One of the best players in recent memory for the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team will be playing her final game on September 21st. Julie Ertz is calling it a career. Her last match is an international friendly against South Africa on Thursday night at 4:30 p.m. (PT).

It will be Ertz's 123rd appearance for the national team, marking the end of a lengthy, decorated tenure wearing red, white and blue. With Ertz's career coming to a close, let's take a look back at her magnificent career with the USWNT.

How to watch Julie Ertz's last game

Julie Ertz and the U.S. Women's National Team have a friendly against South Africa on September 21. The match will be Ertz's last before her retirement and signals a new era of women's soccer.

Date: Thursday, September. 21 | Time: 4:30 p.m. PT

Location: TQL Stadium — Cincinnati, Ohio

TV channel: TNT | Live stream: Peacock

Julie Ertz's retirement

Ertz will end her career with 123 appearances with the U.S. Women's National Team. On August 31st, 2023, she announced her impending retirement at a relatively young age of just 31 years old. Ertz still has plenty left in the tank, and she is playing at a high level in 2023.

“It's not like momma can't play. Momma can play,” Ertz said, per Chris Burton of GOAL. “She has just adapted [her] priorities.”

Some athletes don't retire until they are well out of their prime. Ertz is not one of them. She is still one of the best female players in the world. The soccer star decided to retire because of a desire to focus more on her family.

Ertz, originally born Julie Johnston, is married to NFL veteran Zach Ertz, a tight end with the Arizona Cardinals. The couple have a son named Madden, who is just over a year old.

“I think time with my family is just irreplaceable,” Ertz said recently, per Jeff Carlisle of ESPN.  “Especially just with where Madden is and his age.”

Ertz has played in six games for Team USA in 2023, accruing 459 minutes. By retiring, she is also effectively ending her NWSL career. Ertz played with the Chicago Red Stars from 2014-2022 before she signed with Angel City FC this year.

Julie Ertz's U.S. Women's National Team career

Ertz has been a key piece to arguably the most important era of the U.S. Women's National Team's existence. While the Americans lost in the Round of 16 at the 2023 FIFA World Cup, Ertz's previous stints in the FIFA World Cup went better. Team USA won the FIFA Women's World Cup in both 2015 and 2019 with Ertz on the team. The Americans had only won it twice before, and not since 1999.

Ertz has been a standout player for the USWNT  team since her arrival. Playing on the top team since 2013, she was the Athlete of the Year in both 2017 and 2019. She also won U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year in 2012, making her the only athlete ever to win Young Female Athlete of the Year and Athlete of the Year awards.

She also appeared in both the 2016 and 2021 Olympic Games. In the 2021 Olympics, Ertz played 525 minutes, the second most in the tournament, helping her country to a bronze medal.

Ertz played in every minute of all seven games in the 2015 World Cup. Her stamina and ability to remain on the field were always some of her best traits. Ertz will also be remembered as a premier defensive player. Her abilities as a defensive midfielder are perhaps unrivaled, but she was also more than capable on the offensive end. The midfielder has 20 career goals and six assists to her name during her U.S. Women's National Team career.

Ertz isn't the only USWNT legend hanging up her boots. Longtime teammate Megan Rapinoe's career is also coming to a close. Rapinoe's retirement comes after a friendly on Sunday, September 24th, and will signal a new era of women's soccer in the United States.