Mesa native Julie Ertz named female US soccer player of year

Dec 20, 2017, 4:29 PM

PHOENIX — Mesa native and star Julie Ertz was named the best American female soccer player of the year on Wednesday, U.S. Soccer announced.

In a release, the organization said Ertz — whose last name was Johnston before she got married this year — received more than 51 percent of the votes.

“I want to give a big thanks to everyone who voted,” she said in a release, which she followed with a tweet.

She is the third woman to have been named both the overall player of the year and the young player of the year in her career, but her five-year gap between the awards is the shortest ever.

Ertz made an even bigger splash with the women’s national team this year than she has in the past.

After moving from a center defense role to defensive midfield, she became a force. She scored six goals this year — the second-highest on the team — which was nearly as much as she had in the past four years combined.

One of her goals capped a thrilling comeback 4-3 win over Brazil, one of the best teams in the world.

Ertz played all but 52 minutes of the women’s final seven games of the year.

Since she changed positions, the women’s team has posted a 7-0-1 record.

Wednesday’s recognition was hardly the first of Ertz’s career. She was named one of the best female players in the world last year and one of the top females in the Americas this year.

Oh, and she’s also won a World Cup. She was named player of the match in the team’s tournament victory over Nigeria and appeared on the World Cup all-star squad.

Ertz was born and raised in Mesa. She attended Dobson High School before heading to play college soccer in California.

She plays professionally for the Chicago Red Stars.

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Mesa native Julie Ertz named female US soccer player of year