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MensajePublicado: Jue Ago 09, 2018 9:16 pm  The countdown Responder citando Back to top

Julie Ertz has a world championship and Player of the Year honors in her sport. So she’s already got an edge on husband Zach – that is Kendall Wright Color Rush Jersey , if they were competitive.

She says the athletic couple doesn’t really try to one-up each other all that much.

”Maybe in board games,” she says with a laugh.

Julie and Zach are currently the sporting world’s ”It” couple. Julie is a midfielder for the World Cup-winning U.S. national soccer team, while her husband Zach is a tight end for the Super Bowl-bound Philadelphia Eagles. The joke is that they both play football, just different kinds.

Just as Zach was in Canada for the 2015 World Cup final cheering on Julie, she’ll be rooting for him on Sunday in Minneapolis. In fact, she’s already there, acting as a correspondent for the U.S. team’s Twitter feed .

The couple was married last March after a romance that started when Julie, then Julie Johnston, was an emerging soccer star at Santa Clara and Zach was playing at Stanford.

Julie’s career took off in 2015, well before Zach reached the NFL’s biggest stage, when she was selected by national team coach Jill Ellis for the World Cup roster. At 23, she was the second-youngest player on the squad for soccer’s premier tournament.

”You train as if whenever you’re called upon you’re ready,” she said. ”I think that was a huge mentality that was important for me. I know I really wanted to make the team, but I knew that I had a long way to go. So I tried every day to take it day by day and really learn anything I could at practice, and do every extra thing that I thought I needed to do.”

Johnston played on a backline that included Meghan Klingenberg, Becky Sauerbrunn and Ali Krieger. The defense was anchored by Hope Solo, who was spectacular in goal. The group went 540 minutes during the tournament without conceding a goal on the way to a 5-2 final victory over Japan.

With her trademark baby-blue headband http://www.chiefsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-breeland-speaks-jersey , Johnston quickly proved she was one of the sport’s fastest-rising stars. Today, she’s introspective about her world championship.

”I could give you 1,000 moments that were special, but looking back it was the journey, and everything that I learned about myself and what I didn’t think I could do,” she said. ”I learned a lot, and it really pushed my love for the sport even more than I already loved it.”

She shifted to a defensive midfielder position with the national team last year and did well. At the Tournament of Nations she came in as a substitute and scored the winner of a 4-3 victory in the 89th minute.

She played at that position the rest of the season, scoring six goals, including two against New Zealand. In December she was selected the national team’s Player of the Year, earning more than half of all the votes.

But probably the happiest thing she did last year was marry Zach. The two tied the knot in March in California.

Zach, 27, is in his fifth season with the Eagles. He broke out this season with 824 receiving yards, behind only New England’s Rob Gronkowski (1,084) and Kansas City’s Travis Kelce (1,038) among the ends. His eight touchdowns were double his previous career high, and he had eight catches for 93 yards in the NFC championship game.

The two were apart when the Eagles clinched their spot in the Super Bowl with a 38-7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. Julie was in San Diego for a national team match against Denmark. She was among the players who scored in the 5-1 victory.

Afterward, when she was told Zach was going to the Super Bowl Alexander Alexeyev Capitals Jersey , she burst into tears .

”Zach knew I was there obviously in spirit and I was praying for him and I was excited for him and cheering him from miles away,” she said. ”It’s a part of our job and we sacrifice a lot, and time’s the biggest thing. But to find out that they are going to the Super Bowl was amazing, exciting, emotional. It’s really cool to see your loved one’s hard work pay off.”

That’s part of the mutual respect their marriage is built on.

”She understands how hard I worked and how hard this team worked to get to this point. We’re each other’s No. 1 fan. Our relationship wasn’t built on the athletic success. We truly love each other and that’s the most important thing,” Zach said.

To that end, Julie said it’s Zach’s turn in the spotlight.

”This is his time,” she said. ”I’m here. I’m a fan! I’m going to be in the stands, cheering with everyone else.”



This was not exactly the same shot from Kevin Durant.

Game 3 of the NBA Finals again, yes.

Left wing pull-up, yes.

Back in Cleveland, yes.

Final minute again, yes.

