LISTEN – Julie Ertz: 2x FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion Credits Her Hugely Successful Sports Career to Her Personal Relationship with Jesus Christ (Gospel Light Minute #244)

She is one of the best American soccer players. She is a midfielder for the Chicago Red Stars of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), the highest division of women’s professional soccer in the United States, and the United States women’s national soccer team. She is a 2x FIFA Women’s World Cup champion with the U.S. Women’s National Team (2015 and 2019). She played collegiate soccer with the Santa Clara University Broncos from 2010 to 2013. Following her collegiate career, she was selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 NWSL Draft by the Chicago Red Stars. That same year, she was named the NWSL Rookie of the Year. In 2015, at age 23, she became the second-youngest player to make the National Team. With her help, the United States went on to win the 2015 Women’s World Cup final. She played every minute of all seven games of the tournament and was subsequently named to the FIFA Women’s World Cup All-Star Team. In 2017, she was awarded U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year. She also represented the United States at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament, helping to lead the National Team to their second consecutive World Cup victory and fourth overall.

In a recent interview with Sports Spectrum, she professed to focusing on one thing in particular even more than her game: that is, her faith in Jesus Christ. “I continue to work on all things, and that goes for my relationship with Christ as well,” she said. “[My faith] gives me a bigger perspective on life and my career.” With whichever squad she’s training and competing at the time, she always engages in Bible study groups and pregame prayer huddles with some of her teammates. “I want to stay true to who I am and my beliefs,” she said. “These Bible studies really help me grow and keep me accountable. It brings me closer to my teammates; we continue to grow as players and as people.”

Having grown up in a Christian home, the star soccer player knew who Jesus Christ was, but admittedly hadn’t adopted a one-on-one relationship with Him until she left for college at Santa Clara University. While learning about who she was as a person, and who she wanted to be, she discovered to Whom she truly belonged. “That’s when my faith really took off,” she said. As a result, her lifestyle changed both on and off the field. With a new purpose and perspective in place, she found a new freedom and motivation to work even harder at what she loved most. “Now I’m playing soccer for a bigger purpose. I feel like I was putting a lot of my identity in my sport, but now that I have a greater perspective, I enjoy it so much more,” she shared.

And she soon realized how vital a relationship with Christ is for the journey as a professional athlete. “There are a lot more ups and downs in my pro career,” she said. “My faith has been a huge part to help me when I feel like I can’t do it alone. [God] is there to guide me through….There are so many things you can’t control. I try to really be in tune with the Word and continue my growth. When I do, I’m a better athlete on the field. I’ve shifted my perspective so that when I go out, I go out to glorify Him.”

She is married to two-time Pro Bowler Zach Ertz, who was a key figure on the Philadelphia Eagles’s 2017 Super Bowl championship team, scoring the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter against the New England Patriots. He says of their relationship, “It’s awesome being married to her, being able to support the people we love doing what they love to do. I’ve seen all the work she does each and every day and I’ve seen all the adversity she’s faced over the past seven years we’ve been together….Because she loves the game so much, I’m so invested in seeing her succeed. Her hard work is paying off.” He explained how they, as a sports power couple, rely on their strong faith to overcome the difficulties prolonged separation brings due to their hectic schedules as elite athletes: “I can say with absolute certainty that what we’ve done in the past 2½ years of marriage would be dang near impossible if the foundation wasn’t on Christ. It would be impossible without understanding we represent something so much bigger than just ourselves. Our marriage was built on that foundation and will continue to be built that way.” She keeps the love of Christ as her motivation as a leader on the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, a star player in the NWSL, the wife of an NFL tight end, and the co-founder of the Ertz Family Foundation—a charity that creates opportunities for children in sports and education.

Her name is Julie Ertz.

This is the “Chief of Sinners,” Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, reminding you of what the Bible says, that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” like you and me. Just as Julie Ertz trusts Jesus Christ as her Saviour, may I encourage you to do the same. Here is how:

  1. Accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:20: “For there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not.” Romans 3:23 reads: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” In fact, I am the chief of sinners, so don’t think that you’re alone.
  2. Accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23“For the wages of sin is death…”
  3. Accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The Bible says in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
  4. Accept the fact that you cannot do anything to save yourself! The Bible states in Ephesians 2: 8, 9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
  5. Accept the fact that God loves you more than you love yourself, and that He wants to save you from hell. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
  6. With these facts in mind, please repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and pray and ask Him to come into your heart and save you this very moment. The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Dear friend, if you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me this simple prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to GospelLightSociety.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

Remember, friend, Believe by faith. Share the faith. And Keep the faith!