Soccer Star Julie Ertz Plays Emotional Final USWNT Game: 'I Got to Live My Dream'

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The two-time World Cup champion was overcome by emotion as she said goodbye, after the U.S. Women beat South Africa 3-0

<p>Trevor Ruszkowski/ISI Photos/USSF/Getty</p>

Trevor Ruszkowski/ISI Photos/USSF/Getty

In an sentimental night on the pitch, Julie Ertz played her final game with the USWNT on Thursday.

The two-time World Cup champion, 31, was overcome with emotion while watching her tribute video after the U.S. Women beat South Africa 3-0, according to USA Today.

“This was so much more than [me scoring],” Ertz told reporters after the game, per the newspaper. “It was closure. It was love for the game. It was being there with my teammates one last time and my family, who’s been there since day one.”

She added, “And it was just saying bye to a dream. Well, no. I got to live my dream. But it was saying bye to the career I had.”

Related: Julie Ertz Announces Retirement After USWNT Loses at World Cup, Says Team Is in ‘Great Hands’

The two-time U.S. Soccer player of the year made 122 appearances for the United States and had 20 goals in USWNT games over her 10-year career on the top squad.

In a tribute on X (formerly Twitter), her husband and Arizona Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz shared his appreciation for his wife — for her professional and personal accomplishments.

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"You’ve given your everything to this game,” Zach said in the video message. “You’ve won at the highest levels and have done it with grace, commitment, passion and courage. Madden and I couldn’t be more proud of what you’ve done, and more importantly, who you are.”

Julie and Zach share son Madden Matthew, who celebrated his first birthday last month.

<p>Hannah Peters - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images</p>

Hannah Peters - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Related: Zach Ertz and Julie Ertz's Relationship Timeline

On Thursday night, the soccer star went out on her own terms, explaining that she could keep playing, but decided this was her time.

"It's not because Mama can't play. Mama can play," she told the media ahead of the farewell match.

Following a heartbreaking loss for the United States Women's National Team at the 2023 World Cup in August, Julie announced her retirement in post-match interviews.

"Unfortunately, this is my last time in this crest," she said, trying to hold back tears. "You know, sometimes you learn the most from your failures, which sucks. But it's part of my career as well."

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Read the original article on People.