Connect with us

20wwc ertz 01 fpkj videoSixteenByNine3000 1 scaled

Even before Julie Ertz gave birth to her son, Madden, last August, she knew it would be a challenge to return to the fitness and form that would be required of her if she wanted to play in a third Women’s World Cup.

Pregnancy and childbirth, unlike sports injuries, offer no reliable timeline for return, no proven handbook to guide a player back from what is a life-changing event. More important, Ertz, who was 30 when Madden was born, wanted to gauge her progress discreetly before she made any promises to the national team. To pull that off without attracting attention, Ertz was going to need help.

A group of teenage boys answered the call.

Ertz was in Phoenix, which is her hometown and where her husband, Zach, plays tight end for the Arizona Cardinals. She reached out to two of the coaches who knew her best: Paul Taylor and Matt Midkiff, who had helped guide her development from preteen prodigy to college all-American. Taylor and Midkiff connected Ertz with Phoenix Rising, a United Soccer League club with a Major League Soccer Academy program. Ertz arranged to begin training with the club’s under-19 team in February.

When Taylor informed the boys on the team that Julie Ertz would be coming to practice, many of the players greeted the news with blank stares.

But not Luke Burns.

ImageLuke Burns is posing for a picture with an arm around Ertz.
Luke Burns, right, was pleasantly surprised when he found out Julie Ertz would be training with his team. He was a fan.Credit…Courtesy Luke Burns

“At first, I was star-struck,” said Burns, 17. “I don’t think many of my teammates really knew who she was. But I was one of the only ones who was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is crazy.’”

Burns, who has committed to play at the University of Virginia, said his older sister, who also plays college soccer, got him into watching women’s soccer at a young age. He knew the players. He knew their histories and their highlights. Still, he said, it took him 15 minutes to work up the courage to introduce himself to Ertz at her first training session. It took even less time to sense that she was a cut above.

“Even on the first day of training that we had with her, she was in the best shape out of all of us,” Burns said. “She would do extra sprints after practice. She would do these little things to become a bit better. And it showed me that if I wanted to go to the professional level, I have to do those extra things as well.”

Taylor said Ertz set a high standard for herself in their first conversation. If she was going to come back, she told him, she did not want to simply come back as the player she was before. She wanted to be better than anyone remembered, better than even she could remember.

“I know the expectation and standards that this team has,” Ertz said. “And I didn’t want to go into any camp if I wasn’t feeling like I could actually compete.”


An Ertz fan at the U.S. team’s send-off game in California.Credit…Marlena Sloss for The New York Times

For Ertz, that motivation came from an intimate knowledge of the national team and the role she would need to play to contribute at this World Cup. At the time she returned to training, the national team’s captain and defensive linchpin, Becky Sauerbrunn, was struggling with a foot injury. (Sauerbrunn was eventually left off the World Cup roster.) Sam Mewis, a midfielder who had played a pivotal role in the team’s 2019 World Cup championship, was enduring repeated setbacks with her injured knee. (Mewis may never play elite soccer again.)

Without them, Ertz knew, the U.S. team was in need of experience and leadership at the back. It needed her to be the glue that held the spine of the team together.

But by February, the clock was ticking. When U.S. Coach Vlatko Andonovski released a training camp roster for the SheBelieves Cup, Ertz’s absence was not a surprise. Still, Andonovski warned, “time is running out for her.”

As the pressure mounted, Ertz remained committed to taking things slow. She knew she needed to reach peak performance quickly, but she also knew she couldn’t rush it.

By March, national team staff members had seen Ertz play with Phoenix Rising in scrimmages and had come away impressed. Talk of her returning for the World Cup began to circulate inside the team. Defender Kelley O’Hara, who has played with Ertz for 10 years, said she tried to manage her excitement when it began to sound possible that Ertz would make it back in time.

“I started texting her,” O’Hara said, excitedly miming a typing motion with her fingers. “Not trying to put too much pressure, and not trying to, you know, sway her decision. But she’s awesome and she’s an incredible teammate to have, especially in tournaments like this.”


Ertz returned to club soccer in April with Angel City of the National Women’s Soccer League.Credit…Troy Wayrynen/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

In late March, Andonovski called Ertz into her first training camp since the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. In April, Ertz returned to club soccer by signing with Angel City of the National Women’s Soccer League. Slowly increasing her workload and fitness, Ertz showed Andonovski enough that he named her to his 23-player roster for the World Cup. Days later, in her final game before she left the club to join the national team for training, she played 97 minutes. Her comeback was complete.

“It’s been competitive, which is what you need,” Ertz said of her two months with Angel City. “It’s been an environment to be able to thrive.”

Now a bigger task awaits. She and her U.S. teammates will open the World Cup on Friday night (Eastern time) in Auckland, New Zealand. Madden Ertz and his father will be in the stands cheering. Julie Ertz will probably be right in the middle of the field. Right where she wanted to be. Right where her team needs her.

