Julie Ertz: Attacking Adversity

Julie Ertz: Attacking Adversity

Julie Ertz can’t remember a time when she wasn’t completely enthralled by soccer. For the 27-year-old midfielder, it’s not just a game, it’s a way of life.

“Growing up, I just fell in love with the sport right away,” Ertz said. “I felt the most me when I was out there playing on the field.”

In 2017, she was named U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year, and going into this summer, Ertz is expected to be a key component of the 2019 national team. She’s known for her ferocious tackling skills and uncanny ability to find the back of the net on set pieces.

But Ertz wasn’t always an international superstar. In fact, only a couple of years ago she was playing a completely different position.

Nearly a year after she burst onto the scene as a 23-year-old center back for the 2015 national team, Ertz was benched, forcing her to make a decision — she could either sulk about her demotion or put in the hard work to mentally and physically overcome the obstacles in her way.

“As an athlete, you see adversity all the time and those are the challenges that either make you or break you,” Ertz said. “For me, that was through injuries, not playing, and being benched. What I learned from that experience was that adversity can be your best friend if you allow it to test your character and who you really want to be.”

Ertz didn’t just battle back to regain her spot on the team, she completely reinvented her game and became one of the best defensive midfielders in the sport today. That willingness to change her position and the grind she went through to achieve greatness is a testament to her reputation as a teammate and fan favorite.

“I always wanted to be a versatile player because I loved the sport so much and thought each position could teach me something different,” Ertz said. “I want to be the best teammate I can be and so, for me, versatility means being reliable for my teammates. Whatever they ask of me, I want to do.”

Ertz also knows that being a successful female athlete comes with extra challenges and obstacles. She credits the generation of female soccer stars who came before her and recognizes that they helped lay the foundation for players like her to become national icons.

“As I got older, it was huge to watch the women who paved the way for me,” Ertz said. “Seeing those women push boundaries allowed me to dream and that’s the biggest thing I want to thank them for.”

Now that Ertz and her teammates are the face of a new era of women’s soccer, she’s embracing the opportunity to continue the legacy of being a role model for the next generation.

“I just want to let every young, aspiring athlete or person know that whatever your dream is, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t or shouldn’t go for it,” Ertz said. “Any boundary can be a new boundary, and it’s important to know that we’re behind you and that you’re not alone.”

Nike International Soccer: Rock the Right Kit This Summer

Nike International Soccer: Rock the Right Kit This Summer

It’s about that time again — the greatest tournament in soccer is just around the corner. The feeling is palpable, the intensity is unmatched; fans’ emotions hang on every pass, every shot, and every save. But before the madness starts and chaos ensues, you need the correct kit to display your pride.

This year, Nike designed all their kits with detailed input from professional players, followed by 3D scanning and motion capture in the Nike Sports Research Lab to properly define their women’s-specific fit. On many kits, they also added slogans on the inside of the neckline to give inspiration to the wearer.

Let’s take a closer look at each country’s newest Nike jersey and what makes the designs special to the athletes who sport them.

United States Home Kit

Inner Pride – “Climb Again”

The USA home kits have a deep, personal meaning to many of the players on this year’s national team. The Nike Swoosh and red-and-navy stripes on the arm cuff pay homage to the 1999 team, whose iconic tournament win inspired many current athletes to get into soccer in the first place. The jerseys feature three stars above the crest to signify the United States’ three tournament trophies while the 50 states print on the back represents the nation’s collective support for the team.

United States Away Kit

Inner Pride – “Hold Fast. Stay True.”

While the home kits pay tribute to the past, the away design is a nod to the future. The inspiration behind these kits is that being American is about standing out and boldly displaying your pride. The stars-and-stripes pattern spread across the all-red jersey is symbolic of the American flag. Although these kits focus on what’s next, Nike still wanted to pay tribute to the USA’s past accomplishments, so they placed three white stars representing the three championships on the royal stripe at the back of the neck.

