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From The PSL Soccer Desk: US Defender Heather Mitts Says Goodbye

Mitts

Today US defender Heather Mitts said goodbye to the National Team, her teammates and fans. The news of Mitt’s retiring came just hours after the US Women had won the Algarve Cup final in Portugal. Mittsy, as she was known, will certainly be missed by her teammates and fans alike. She is one of only three players for the US women to have won three Gold Medals. Those Gold’s came in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

Mitts began her WNT career in 1999 against Finland in Orlando, Florida and played her last match on December 15, 2012 in Boca Raton, Florida, a state that she is all too well known in. Heather played her college soccer at the University of Florida where she was a first team all American and helped the Gators to a National Championship in 1998. She is also the University of Florida’s all-time leader in games played, games started and minutes played. Mitts ends her National Team career with 137 CAPS and two goals. Both of her goals were game winners, one of which was in the 2008 Olympics.

Mitts had a loyal band of fans known as the  “Mittsfits,” who will certainly be missing the outgoing prankster of the Women’s National Team. Anytime you saw Mitts, it was usually with a smile on her face, unless she was on the field, then she looked more like a ninja than anything. She was notorious for pulling pranks on her teammates, so you always had to watch your back when she was around. Mitts was a solid defender that will truly be missed. The next generation of players will never get to know the player that was so much fun to be around.

In her statement Mitts says that “The time has come for me to move onto a new stage of my career. I truly appreciate the women who paved the way, to my friends and dear teammates that I will never forget. I will miss the little things… the travel by plane, train and mini van, the locker room moments, keeping my teammates on their toes and nothing will ever compare to putting on that US jersey. It’s been an amazing journey with some obstacles but in the very end I feel so fortunate that we were able to close on a golden note. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. It’s a game but it’s something we all love to do. I will miss the comradery more than anything & the chance to compete everyday to be the best in the world. My teammates were my bridesmaids, confidants, source of inspiration & family and always made me look good on the field. Soccer has given me so many opportunities & has been a positive & humbling teacher. I feel completely fulfilled and its that perfect time to move on. I leave with a smile on my face and happiness in my heart.”

Heather will stay connected to the game that she has played for the last 28 years, as she will be working as a sideline analyst and ambassador for the Philadelphia Union while also doing other soccer related projects. Mitts was allocated to the Boston Breakers of the NWSL before making the decision to retire from the game, but I would expect to see her at a few Breaker’s games cheering on her team. Before she could take the field in the NWSL, Mitts was a part of the WUSA playing for the Philadelphia Charge and the WPS where she played for the Philadelphia Independence and Atlanta Beat.

While Heather Mitts will be missed, her future certainly looks bright and everyone knows that you surely have not seen the last of her quite yet.

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