Julie Ertz has been named U.S. Soccer's female player of the year after a breakout season as a central midfielder.
The top-ranked Americans went 7-0-1 to end the year with Ertz moving from a defender to having a bigger role in the offense. She scored six goals this year to almost equal her overall total of eight from four previous years on the national team.
Ertz, married to former Stanford football star Zach Ertz of the Philadelphia Eagles, beat out Megan Rapinoe for the award.
She is the third woman to be named both the player of the year and young female player of the year, the award Ertz won in 2012 after leading the United States to the under-20 World Cup title.
Ertz (nee Johnston) got international attention in 2015 as a starting center back as the United States won the Women's World Cup in Canada.
At Santa Clara, she played all central positions, including attacking midfielder. Ertz played central midfielder this year for the Chicago Red Stars of the National Women's Soccer League, getting four goals and three assists.