Rio-Bound Soccer Star Julie Johnston: 5 Things to Know


07/25/2016 AT 12:20 PM EDT

It’s safe to say that soccer player Julie Johnston is having an amazing year.

After triumphing against Japan in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup with the women’s national soccer team, the 24-year-old star defender is looking to win her first gold medal (and get Team USA their fifth) at the upcoming summer Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

But there’s more to Johnston than her soccer stats and gold-medal ambitions. Keep reading for five thing to know about her life both on and off the field.

1. Her Soccer Obsession Began at Age 4

Johnston admits her original motivation behind wanting to play soccer was to follow in the cleat-trodden footsteps of her sister, and she fell in love with the sport at the young age of 4. She continued playing and, after developing an impressive resume with her participation on two different club teams and with Santa Clara University’s women’s soccer team, the Under-20 USWNT coach invited her to play for the 2012 World Cup, where her career really took off.

2. Her Fiancé is a Tight-End for the Philadelphia Eagles

Johnston met NFL player Zach Ertz back in college during a Stanford University baseball game. (Ertz played for Stanford’s football team while Johnston attended nearby Santa Clara.) After Ertz was drafted to the Eagles in 2013, the two had been playing the long-distance game until Ertz took the soccer star back to the stadium where they met and popped the question.

“We’re in the same page as athletes in our career in the sense of how driven we are, so we got that connection right away,” Johnston told PEOPLE about the relationship. The two have been busy all summer planning their wedding, while maintaining their crazy athletic careers in two different cities.

Rio-Bound Soccer Star Julie Johnston: 5 Things to Know| U.S. Women's Soccer Team, Olympics, Summer Olympics 2016

Julie Johnston

Harry How / Getty

3. She’s BFFs With Her Mom

In all of the soccer star’s home videos, her mom is always in the background cheering “Go Julie!” Between driving her to practices and watching her games from the sidelines the athlete’s mom, Kristi, has been there every step of the way.

4. She Shops ‘Til She Drops

Whether she’s walking around a new city or heading to the mall, Johnston can find almost any store to wander inside of and come out with a new wardrobe. Stores like Express, H&M, Aritzia and Zara are some of her favorites, but the defender prides herself on her ability to “find anything at the mall.”

5. She’s Binge-watching Lost

While the soccer player is off the field, you may find her binge-watching. She’s currently working through the hit series Lost. Between Netflix and FaceTiming her fiancé, Johnston loves to relax and eat some mangos – her favorite food – during her downtime, and recuperate for her next soccer match.

For more of PEOPLE’s Olympic coverage, pick up our collector’s edition, The Best of the Games, on sale now.



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