Dec. 13 (UPI) -- United States Women's National Team midfielder Julie Ertz has been voted U.S. Soccer's Female Athlete of the Year for 2019.
Ertz edged teammate and FIFA Women's World Player of the Year Megan Rapinoe for the honor Friday. She also won the award in 2017 and is the 10th player in the award's history to win more than once.
Ertz is the only one of those players who have won multiple times, in addition to winning U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year, which she won in 2012.
"It's been a whirlwind of a year and one that I'm extremely grateful for," Ertz said. "My team lifted me up in so many ways and our experiences on and off the field in 2019 just encapsulate the love I have for the national team and for wearing this crest and what it represents."
Ertz, 27, scored just once in 2019, but logged 1,755 minutes and started a team-high 22 games. She was the backbone of the U.S. defense during its World Cup winning run, logging 474 minutes in his six starts at the tournament.
The Mesa, Ariz., native initially played as a center back for the United States before move to a new role as a defensive midfielder. Ertz was known for consistently winning balls in the air and sparking the U.S. transition into attack mode against their World Cup foes. She also took several set-piece kicks for the United States.
Ertz earned 42 percent of the vote to win U.S. Soccer's Female Athlete of the Year. Teammates Rose Lavelle, Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan and Alyssa Naeher joined Rapinoe in Ertz in being nominated for the honor.
Votes are collected from men's, women's and youth national team staffs and coaches, national team players who have earned at least one cap [appearance] during the calendar year, coaches from other leagues and former players, administrators, and media members.
Ertz's award comes after Rapinoe received several honors in 2019, including the Ballon d'Or, Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year, the Golden Boot and Golden Ball at the FIFA Women's World Cup and FIFA World Player of the Year.
Alex Morgan won U.S. Soccer's Female Athlete of the Year in 2018, following Ertz's 2017 honor. Mia Hamm won the award five consecutive times from 1994 to 1998. Carin Jennings, April Heinrichs, Michelle Akers, Tiffeney Milbrett, Abby Wambach, Kristine Lilly and Lloyd are the others who have won the award more than once.
Wambach won the award a record six times.