Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Longtime United States Women's National Team midfielder/defender Julie Ertz decided to "hang up the boots," ending her legendary soccer career, she announced Thursday on social media.
"As I have gotten older and become a mom, it's clear the sacrifices of time away from my family no longer seem doable with so many factors at play," said Ertz, 31.
She and her husband, NFL tight end Zach Ertz, welcomed a son, Madden Matthew, in August 2022.
The two-time World Cup champion said she made the move after "immense emotion and processing."
"My gratitude to all my teammates and coaches over the years can't be put into words," Ertz wrote on Instagram and Twitter. "The highs and lows as an athlete are only doable with those teammates who push you to be better everyday and lift you up when needed.
"From club, Santa Clara, youth teams, NWSL and USWNT, every single teammate I ever had: Thank you."
Ertz, 31, made her senior team international debut in 2013. She appeared in 122 games for the Americans. The Mesa, Ariz., native, married NFL star Zach Ertz in 2016. Ertz said she didn't know if she would play soccer again after her son's birth.
"These girls [teammates] gave me a gift I could never repay and I got to live out a dream I wish for everyone: falling in love with a sport you have played your whole life and getting to share it with your son."
Ertz started all four games for the Americans at the 2023 Women's World Cup. She also appeared in eight games this season for Angel City FC of the National Women's Soccer League. She said she was "crushed" to not be able to stay with Angel City for a playoff run.
"To the fans, you have made this journey remarkable, life-changing and so fun," Ertz said. "When playing at the highest level you never truly think about retiring, and often that choice is forced upon you.
"However. it truly is a blessing to walk away from this game knowing I've given everything I possibly had to being the best player I could be.
"I know I am going to miss this game that I (we) love dearly. Thank you for showing up, for buying our jerseys and making the atmosphere unbelievable."
Ertz also thanked her family for support and said she is excited for the "next phase of life."
"Finally, to the game of soccer, you have shaped every part of who I am," Ertz said. "My relationship with my faith, my character, friendships travel, college, heck, just my daily routine.
"It's a sad thing to reflect and know the game just moves on without you. The game doesn't owe you anything, but it has given me so much. What a truly beautiful game it is. I'm just grateful for the time we had."