But this one was deeper than his dagger was a year ago – and it cut deeper as well. And on a night where Stephen Curry couldn’t shoot and Klay Thompson wasn’t much better, Durant put the Golden State Warriors on his slender shoulders and carried them to the brink of becoming back-to-back NBA champions for the first time.

Durant’s 33-footer was the final act in his 43-point night, and the Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 110-102 in Game 3 of the finals on Wednesday night to take a 3-0 lead in the title series for the second straight season. A year ago, his shot from a bit closer – 26 feet, officially – put the Warriors ahead to stay in what became a five-point win. This time Albert Wilson Color Rush Jersey , the longer one put Golden State up by six and sent fans starting to head toward the exits.

”Different game, different season, different feel,” Durant shrugged afterward, knowing full well how similar it was to the one he hit last season and knowing what it means right now. ”Just a different vibe around the team.”

No, it isn’t.

That team had a championship vibe. Soon, maybe Friday, maybe not until Monday, this team will have the same.

This was why the Warriors needed Durant, and this is why Durant needed the Warriors. He was an elite player before he went to Golden State. He’s now about to be a two-time champion because he went to Golden State. And it’s a reminder to the rest of the NBA that when the free-agency shopping kiosks open on July 1, this is the team to be chasing.

They did not have a super regular season. They are a Superteam, without question.

To win any NBA Finals game, on the road, when LeBron James has a triple-double, when they trailed most of the night, when the deficit was as many as 13 early, when Curry and Thompson shot a combined 7 for 27 … only a Superteam can pull that off.

”It’s almost like playing the Patriots http://www.cowboysauthorizedshops.com/authentic-jihad-ward-jersey ,” Cleveland superstar LeBron James said Wednesday night. ”You can’t have mistakes. They’re not going to beat themselves. You know, so when you’re able to either force a miscue on them, you have to be able to capitalize and you have to be so in tuned and razor sharp and focused every single possession. You can’t have miscommunication, you can’t have flaws … because they’re going to make you pay.”

James had a triple-double. He’s three rebounds shy of averaging one in this series. He even had the highlight play of the series, a shot (which was really a pass) off the backboard to himself that he rebounded and viciously dunked. And he’s still down 3-0.

He’s not conceding. But he is clearly tipping his cap to the Warriors, his nemesis in each of the last four Junes and a team that’s one win shy of beating him in three of those series.

”That’s what championship teams do,” James said. ”That’s what championship players do. They rise to the occasion, and that’s what Golden State has done the last four years.”

Durant has made quite a career out of rising to the occasion.

He was amused earlier in this series by a question that suggested the defining moment of his career was the 3-pointer in Game 3 last season. (”You know, I had a pretty solid career before I hit that shot, I felt,” Durant said.) He will be equally amused when he gets asked if the shot he made Wednesday will also be a defining moment. He’s been an MVP, a Finals MVP, an Olympic gold medalist already.

This is just what’s next.

”I was definitely excited,” said Durant, who tends to try and keep emotions to himself. ”It’s hard to make shots at this level in the NBA and I understand that. But at the same time I knew the game wasn’t over.”

It may as well have been. Cleveland got within four on the next possession after Durant’s dagger, but never any closer.

”They have a number of guys that can bail their team out on any play, any game Kyle Freeland Colorado Rockies Jersey , any possession,” Cleveland’s Kevin Love said. ”And he’s been that for them a number of times. Defenses try to plan for him, but when you’re 6-11, 7-feet and you’re shooting a lazy pullup on the left wing from 27 feet that’s pretty tough to guard.”

For the record, Durant made every effort to defer the credit Wednesday night. He didn’t think his shot was the biggest of the game. He thought Curry’s lone 3-pointer in 10 tries – one that put the Warriors up by four with 2:38 remaining – carried more weight, and he might have been right.

But Durant finished it off. The game. The season. The title, basically.

”You know, we’ve got a lot of depth,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. ”We’ve got a lot of guys who can play, and they’re all chipping in. But we should probably go back to Kevin Durant, shouldn’t we? That was amazing what he did.”



Tim Reynolds is a national basketball writer for The Associated Press. Reach him at treynolds(at)ap.org



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