what are likely her final matches with the national team if she continues, showed she still can play at a high level, and Naeher was a wall in goal, for both the USWNT and Red Stars.
The USWNT was named the Time Magazine 2019 Athlete of the Year. Rapinoe, who won the Ballon d’Or for world’s best player, was awarded the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year award earlier this week.
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