Eagles' Zach Ertz Backs Wife Julie, US Soccer Amid 13-0 World Cup Win Criticism

Megan ArmstrongCorrespondent IIJune 13, 2019

Philadelphia Eagles NFL football player Zach Ertz, left, stops to take a photo with his wife, Julie Ertz, during a Super Bowl victory parade, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, in Philadelphia. The Eagles beat the New England Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl 52. (AP Photo/Christopher Szagola)
Christopher Szagola/Associated Press

Zach and Julie Ertz know a thing or two about championship pedigree.

On Tuesday, the U.S. women's national team, for which Julie stars at defender, began its World Cup title defense by routing Thailand 13-0. Following the record-breaking victory, controversy arose surrounding the U.S. continuing to celebrate goals well after the game was in hand.

Zach gave thoughtful commentary in defense of his wife and her team to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo:

"I got a lot of thoughts. I heard it. I read about it. First thought is the first tiebreaker in the World Cup group stage is the goal differential and so they would be sick to their stomach if they took their foot of the gas and for some reason finished second in the group based off goal differential.

"The second, which is probably is the most underlining thing, when you're on a good team the best way to build team chemistry is seeing other people as happy for your success as they are for their own. And seeing the girls celebrate they were for other people's success really I thought was crucial for them long term. Because you see how close these girls were getting, these women were getting."

U.S. head coach Jill Ellis mirrored Ertz's mentality.

"To be respectful to opponents is to play hard against opponents," she said after the game Tuesday, according to ProSoccerUSA's Alicia Rose DelGallo. "It's a tournament where goal differential is a criteria. I don't find it my job to try to harness my players, rein them in. This is what they've dreamt about. This is it for them. This is a world championship."

Zach won Super Bowl LII as the tight end of the Philadelphia Eagles, while Julie captured the 2015 World Cup with USWNT.

The U.S. next plays Sunday against Chile in its second game in Group F.