Julie Ertz has been named to the U.S. roster for a pair of upcoming matches against Ireland after taking time off for the birth of her son.
Ertz has not played for the United States since the bronze medal-winning victory over Australia at the Tokyo Olympics. She and husband Zach Ertz, who plays for the NFL's Arizona Cardinals, welcomed son Madden last August.
Ertz was among 26 players named to the roster announced Tuesday by coach Vlatko Andonovski.
The United States first plays Ireland on April 7 in Austin, Texas, before the second match on April 11 in St. Louis. They are the last international games for the United States before Andonovski selects a 23-player roster for the World Cup this summer in Australia and New Zealand.
Also returning is defender Casey Krueger, who plays for the Chicago Red Stars. She took time off for the birth of her son last July. Kelley O'Hara, who hasn't played since last year's World Cup qualifiers, is also back with the team.
Ertz, 30, was on the U.S. teams that won World Cups in 2015 and 2019 and is the only player on the roster who is not currently playing for a professional club. She is currently negotiating with teams, Andonovski said.
"It’s very exciting to be back with the team again and I’m grateful to have this opportunity. I have to work out details in regards to my club situation, but I am very thankful to Zach, my family, and U.S. Soccer for the amazing support they have provided to get me back to this point," Ertz said in a statement. "I’ve been training hard, excited to see where I’m at physically and getting better each day. I am going into this camp the same way I always have, to compete with the best women in the world.”
Andonovski said Ertz has been training with an MLS Academy boys team as well as personal coaches.
“She’s committed to the game, she’s committed to this team, and when I say committed, I mean fully committed in every aspect of it," Andonovski said during a conference call with reporters. "She’s ready physically, she’s ready mentally, she’s excited to be back in the environment and most importantly, she feels confident that she can help this team win another title — and for me, that’s what matters most.”
Missing from the roster was veteran Megan Rapinoe, who has a calf injury.
The roster by position with club affiliation:
Goalkeepers: Adrianna Franch (Kansas City Current), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars).
Defenders: Alana Cook (OL Reign), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars), Emily Fox (North Carolina Courage), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Casey Krueger (Chicago Red Stars), Kelley O’Hara (NJ/NY Gotham), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns), Emily Sonnett (OL Reign).
Midfielders: Julie Ertz (free agent), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon), Taylor Kornieck (San Diego Wave), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit).
Forwards: Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC), Mallory Swanson (Chicago Red Stars), Lynn Williams (NJ/NY Gotham).
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