Julie Ertz wins U.S. Soccer's Female Athlete of 2019 award as she plays 'to glorify Him'

Following a year in which she started a team-high 22 games and helped the U.S. women’s national team win its second straight World Cup title, Julie Ertz on Friday was named U.S. Soccer’s Female Athlete of the Year for 2019. The 27-year-old claims the honor for the second time in her career.

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Ertz becomes the 10th player to collect the award multiple times, and she’s the first player to also have earned U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year honors, which she claimed in 2012. Ertz logged 1,755 minutes for the USWNT this year, third-most on the team, and finishes 2019 with 95 career caps. From her midfield position, she played 474 minutes in six World Cup games this year, winning her second World Cup title with the senior team, which has won the sport’s biggest event a record four times.

“It’s been a whirlwind of a year and one that I’m extremely grateful for,” Ertz said. “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.”

Prior to the World Cup, Ertz appeared on the cover of Sports Spectrum’s Summer 2019 magazine. In the feature story, she discussed how her faith plays into her career.

“There are so many things you can’t control. I try to really be in tune with the Word and continue my growth. When I do, I’m a better athlete on the field. I’ve shifted my perspective so that when I go out, I go out to glorify Him,” she said.

Ertz grew up in a Christian home and knew who Jesus Christ was, but says she didn’t adopt a one-on-one relationship with Him until she left for college at Santa Clara University. As she learned about who she wanted to be as a person, her faith really took off. Her lifestyle changed both on and off the field as she discovered a new purpose and perspective.

“Now I’m playing soccer for a bigger purpose,” she said. “I feel like I was putting a lot of my identity in my sport, but now that I have a greater perspective, I enjoy it so much more.”

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