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For USWNT’s Julie Ertz, a farewell friendly with no shortage of tears

Julie Ertz could have continued playing soccer, through the Paris Olympics next summer and perhaps to another World Cup, dispensing bone-rattling tackles to opponents and sound advice to young colleagues on the U.S. women’s national team.

After all, Ertz is just 31. At an otherwise bummer of a World Cup for the Americans last month, she played every minute on a defense that conceded one goal in four games.

Life, though, moves on. Her son, Madden, is 13 months old. And though she was capable of continuing to contribute on the field, Ertz was ready to walk off it.