After enjoying the whirlwind of the Eagles’ Super Bowl run, Julie Ertz is back to doing what she does best: play soccer.
But even amid the celebrations after the triumph — indeed, even while in Minneapolis to root for Zach and make countless media appearances — she didn’t stop training.
“That was first and foremost,” Ertz told the Inquirer and Daily News. “It ended up working so perfectly, just to be able to be there and support him and still be able to make sure I’m doing that everything I need to do for my team, and making sure the coaches are happy.”
Ertz used national team connections to find the kinds of top-class facilities she needed to work out at a high level. Though of course, being in Minnesota posed some unique challenges.
“It was really cold to run outside, so luckily we had everything inside,” she said.
She’s now in the much more pleasant climate of Orlando as the U.S. national team prepares for the upcoming SheBelieves Cup tournament.
The Americans will play fellow world powers England, France and Germany over the span of a week beginning next Thursday.
Germany, ranked No. 2 in the world, is up first on Thursday in Columbus, Ohio. That’s followed by No. 6 France on Sunday at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., and No. 3 England in Orlando on March 7.
It’s always a big deal, but it’s an especially big deal with World Cup qualifying coming up later this year. Everything the U.S. team does is oriented towards that, and next year’s big stage in France.
The Americans will be missing some key players at the tournament due to injury: winger Tobin Heath, playmaker Rose Lavelle, central midfielder Sam Mewis and defender and co-captain Becky Sauerbrunn.
Mewis’ absence will have a particular impact on Ertz, as the two women have formed a dynamic partnership in central midfield.
“I’ve played with Sam since the youth days, and I thoroughly love playing with her,” Ertz said. “We know that she’s doing everything she needs to do to get back, and will pick up when she gets back to camp right where she left off before she got injured.”
After the SheBelieves Cup ends, Ertz will report to preseason training with her club team, the National Women’s Soccer League’s Chicago Red Stars. That will take her out of Philadelphia for the summer, and as such, away from Zach for a while. But he’ll be visiting her, and Julie said Zach is likely to come to a few Red Stars games.
Julie’s closest game to Philadelphia will be on July 7, when the Red Stars visit New Jersey’s Sky Blue FC at Rutgers’ soccer facility in Piscataway.
“He’s extremely supportive of my career, as I am with his, and we make it work,” Julie said. “We go back to our calendar, and there’s always a thousand things in our calendar, but we make it work and we find time.”
SheBelieves Cup Schedule
(All times are Eastern.)
Thursday, March 1
At MAPFRE Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
4 p.m.: England vs. France (ESPN3.com)
7 p.m.: United States vs. Germany (ESPN2)
Sunday, March 4
At Red Bull Arena, Harrison, N.J.
12 p.m.: United States vs. France (ESPN2)
3 p.m.: Germany vs. England (ESPN3.com)
Wednesday, March 7
At Orlando City Stadium, Orlando, Fla.
4 p.m.: France vs. Germany (ESPN3.com)
7 p.m.: United States vs. England (ESPNews)
United States roster
Goalkeepers (3): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)
Defenders (8): Abby Dahlkemper (North Carolina Courage), Tierna Davidson (Stanford University), Sofia Huerta (Chicago Red Stars), Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars), Taylor Smith (Washington Spirit), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns)
Midfielders (7): Morgan Brian (Olympique Lyon, France), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC), Allie Long (Seattle Reign), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit)
Forwards (8): Crystal Dunn (North Carolina Courage), Savannah McCaskill (Sky Blue FC), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Houston Dash), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage)
Opposing players to watch
England: Jill Scott
The Manchester City midfielder is the heart of the Lionesses’ engine room, with 18 goals in 121 games over a 12-year career. She can do a lot to help new national team coach Phil Neville make a good first impression in his first games in charge. He’s already in a hole, as the former Manchester United star was given the job despite having no coaching experience of any consequence. Click here for the full England roster.
France: Amandine Henry
She’s a familiar name to American fans, having helped the Portland Thorns win last year’s NWSL title. She’s also a star for Les Bleues, having anchored their midfield at the 2015 World Cup and 2015 European Championship. Her leadership will be even more important at this tournament, as towering defender Wendie Renard is out injured. Click here for the full France roster.
Germany: Dzsenifer Marozsán
The playmaker is club teammates with Henry — and the U.S.’ Morgan Brian — at France’s Lyon, widely considered to be the world’s best women’s club team. She has won the Champions League twice, and scored in the 2016 Olympics final to help Germany win gold. That was one of her 32 goals in 81 games for the national team. Click here for the full Germany roster.