Women’s Footballer of the Year contender Julie Ertz

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We are profiling each of the five nominees for the BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year 2020 award. You can vote for your winner on the BBC Sport website until Monday, 2 March at 09:00 GMT. The result will be revealed on Tuesday, 24 March on BBC World Service.

Age: 27 Position: Midfielder Plays for: Chicago Red Stars and USA

Achievements in 2019

  • Won World Cup for second time
  • US Soccer Female Player of the Year
  • Reached NWSL play-off final with Chicago Red Stars

Did you know?

  • Started career as a defender but moved to midfield in 2017
  • Married to NFL player Zach Ertz, who won the 2018 Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles
  • Was second youngest player in the USA’s 2015 World Cup-winning squad

In her own words

Biggest memory of World Cup win?

“The whistle blowing! You kind of black out a bit as I was so much in the moment, that I was waiting for us to score – ‘we got this, we’re in this’. So once we got the first goal then I was looking at everyone’s face, the same facial expression as 2015, be calm collected. I could probably recite every play to you, I’ve watched it so many times – but the memory is my team-mates’ faces.”

Career breakthrough moment?

“Right after the Olympics, like through the 2017 season, being benched was a hard time for me to figure out where I was in my career. Having the opportunity to be put in the midfield was new at that level and also at a time when I needed a new challenge and a shift in mindset. My team helped me feel comfortable. I felt like I could be myself and my perspective changed. You become more grateful for every game and opportunity.”

Proudest career moment?

“My wedding day – you can be proud of being married! The best day of my life for sure. Throughout an entire year you have ebbs and flows but I’ve been proud of myself so far to overcome small obstacles and being grateful for the moment that presents to you.”

Life as a super-sport couple?

“I don’t know any different. I’m grateful for it – he challenges me and he gets it. Just having his support and understanding, he knows when to listen and have some tough love. I couldn’t be more grateful. He jokes I’m ahead of him in World Cup wins, as he’s got one Super Bowl. When we met Zac was really shy, so he wouldn’t talk to me. He threw sunflower seeds at me to get my attention! Now he talks all the time!”

When were you star struck?

“I was pretty star struck at the Best Fifa awards this past year. Being in the States I don’t get to see world-class soccer players all the time. When the women went down from the stage, the men went up and just being in the presence of players I’ve looked up to, to learn their craft and better myself… I didn’t say anything but it was an honour to be in the same room as them.”

Who would play you in a film?

“Crystal Dunn [USA team-mate]. That would be fun. No, I’d pick Blake Lively as she’s adorable and she’s got blond hair and her husband is hysterical.”

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