USWNT's Julie Ertz was most 'nervous' at Super Bowl

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  • By Grant Gordon NFL.com
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It has been a whirlwind afterglow for United States women's soccer standout Julie Ertz, with sleep rarely coming amidst media appearances and fanfare.

Less than a week removed from the U.S. claiming a 2-0 triumph over the Netherlands in France to claim the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, a ticker-tape parade in New York awaited Ertz and the rest of her dominant and transcendent teammates.

Individually, Ertz, the 2017 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year, won her second World Cup to further an already illustrious career on the pitch.

Despite the pressure put upon her educated feet with the world watching her and her star-laden squad, Ertz said there has never been a moment as nerve-wracking as watching her husband Zach Ertz and the Philadelphia Eagles stave off the New England Patriots for a 41-33 victory in Super Bowl LII.

"When they're out there, usually I'm pretty fine. I love the Eagles. I love the guys, love their vibe that they have all the time, so I love being there," the midfielder/defender said Wednesday on Good Morning Football. "Nothing will be as nervous ever in comparison of being at the Super Bowl. Literally, I've never sweat so much in my palms in my entire life. It was freezing there, but I was burning up just excitement. It was an amazing experience."

Julie spent the final moments of the nailbiter waiting to rush the U.S. Bank Stadium field to celebrate with her husband, while also weary of the Patriots' knack for pulling off a comeback.

"I was standing on the stairs. I was literally out of my seat. [I was told] if you win, the families can go on the field. But it's Tom Brady, it's the last second, you have to be aware," Julie said. "So I'm like basically watching the game with one foot up on the stairs. I'm in the middle, trying not to block anyone, because I was on the complete other side, so I had to like book it over there just to be there in time to go down - in case. It seriously was like a movie, it was so unreal. ... Still it gives me chills."

Just moments earlier on GMFB, Zach had joined the program and had been presented with the same quandary as to whether it was more nerve-wracking to play in a game or watch Julie compete? Just like Julie, more nerves were found from the stands.

"Definitely watching my wife," the Pro Bowl tight end said. "When I'm playing, I feel like I have some semblance of control out there. I feel like if I play well, we've got a good chance to win. When I'm watching Julie in the stands, I'm just like everyone else. Hoping that A) she stays healthy and B) that they win. And being in the stands is an unbelievable thing, but it's definitely more nerve-wracking being up there when it's 1-1 in the 85th minute seeing how this game's gonna end because I know my week's gonna be dictated about pretty much how the game ends. So it's definitely more nerve-wracking watching."

Accolades aplenty and world championships have highlighted Zach and Julie's romance, which began in college in 2012, saw them married in March of 2017 and carried on through globe-trotting careers as two of the best in their respective athletic endeavors.

Julie was a former No. 3 overall pick in the National Women's Soccer League Draft and was the league's rookie of the year and has earned NWSL Best XI of NWSL Second XI honors three times. Zach, meanwhile, is a two-time Pro Bowl pick.

For as much time and effort as is put forward in practices and games for the Ertzes, they've done their best to share the times, triumphs and tribulations along their journeys whether they can be there in person or not.

Hence, Zach's ability to watch the World Cup in person was a lasting luxury.

"I couldn't, No. 1, believe that our schedules aligned. Our schedules never align, but he could be there from like the second game on, which is insane," Julie said. "Honestly, it was really emotional. I've never really got, in the stands of such a big tournament, and [been able to] see Zach. They gave family seats that were right there, Row 1. I got to see him in the National Anthem. I'm already emotional as it is, and then seeing my best friend, my No. 1 supporter, I couldn't do what I do without him. So that was just so overwhelming. It was so much motivation out there. It was like, no matter what, we are winning."

And win they did.

As their journey played out -- sometimes dominant, sometimes dramatic -- the U.S. Women's Soccer team continued to blaze a path, defeating its opponents and fighting for an equal stage and reward as arduously as they did for victory.

Continually inspiring, Julie accentuated the honor of not just winning a world championship, but being part of a team looking to change the world.

"It's been an absolute honor to be a part of this team. Every single one of us, we felt it, it felt different, the vibe was there. We come together collectively the whole time. It's cool to have 22 players that will have each other's back no matter what. We felt it all the way through. We had so much criticism, I feel like each game there was always something. You're always gonna have something. A lot of people were like, 'Oh that's gonna break the team, it's gonna break the team.' But it made us so much stronger. I'm a huge believer that people need people. And so when we came together collectively and we're like no, we're coming together, we're doing this, we're changing things, in all aspects, not just on the pitch and off the field. It's been huge for, I really have felt it coming back, the nation behind it. It's just a special group. It's just a special group and it's amazing collectively what we've been able to do."

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