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USWNT 2023 World Cup roster: Where is Julie Ertz?

(Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

Injuries and extended absences have taken a toll on the U.S. women’s national team as the reigning world champions prepare for the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

As head coach Vlatko Andonovski continues to evaluate players before naming a final roster next summer, we take a look at recent USWNT mainstays on the outside looking in and where they stand in the run-up to the biggest tournament in women’s soccer. Next up: Julie Ertz.

Position: Midfielder
Total caps: 116
Most recent USWNT appearance: Aug. 5, 2021 vs. Australia (Tokyo Olympics)

What is her track record with the USWNT?

Ertz earned her first USWNT call-up in January 2013, and she made her first appearance the next month in a friendly against Scotland.

By the 2015 World Cup, she had cemented her spot in the lineup as a defender. She was one of five U.S. players to play every minute of all seven matches during the run to the World Cup title.

In 2017, former USWNT coach Jill Ellis shifted Ertz to the midfield, and she thrived there as well, bringing a physical presence up the center of the field. She featured heavily again on the team’s run to a second World Cup championship in 2019.

Ertz played in the Olympics in summer 2021 even after spraining her MCL in the Chicago Red Stars’ NWSL regular-season opener in May.

What is keeping her off the roster?

The 30-year-old gave birth to a baby boy in August.

She and her husband, Arizona Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz, announced the pregnancy in April and welcomed Madden Matthew Ertz to the world on Aug. 11.

Her most recent game for the USWNT came in the bronze-medal match at the Tokyo Games in August 2021, and she hasn’t played in the NWSL since her knee injury to start the 2021 season. The Red Stars traded her to Angel City FC in the offseason, she did not play in 2022 due to her pregnancy.

Still, while she hasn’t been seen in competition in more than a year, she entered the NWSL offseason as a top free agent.

When will she be back?

Ertz has not provided a timetable for her return to the pitch, and the USWNT will not rush her back, Andonovski said ahead of the team’s January friendlies against New Zealand.

“She needs a little bit more time to prepare before she even starts training with a team,” he said. “So we just decided to give her a little more space and time until she’s fully ready to join.”

The coach had offered a similar perspective when speaking of Ertz in late October.

“She’s enjoying motherhood and she’s happy and doing a great job at it,” he said. “We want to give Julie time to get back slowly. We won’t even discuss it. This is time for Julie to enjoy time with her family, and when the time comes, if she is anywhere near her best, this team will welcome her back.”

What other players are missing from the USWNT roster?

The Late Sub Podcast: Can the USWNT Medal?

The USWNT takes a silly face photo during their team Olympic photo shoot
The USWNT will begin their 2024 Olympic medal hunt on Thursday. (Brad Smith/ISI/Getty Images).

This week, JWS podcast host Claire Watkins discusses WNBA All-Star Weekend, which felt both like a celebration of the league's explosive growth over the past year and a way to set Team USA up for a particularly competitive Summer Olympics.

Later, Watkins previews the field for the upcoming Olympic soccer tournament, nominating her personal "Group of Death" and discussing whether or not the new-era USWNT could still reach medal contention despite their current rebuild under new head coach Emma Hayes.

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Team USA, Germany Play Pre-Olympic Exhibition Game in London

Team USA's 5x5 Basketball Team stands for the National Anthem before Saturday's WNBA All-Star Game
Team USA looks to rebound from Saturday's WNBA All-Star Game loss in an exhibition against Germany today. (Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)

USA Basketball's 5x5 team will tip off in an exhibition against Germany in London this afternoon, getting in one last tune-up before the Summer Olympics begin.

The US is hunting an eighth-straight gold medal this year, with group stage play starting on July 29th.

Team USA's Kahleah Copper, Alyssa Thomas, Kelsey Plum, and Sabrina Ionescu gear up to face Germany in pre-Olympic exhibition.
Team USA's Kahleah Copper, Alyssa Thomas, Kelsey Plum, and Sabrina Ionescu gear up to take on Germany in London. (Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)

US to use All-Star loss as fuel

Coming off the weekend's All-Star Game loss, the Olympians are ready to repeat history: They earned their Tokyo gold medal immediately after losing the first Team USA vs. Team WNBA All-Star Game back in 2021.

Breanna Stewart, who led Team USA with a 31-point, 10-rebound double-double on Saturday, said that the defeat "is going to help us tremendously. We don’t get that many game opportunities, [and now] we can go back and watch the film and focus on how we can continue to be better."

Today’s tilt against Germany will see the US work to lock in their defense, particularly in the paint. They'll also lean into their positional versatility before heading to Paris.

WNBA pro Satou Sabally leads Team Germany in today's pre-Olympic exhibition game against Team USA.
WNBA pro Satou Sabally helped Germany to their first-ever Olympic berth. (Axel Heimken/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Olympic debutants Germany enter first US clash

The exhibition marks the first-ever US-Germany linkup. The German team will make their Olympic debut in Paris after decades of failing to qualify for major international competitions. Their sixth-place 2023 EuroBasket finish sent them into February’s FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, where they punched their ticket to the 2024 Games.

Leading Germany's run was two-time WNBA All-Star Satou Sabally, who put up career-high averages in points, rebounds, assists, and steals with Dallas last season. Her 20-point, 11-rebound double-double was the difference-maker in Germany's must-win 73-71 Olympic qualifying victory over Brazil.

Other German players to watch include 2022 NY Liberty draft-pick — and Sabally's sister — Nyara Sabally, along with Liberty sharpshooter Leonie Fiebich.

Where to watch the Team USA vs. Germany game

Today’s exhibition tips off at 3 PM ET with live coverage on FS1.

1v1 With Kelley O’Hara: USWNT Star Jaedyn Shaw Is Expecting “Dubs All Around”

retired uswnt star kelley o'hara interviewing san diego wave and uswnt forward jaedyn shaw
'1v1' is back with Jaedyn Shaw joining Kelley O'Hara for a conversation about the upcoming Paris Olympics. (Just Women's Sports)

In the latest episode of Just Women's Sports' 1v1 With Kelley O'Hara, San Diego Wave and USWNT star Jaedyn Shaw joins two-time World Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist Kelley O'Hara for a one-on-one conversation about the upcoming Paris Olympics.

We hear from the 19-year-old Wave FC phenom about her first impressions of new USWNT coach Emma Hayes, her experience with international competition at this point in her young career, and how she's preparing to take on the 2024 Summer Games.

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The 91st: Complete USWNT & Olympic Soccer Preview Featuring Jess McDonald

Logo for JWS USWNT Olympic show The 91st
The latest season of JWS' awarding-winning Olympics show 'The 91st' premieres today. (Just Women's Sports)

We're back! Hosts Jordan Angeli, Duda Pavao, and retired USWNT forward Jess McDonald deliver a full preview of this year's Olympic soccer tournament in Paris.

Watch for full analysis of USWNT manager Emma Hayes's coaching style, this team's shifting identity in this new USWNT era, and a projected starting XI for the team's group stage opener against Zambia. The 91st hosts also break down all three Olympic groups — including top players and teams to track throughout the tournament — plus give their predictions for the medal rounds and individual awards.

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