Claire Fahy is an editorial assistant based in New York who covers breaking news and general assignment stories. More about Claire Fahy


By: Claire Fahy
Title: How Julie Ertz Got Her Game Back
Sourced From:
Published Date: Sun, 16 Jul 2023 19:32:22 +0000

Read More
Did you miss our previous article…

Baller Awards

Mo Gilligan to “step down and hand over the baton” as BRIT Awards host

Mo Gilligan posing jpg

Mo Gilligan attends The BRIT Awards 2023 at The O2 Arena on February 11, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)

Mo Gilligan has announced he will be “stepping down” as a BRIT Awards host due to his first world tour.

  • READ MORE: Soundtrack Of My Life – Mo Gilligan

The comedian took to his official social media account to share that due to scheduling conflicts with his first-ever world tour, he will “hand over the baton” and give his usual hosting duties to someone else.

“I’ve had the most incredible time working on The BRITS but unfortunately as I’ll be in the US for my first world tour next spring. I’m sorry to say that I’ll be stepping down from hosting duties for 2024 and handing over the baton,” began his statement on his Instagram stories.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Mo Gilligan (@mothecomedian)

He continued: “It’s been phenomenal to work on this iconic event. I’ve loved getting to know all the remarkable people who run The BRIT Trust and the outstanding BRIT school. The tireless work you do to improve lives through the power of music and the creative arts is sensational and I promise to continue supporting wherever I can.

“Thank you to ITV for making a young man’s dream come true and to all the brilliant performers, guests, production team and most importantly, the viewers at home for all your amazing support. It’s been an honor. See you on tour!”

Gillian also shared one of his tweets from 2011 in which he wrote: “In 2013 I need to host the #MOBO’s or #TheBritAwards *Fingers Crossed*”.

The comedian has served as the awards show presenter for the past two years. Speaking to The Sun, a BRITs spokesperson said: “The BRITs are incredibly proud of Mo hosting the awards for the last two years, he is an exceptional entertainer who is going from strength to strength in his career, and we thank him for delivering two brilliant shows for us.”

They continued: “The live awards show is always evolving, and we are excited to welcome someone new to the helm for 2024, with more details to be announced at a later date.”

Back in September, the date for the BRIT Awards 2024 was revealed. Next year’s ceremony is due to take place on March 2 at The O2 in London. It’ll mark the second consecutive year that the show has aired in a primetime Saturday night slot on ITV1 and ITVX.

Last week, the  BRIT Awards organisers announced that they will be tweaking their rules for the 2024 instalment, following a row over diversity.

According to a new report by BBC News, it has been announced that the organisers of the BRITS will now increase the number of shortlisted artists for the Best Artist award. This sees an expansion from five to 10 nominees for the 2024 edition, in the hopes of creating a more balanced field.

The expanded shortlist will also apply to the Best International Artist category as of next year. As well as broadening the number of nominees, the organisers have also confirmed that they will be introducing a new award category, dedicated solely to the R&B genre.

The post Mo Gilligan to “step down and hand over the baton” as BRIT Awards host appeared first on NME.


By: Anagricel Duran
Title: Mo Gilligan to “step down and hand over the baton” as BRIT Awards host
Sourced From:
Published Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2023 16:52:29 +0000

Read More

Continue Reading

Baller Awards

Here’s The Full List Of 2023 Soul Train Awards Winners

1 sza jpg
SZA Grammys 2023
Getty Image

The year is coming to an end, but there are still so many flowers still to be given out to the year’s biggest musical acts. Last week, the Billboard Music Awards celebrated the chart metric. Today (November 26), the 2023 Soul Train Awards, presented by BET, honored R&B acts moving the genre forward.

Keke Palmer did the honors of hosting the event. While acts like Muni Long, Coco Jones, and BJ The Chicago Kid appeared to perform for the attendees. However, the evening is all about walking away with a trophy.

Both Janelle Monáe and T-Pain were bestowed special honors during the ceremony. Janelle Monáe was granted the Spirit Of Soul Award. “[Janelle Monáe] have shown us the true meaning of freedom of expression through all facets of entertainment,” said organizers in a statement.

T-Pain was given the Legend Award for his impact on R&B, Soul, and hip-hop’s forever-intervened mix.

Continue below for the complete winner list for the 2023 Soul Train Awards.

Album Of The Year

Janelle Monáe — The Age of Pleasure
Ari Lennox — Age/Sex/Location
Summer Walker — Clear 2: Soft Life EP
Babyface — Girls Night Out (Extended)
Burna Boy — I Told Them…
Victoria Monét — Jaguar II
Coco Jones — What I Didn’t Tell You (Deluxe)

Song Of The Year

October London – “Back to Your Place”
Toosii – “Favorite Song”
Usher Feat. Summer Walker & 21 Savage – “Good Good”
Coco Jones – “ICU”
SZA – “Kill Bill”
Janelle Monáe – “Lipstick Lover”
Victoria Monét – “On My Mama”
SZA – “Snooze”

Video Of The Year

October London – “Back to Your Place”
PinkPantheress & Ice Spice – “Boy’s a Liar Pt. 2”
Usher – “Boyfriend”
Usher Feat. Summer Walker & 21 Savage – “Good Good”
Coco Jones – “ICU”
SZA – “Kill Bill”
Janelle Monáe – “Lipstick Lover”
Victoria Monét – “On My Mama”
Lizzo – “Special”