Brazil Home Kit

Inner Pride – “Mulheres Guerreiras Do Brasil” meaning “Women Warriors of Brazil”

Pelé, Ronaldinho, Marta. When you think of these famous Brazilian footballers, you think of the iconic yellow they sported while creating some of the most memorable moments in international soccer history. Nike didn’t stray far from Brazil’s traditional look with these kits, embracing the colors the Brazilian national team has worn since 1954.

Brazil Away Kit

Inner Pride – “Mulheres Guerreiras Do Brasil” meaning “Women Warriors of Brazil”

Brazil’s royal away kits start with a bold geometric pattern at the neck that slowly fades towards the bottom of the jersey. The pattern is inspired by bright stars and the royal color represents the sky on a cool, clear night in Rio. Brazil also pays tribute to their men’s team tournament wins with five stars above the crest.

England Home Kit

Inner Pride – “The Lionesses”

Clean and Classic. That’s the best way to describe England’s home kits. The traditional white is sacred to England and Nike wanted these jerseys to display the country’s loyalty and heritage. If you look closely, you’ll find a very subtle, tonal floral print that represents the roses specific to the neighborhoods around London. These jerseys also display red-and-maroon striping on the sleeve cuffs to punctuate the crispness of the white base.

England Away Kit

Inner Pride – “The Lionesses”

Where England’s home kits embrace a minimalistic design, the away jerseys boast an aggressive maroon floral print, hand drawn to include poppy, primrose, and rose – the native flora of the country. Nike separated the pattern into four quadrants, a nod to St. George’s Cross. These kits use an off-white color for the logo that keeps the overall theme bold, but still evokes the history of a proud nation.

France Home Kit

Inner Pride – “Nos Différences Nous Unissent” meaning “Our Differences Unite Us”

For this year’s host country, Nike decided to honor tradition by staying true to France’s “Les Bleus” national team nickname. The solid navy base is accented with rose gold lettering, providing the proper pop for the iconic French Football Federation crest. The jerseys also include a subtle hint of red, white, and blue taping at the sleeve to represent the French flag. According to Nike, these kits personify the sophistication of the French and are a nod to the high-end, exclusive clothing produced by the country.

France Away Kit

Inner Pride – “Nos Différences Nous Unissent” meaning “Our Differences Unite Us”

To contrast the solid blue home jerseys, Nike’s white away kits feature a pattern of small hexagons, spread across the shirt like polka dots, that pay tribute the France’s unique border shape. The inner pride phrase, “Nos Différences Nous Unissent,” is printed with a small “o” to represent Chanel and France’s rich history of fashion.

Australia Home Kit

Inner Pride – “Never Say Die”

Described by some as the most exuberant kit in the bunch, Australia’s home jerseys use white, yellow, and green brush strokes to represent their creative, youthful team. Incorporating design elements from Melbourne’s famous Hosier Lane, Nike created a ’90s-style look that combines the colors of the Australian countryside with the graffiti art culture seen in the country’s urban areas.

Netherlands Home Kit

Inner Pride – Crown symbol to represent the country’s monarchy.

For the newly designed Dutch kits, Nike created a digital tulip, a geometric design that represents the country’s iconic flower. These kits also mark the first time the Netherlands will forgo the traditional lion crest for a lioness, representing the pride and ferocity of the women’s team.

Norway Home Kit

Inner Pride – Snowflake and Flower symbols

This year, Norway’s home kits combine the team’s trademark red and blue into a “winter sweater” print inspired by the country’s decorated ski jumpers. The design combines snowflakes and flowers to honor the beauty and variety of Norway’s weather.

China Away Kit

Inner Pride – Phoenix logo

To remind the Chinese team of the powerhouse spirt of the 1990s, these light grey kits feature an intricate phoenix pattern. The design was created to represent femininity and virtue, paying tribute to the “Steel Roses” nickname given to the team.