Women’s World Cup 2019: Julie Ertz has become the USWNT’s most indispensable player

first_imgJulie Ertz is not the biggest star on the United States Women’s National Soccer team. Alex Morgan has her beaten by about 3.25 million Twitter followers. Ertz is not the one who owns the best resume. Carli Lloyd is only three years removed from being named FIFA Best Women’s Player. Ertz is not the most experienced, doesn’t figure to score the most goals and isn’t even playing the same position or going by the same last name as when soccer fans were introduced to her four years ago at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.Julie Ertz is the name Americans will need to know in 2019, however, as the United States endeavors to repeat as World Cup champion. There is no more important player in the USWNT lineup. She is the last line of defense in advance of the U.S. defense, playing what is known in soccer lexicon alternately as a holding midfielder or a “No. 6.” The position Ertz plays now can be more glamorous than playing central defense, where one small mistake that leads to an opposing goal can define an entire performance. She is allowed more freedom to join the attack. She also must be fit enough to move from sideline to sideline, box to box. The game is physically demanding for everyone, but for a midfielder most of all.Asked if she trains differently now than when she was primarily a defender, Ertz didn’t really want to think about the demands.”Yeah,” she said. “I run a lot … more.” WORLD CUP SCHEDULE:How to watch all United States matchesWhen the U.S. won in 2015, Ertz — then known as Julie Johnston, her maiden name, before she married Eagles tight end Zach Ertz — was a revelation in central defense and was named to the 23-player all-star team chosen by the FIFA technical committee. As coach Jill Ellis developed a more aggressive, attack-based 4-3-3 formation, though, she saw Ertz’s move to central midfield as essential to making it work.Because Ellis chose not to bring along NWSL star McCall Zebroni, there also is not a true “destroyer” among the reserves available to fill in for Ertz.”When you look at the ‘6’ position, it is such a critical position. Who can be that player that can cover ground and break up plays, who can win the ball in aerial battles and who also has the ability to connect with a pass? Well, we’ve seen that in JJ,” Ellis told Sporting News. “Seeing her play there frequently with her club is certainly beneficial. We looked at different players in that spot, but ultimately it’s just a really good fit for her.”Ertz, 27, is a native of Mesa, Ariz., who led Santa Clara to the NCAA Tournament in her senior year, 2013. Coming off her World Cup success at age 23, the second-youngest player on the 2015 roster, Ertz looked as though she would be a fixture in the U.S. back line for a decade.In 2017, however, she began playing more frequently as an attacking midfielder with her team, the Chicago Red Stars, in the National Women’s Soccer League. That is also when Ellis began using her more frequently as a No. 6.MORE WORLD CUP:USWNT stars and their athlete significant othersThey are not identical positions, and it’s apparent there are times when Ertz’s desire and ability to join the formidable U.S. attack lead her higher up the field, closer to the goal. She has scored nine international goals since 2017.”I really would like to have her sit a little bit more and kind of be that shield in front of the back four and kind of connect with them on the defensive side of the game and, as the game progresses, move into the attack a little more,” Fox Sports analyst Christie Rampone, a veteran of five World Cups, told SN. “But I think we really need her to break up the opposing attack and be dynamic like she is. That’s what she’s brilliant at.”In her new position, Ertz is joined by two marvelously talented, offensive-oriented players, of which Ellis can choose among three: Lindsey Horan, Samantha Mewis or Rose Lavelle. All three are World Cup rookies, though. The lineup includes plenty of World Cup champions, but only Ertz holds that distinction among the midfielders who are so important to any team’s success.”I would hope I could give them as many helpful tips that I feel like I’ve learned through my experience,” Ertz told SN. “I think right now, it’s really giving them confidence in what they have, because what they bring this team is so special. I think on my end it’s really just giving them that extra confidence push because they’re a huge reason why we play the way we play.”I think what I’ve learned is you can’t look past any game. Adversity hits you all the time in those tournaments: throughout games, in moments through each game. Regardless of what position I play, overall, from the experience I’ve got, it’s really to stay in the moment because sometimes these games are won by such small margins. You really need to stay focused and in the moment of each game, and not look past any round.”MORE: Complete guide to the Women’s World Cuplast_img read more

Sarajevo Half- Marathon for Ecological Awareness: around 1300 Participants Running in Sarajevo

first_imgAround 1300 participants which is a record number so far participates in today’s 8th Sarajevo half-marathon, the biggest international sports manifestation in B&H – by Anadolija.This event was organized on occasion of the International Car free day so it contributes the ecological awareness of the participants and the citizens.“This year, around 1300 participants came, which is a record of all editions we organized so far. Novo Nordisk Fun Run race/walk of 4 kilometres gathered over 500 participants while at the start of the Sarajevo Sperbank half-marathon there is around 750 participants.” – pointed out the director of the Association Maraton Sarajevo, Erol Mujanović and added that the number of this event’s participants is increased from year to year.“The number of marathon lovers in B&H is increased, and this year participants from even 30 different countries of the world joined us” – said Mujanović.He emphasized that a great number of citizens is interested in running and healthy living so that a great number of those who do it just for recreation is present too.The paticipants started at Trg djece Sarajeva and the sign to start was given by the Ambassador of Spain in B&H Maria Aurora Mejia Eraskin.According to the organizer’s words, the participants will run for an hour, and pass through almost all parts of Sarajevo during that time.“They will be running through the centre of the city, through Old Town, Vilson’s promenade and at the stadium Koševo.” – said Mujanović and added this route is chosen according to the world standards and is very attractive.When it comes to prizes, the first three places will be awarded financially while all participants of the race will receive t-shirts and medals after the race.“That way, all participants will have a nice souvenir from Sarajevo” – said Mujanović.(Source: Oslobođenje / photo: Anadolija)last_img read more