Zach Ertz witnessed history in Vancouver last year, as the United States Women's National Soccer Team captured its third FIFA Women's World Cup title and first since 1999. The victory, though, meant even more to him. He wasn't just watching these women win on one of the biggest stages for their country. He was celebrating his girlfriend, defender Julie Johnston, as she achieved a dream.
Over the next few weeks, he's hoping for a similar outcome as his now fiancée and her teammates again compete, this time for Gold at the Olympics in Brazil.
However, Ertz will not be in attendance for any of the games. Preparing for the upcoming NFL season in Philadelphia, the tight end will have to settle for watching Johnston compete from home, the NovaCare Complex or wherever his training may take him at that time.
Even with schedule conflicts, Ertz will tune in for every last second of the matches, even when he can't watch them live. He'll be proudly cheering on his future wife every step of the way as she represents the United States.
"It's tough. The meeting schedule here is very extreme but I think they'll have (the games) on NBC.com probably, where I'll be able to replay them," Ertz said. "I think the second game (Saturday against France at 4 PM EST) I'll be able to watch live because it's happening during our dinner break. Other than that, I'll just watch the replays."
It's safe to say the United States started off strong on Wednesday, when it defeated New Zealand, 2-0, in its first match of the Games. Johnston, a starter, and the rest of the team's defenders were dominant, leading the U.S. to its 14th shutout of 2016. Throughout the year, they've allowed only four goals en route to a 15-0-1 record.
Ertz, while thrilled for his fiancée, did have some worries about her travels to Brazil. With fears surrounding the recent Zika virus outbreak, it's no surprise the tight end felt a bit uneasy. But, he knows what this honor means and wasn't going to stand in Johnston's way.
"I've expressed my concerns and everything that I've brought up, she shot down. At the end of the day, she's really excited," Ertz said. "She's one of 18 players in the United States to have this opportunity. Obviously, you wish the situation was a little different surrounding the Olympics, not only for the females but all the athletes down there, but they have the best treatment right now."
With one game now under its belt, the United States will take on France before a showdown with Colombia on Tuesday at 6 PM.
Obviously, as the Olympics continue on, each match will grow increasingly important and Ertz understands the pressure Johnston is under because he's felt it before too.
Both being professional athletes, they are fully aware of what the other is going through. Ertz and Johnston have taken their biggest steps at the same times. In 2013, Ertz was drafted by the Eagles. That same year, Johnston had her first call up to the National Team.
Neither one, though, has taken the time to reflect on how far they've come. They're both too busy pushing to achieve even more.
"We'll realize it down the road," Ertz said. "At the time being, neither of us is focused on the accomplishments that we've had. When we're done with our careers, we'll be able to look back and reflect on the things we've done but neither of us are finished or have reached our potential yet."