33. Julie Ertz
A change of name in 2017, but no change in form for Chicago and USA star Julie Ertz. Like Ji before her, another player only just reaching her peak years yet excelling for club and country.
Having moved away from her centre-back role, Ertz has turned into an all-action midfielder capable of popping up with important goals at important times.
During the NWSL season, Ertz scored four goals for Chicago and chipped in with three assists, whilst she was a regular scorer for the USA during the second half of 2017.
Her first was an 89th minute winner during an enthralling Tournament of Nations encounter against Brazil, before scoring a brace against New Zealand. Further goals South Korea and Canada followed to top off another excellent year.
Jill Ellis, USA national team head coach says:
“Julie is a warrior. She’s an incredibly strong and powerful, hard-working player that has embraced the midfield role. She has shown great versatility this year playing two roles for club and country and has a knack for scoring goals. She is incredibly dynamic inside the 18-yard box.”
Heather O’Reilly, former USA team mate says:
“Julie is a huge physical presence on the field. She is great in the air, tackles hard and is a very brave player – a warrior. For someone who has been a defender, she scores a lot of goals, similarly to Lucy Bronze, willing to to put her body in dangerous positions and also smart about when and where the ball might fall in the box.
“She has demonstrated this year that she is very capable of playing higher up the pitch a more attacking role, both with Chicago Red Stars and also the USWNT. She’s a work horse and a great team mate because she will run through a wall for her team.”
Lori Lindsey, former USA international says:
“Julie is a hard-nosed player who doesn’t shy away from a tackle. For a player who is such a powerhouse on the field, she has a unique finesse in front of the goal.”