Julie Ertz is making her return to the National Women’s Soccer League with Angel City. Ertz last played in NWSL in 2021, when she made just one appearance with the Chicago Red Stars. Before then, she made 94 appearance with Chicago over a six-season spell.

Ertz only made her return to competitive play in the pair of friendlies against Ireland for the USWNT. The national team did win both games, and Ertz tallied around 80 minutes of game time in her substitute appearances. It was the first in-game action for Ertz in 19 months, as the midfielder rallied back from an MCL injury suffered at the beginning of the 2021 NWSL season. Ertz gave birth to her first child in August 2022, which ruled her out for time, as well.

According to The Equalizer, Angel City beat out multiple other clubs to sign Ertz for the 2023 campaign. However, it was Angel City that last held her rights. In the 2022 season, Chicago traded Ertz’s rights to Angel City. However, due to the knee injury and the pregnancy, Ertz never officially signed with the California club. Now, though, Ertz is back in NWSL, and a future event could explain the timing for her return.

Julie Ertz joins Angel City on eve of Women’s World Cup

The 2023 Women’s World Cup is just around the corner. Kickoff for the tournament in Australia and New Zealand in July 20. Therefore, it is just three months before the USWNT looks to defend its back-to-back triumphs. Julie Ertz started all but one game in both of those tournament wins. With her experience and impact on the field, it is simply a matter of form and fitness for her inclusion in the final squad.

Vlatko Andonovski, the head coach of the USWNT, repeatedly said Ertz is a difficult player to replace, and he welcomed her return to the lineup in the pair of friendlies against Ireland. She already has a strong case to be in the squad

“There’s so many dynamics, and when we’re making these decisions, everything will be taken into consideration,” Andonovski said. “What is someone’s best and what is someone’s 80% or 90%? If somebody’s 80 or 90% is still better than somebody else’s best, then too bad. Anyone that will help us win the World Cup will be taken to the World Cup.”

At the club level, Julie Ertz is a major grab for Angel City. Even though the season is young, Angel City has a win, a draw and a loss in its three games. Ertz can fill a hole in the defensive midfield. The official announcement for Ertz’s arrival in Los Angeles with Angel City is expected in the coming days.

PHOTO: IMAGO / Icon Sportswire