What do you get when you bring together two world-class athletes to try to tell the story of how they first met? Plenty of competitive ribbing, and a whole lot of friendly, rivaling narratives.
That’s exactly what Super Bowl champion Zach Ertz and his soccer star wife Julie Ertz brought to the table when they were jointly interviewed by The Players’ Tribune, Derek Jeter’s new media company specifically catered toward athletes. For starters, the pair, who met at a Stanford baseball game back in 2011, couldn’t quite agree on what circumstances brought them together in the first place.
“Julie is going to tell you there was only one seat open at the baseball game. I know it,” Zach, 27, told the site, to which Julie, 26, asserted, “There was only one seat open. For sure. See, he likes to make it seem like he was really courageous.”
By Julie’s telling, Zach wedged into the only seat left in the student section of the stadium (Zach insists that he chose to sit next to his future wife, saying there were “plenty of empty seats”).
“I remember Zach was pretty shy,” Julie said. “His big move was to offer me some of his sunflower seeds. It was a pretty good move, actually. For the rest of the game, I did most of the conversation legwork, and any time there was an awkward pause or something, he’d just offer me more seeds. I probably ate like 500 seeds that night.”
One Year Anniversary Baby! What a day to celebrate a year of calling you my husband, my best friend and my number 1 fan. The day I said I Do was the most amazing day of my life. Love is truly the most beautiful thing god ever created. You make me feel like a Queen. Thank you for being everything I need and more. 2017 was full of ups and downs and you hubby were by far the best gift of all. And now that I am in tears thinking about how much I love you I am beyond excited to start year number 2! Thank you for supporting me, loving me unconditionally and making me laugh everyday all day. You the best boo. 🎶“If touching love is touching god no wonder I am in heaven when I am with you”. 🎶
Since then, the couple have been each other’s biggest fans, with Zach cheering Julie on in her soccer matches and Julie cheering Zach on at his football games. A problem arose when Julie was overseas in Denmark competing with the U.S. women’s national team for soccer this past winter at the same time Zach and the Philadelphia Eagles were competing in the NFC championship game for a spot in the Super Bowl.
“It was a whole thing, like … Do I check my phone at halftime? Do I have the PR person give me some kind of a thumbs up or thumbs down or something?” Julie remembered of not being able to watch Zach’s game. “In the end, I decided to just try to lock in and forget it was even happening until the final whistle. Of course, at halftime, we got to the locker room, and I was looking at my teammates kind of cringing like, ‘Tell me! No, don’t tell me!’ Finally, someone just kind of said something vague, like, ‘They’re doing goo.’ And that was it. We went back out to the field, and I tried to block it out.”
After her game, Julie finally relented and demanded to know whether or not the Eagles had won—and found out they had.
“I just lost it,” she said. “So now there’s video of me crying on the Internet, forever. It was just so overwhelming, and I was so proud of him, because we’ve been on this ride every step of the way, together, ever since college.”
“The cool thing is that we’re able to lean on one another for motivation,” she added. “And anytime one of us is presented with a challenge, the other is always there for support. It’s funny, people always ask us if we train together, and we actually do, because our sports are so different that we can help each other in different areas.”
Fast-forward several months later, when the Eagles defeated the New England Patriots to take home the Super Bowl trophy, and her excitement skyrocketed through the roof. His, too.
“I’ll never take for granted how lucky I am to have the family that I do—and the wife I have in my corner,” Zach said. “Nobody will know everything we’ve been through together. The last year has been incredible, and I finally got my World Champions hat to put alongside hers in the house.”