Best R&B/Soul Female Artist

Ari Lennox
Coco Jones
Janelle Monáe
Summer Walker
Victoria Monét

Best R&B/Soul Male Artist

Brent Faiyaz
Burna Boy
Chris Brown
Eric Bellinger
October London

Best Group

Jagged Edge
Kool & The Gang
Maverick City Music
Phony Ppl
Ronald Isley & The Isley Brothers
Tank and The Bangas

Best Collaboration

Beyoncé Feat. Kendrick Lamar – “America Has a Problem” (Remix),
PinkPantheress & Ice Spice – “Boy’s a Liar, Pt. 2”
Metro Boomin, The Weeknd, Diddy Feat. 21 Savage – “Creepin’ (Remix)”
Flo feat. Missy Elliott – “Fly Girl”
Usher Feat. Summer Walker & 21 Savage – “Good Good”
Burna Boy Feat. 21 Savage – “Sittin’ on Top of the World”
Lizzo Feat. SZA – “Special”
Summer Walker Feat. J. Cole – “To Summer, From Cole (Audio Hug)”

Best New Artist

Ayra Starr
Coco Jones

Certified Soul Award

Anthony Hamilton
Eric Bellinger
PJ Morton
Ronald Isley & The Isley Brothers

The Ashford And Simpson Songwriter’s Award

October London – “Back to Your Place”
Toosii – “Favorite Song”
Usher Feat. Summer Walker & 21 Savage – “Good Good”
Coco Jones – “ICU”
SZA – “Kill Bill”
Victoria Monét – “On My Mama”
Burna Boy Feat. 21 Savage – “Sittin’ on Top of the World”
SZA – “Snooze”

Best Dance Performance

Ciara Feat. Summer Walker – “Better Thangs”
Usher – “Boyfriend”
Usher Feat. Summer Walker, 21 Savage – “Good Good”
Ciara & Chris Brown – “How We Roll”
Victoria Monét – “On My Mama”
SZA – “Snooze”
Chris Brown – “Summer Too Hot”
Chris Brown – “Under the Influence”

Best Gospel/Inspirational Award

Shirley Caesar – “All Of The Glory”
Kirk Franklin – “All Things”
Fridayy Feat. Maverick City Music & My Mom – “Came Too Far”
Koryn Hawthorne – “Cry”
Erica Campbell – “Feel Alright (Blessed)”
Maverick City Music featuring Chandler Moore & Naomi Raine – “God Problems”
H.E.R. – “The Journey”
Kirk Franklin – “Try Love”

Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.


By: Flisadam
Title: Here’s The Full List Of 2023 Soul Train Awards Winners
Sourced From:
Published Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2023 01:26:53 +0000

Read More

Continue Reading

Baller Awards

JY Park goes viral for polarising 44th Blue Dragon Film Awards performance

jy park getty jpg

jy park

South Korean singer and businessman JY Park, best known as the founder and namesake of JYP Entertainment, has gone viral for a recent live performance at the 44th Blue Dragon Film Awards.

  • READ MORE: KISS OF LIFE – ‘Born to Be XX’: a diamond in the rough

JY Park recently made an appearance at the 44th Blue Dragon Film Awards, where he performed a medley of original songs (‘When We Disco’ and ‘Changed Man’) and popular hits (Eurythmics classic ‘Sweet Dreams’ and a-ha’s ‘Take On Me’).

The singer’s elaborate performance, including a costume change from a dramatic white coat dress to a purple bodysuit, elicited a range of reactions from the audience, which consisted of popular actors and K-pop idols alike.

A number of these reactions have since gone viral, including Concrete Utopia actress Kim Sun-young’s shocked face, Reborn Rich star Song Joong-ki’s apparent look of concern, and EXO‘s D.O. and Krystal Jung‘s looks of confusion.

The audience’s reactions to JY Park’s performance at the 44th Blue Dragon Film Awards have also since been compared those for NewJeans, who had taken to the stage to sing their hit singles ‘ETA’ and ‘Super Shy’ earlier in the night.

During NewJeans’ performance, the audience at the 44th Blue Dragon Film Awards can be seen smiling and clapping along to the girl group. Some also pointed out how singer-actress BIBI looked like she was about to cry watching the quintet perform.


#kbs #newjeans #jyp #ryujunyeol #songjoongki #jeonyeobeen #bibi #dokyungsoo #parkboyoung #krystal #bluedragonseriesawards2023

♬ som original – tea_kpop

In other K-pop news, KISS OF LIFE member Belle recently covered Ariana Grande‘s 2013 ballad with Nathan Sykes, ‘Almost Is Never Enough’. Meanwhile, BABYMONSTER have made their long-anticipated debut with ‘Batter Up’.

The post JY Park goes viral for polarising 44th Blue Dragon Film Awards performance appeared first on NME.


By: Puah Ziwei
Title: JY Park goes viral for polarising 44th Blue Dragon Film Awards performance
Sourced From:
Published Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2023 07:26:52 +0000

Read More

Continue Reading