Julie Ertz returns to US team for 2 friendlies with Ireland

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Julie Ertz has been named to the U.S. roster for a pair of upcoming matches against Ireland after taking time off for the birth of her son.

Ertz has not played for the United States since the bronze medal-winning victory over Australia at the Tokyo Olympics. She and husband Zach Ertz, who plays for the NFL's Arizona Cardinals, welcomed son Madden last August.

Ertz was among 26 players named to the roster announced Tuesday by coach Vlatko Andonovski.

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The United States first plays Ireland on April 7 in Austin, Texas, before the second match on April 11 in St. Louis. They are the last international games for the United States before Andonovski selects a 23-player roster for the World Cup this summer in Australia and New Zealand.

Also returning is defender Casey Krueger, who plays for the Chicago Red Stars. She took time off for the birth of her son last July. Kelley O'Hara, who hasn't played since last year's World Cup qualifiers, was also back with the team.

“The team is gelling and getting these players back in camp, all who know the environment very well, is just going to make it more competitive and turn the intensity up a notch," Andonovski said. "I know there is a lot of pressure on the players as the competition for World Cup spots increases, but that’s not something we shy away from. We talk about it, and we embrace it, as we all know these players make each other better.”

Missing from the roster was veteran Megan Rapinoe, who has a calf injury.

The roster by position with club affiliation:

Goalkeepers: Adrianna Franch (Kansas City Current), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars).

Defenders: Alana Cook (OL Reign), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars), Emily Fox (North Carolina Courage), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Casey Krueger (Chicago Red Stars), Kelley O’Hara (NJ/NY Gotham), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns), Emily Sonnett (OL Reign).

Midfielders: Julie Ertz (free agent), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon), Taylor Kornieck (San Diego Wave), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit).

Forwards: Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC), Mallory Swanson (Chicago Red Stars), Lynn Williams (NJ/NY Gotham).


More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Anne M. Peterson, The Associated Press

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