Megan Rapinoe and Julie Ertz each will suit up for the U.S. women’s national team one last time.
On Tuesday, the USWNT revealed the 27-player roster for its September friendlies against South Africa. Ertz and Rapinoe both feature on the list, and each will receive her own final hurrah — Ertz in the first match in Cincinnati on Sept. 21, Rapinoe in the second match in Chicago on Sept. 24.
Ertz announced her retirement from professional soccer at the end of August, but she is returning to play in one more match for the USWNT before she hangs up her cleats. It will mark Ertz’s 123rd appearance for the national team.
“I expected to just walk away after retirement, but to have the opportunity to say goodbye to my teammates and the fans one last time is something special that many players dream of,” Ertz said in a news release.
Rapinoe announced her impending retirement ahead of the World Cup. While her final USWNT appearance will come at Chicago’s Soldier Field, the OL Reign forward will retire at the end of the 2023 NWSL season.
The USWNT’s September roster mirrors the 2023 World Cup roster, minus Sophia Smith and Kristie Mewis. Smith, the USWNT’s lone 2023 Ballon d’Or nominee, went down with an MCL sprain in late August during an NWSL match. Mewis also is recovering from an injury.
Mia Fishel, who is on the hunt for her first cap with the senior national team, joins the roster after signing with Chelsea this summer. And Jaedyn Shaw, the San Diego Wave’s 18-year-old phenom, received her first nod for the senior national team.
Chicago Red Stars defenders Tierna Davidson and Casey Krueger, Portland Thorns midfielder Sam Coffey and Washington Spirit forward Ashley Hatch return to the roster after missing out on the World Cup.
So far in 2023, the USWNT has a record of 9-0-3 (W-L-D), including the disappointing World Cup run. While the Round of 16 shootout loss to Sweden officially counts as a draw, it stands as the worst World Cup showing in program history and led to head coach Vlatko Andonovski’s resignation. Interim head coach Twila Kilgore will lead the team against South Africa.