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USWNT’s Julie Ertz signs with Angel City in return to NWSL

(John Todd/USSF/Getty Images).

Julie Ertz signed a one-year contract with Angel City FC on Monday, completing her return to the NWSL after a more than two-year absence.

Ertz’s intention to sign with Angel City was originally reported on Sunday night by Jeff Kassouf of The Equalizer. The U.S. women’s national team midfielder could make her regular-season debut with the club as soon as Sunday in a home game against in-state rival San Diego Wave.

“I am so thrilled to be joining one of the most exciting clubs in the world in Angel City FC,” Ertz said in a team release. “From the moment they traded for my rights up until now, they have been unwavering in their support of my journey. I cannot wait to get to work with the team and finally experience the amazing game day atmosphere.”

Ertz last played an NWSL game in May 2021, when she suffered an MCL strain in the Chicago Red Stars’ season opener. The Red Stars traded her rights to Angel City in 2021 for roster protection in that year’s NWSL expansion draft. Ertz then sat out the 2022 NWSL season while pregnant with her first child. She gave birth to son Madden in August 2022 and became a free agent at the end of the season.

Ertz has said her time away only fueled her competitive ambitions.

“I don’t want to go back and be the player that I was, I want to be better,” she told reporters ahead of her USWNT return earlier this month.

Ertz, a two-time World Cup champion, played in both USWNT friendlies vs. Ireland last week, logging 69 total minutes. USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski has emphasized that Ertz needed to sign with a club team in order to be considered for World Cup roster selection. The 31-year-old has made 118 appearances for the USWNT since 2013.

Angel City (1-1-1) sits in seventh place on the NWSL table through the first three games of the regular season. The 2022 NWSL expansion club is seeking its first NWSL playoff appearance this season, and Ertz should give the team an immediate boost as it awaits the returns of Christen Press and Sydney Leroux from injury.

ACFC begins its 2023 Challenge Cup campaign against OL Reign on Wednesday before hosting San Diego on Sunday.