One of the USA's most veteran players, the gutsy Mitts earned her first cap in 1999. From 2004-2010 she played in almost every game the USA played, starting most of them, almost exclusively at right back. Mitts made her third appearance in the Olympic Games when she started during the USA's 3-0 victory against Colombia on July 28, 2012, as the U.S. clinched a quarterfinal berth in the London Olympics.
CHICAGO (March 13, 2013) – Heather Mitts, one of just three women’s soccer players to win three Olympic gold medals, has announced her retirement from club and country.
The 34-year-old Mitts retires after having played 137 times for the United States, good for 18th on the USA’s all-time caps list and sixth-best for a defender. She debuted for the USA back in February of 1999, wearing the U.S. jersey for the first time against Finland in Orlando, Fla.
Mitts was a member of the USA’s 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medal teams as well as the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Team. She played in nine career Olympic matches including a memorable performance in the 2008 gold medal game victory against Brazil. She scored two goals in her career, both game-winners.
“The time has come for me to move onto a new stage of my career,” said Mitts. “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 U.S. 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.”
For the USA, she started 104 of her 137 games and played in her last match on Dec. 15, 2012, against China in Boca Raton, Fla., coming on in the last 15 minutes for Christie Rampone in the state where she had a highly successful college career.
The 5-foot-5 right back always played bigger than her size and after breaking into the U.S. team full-time in 2004, played almost every game for the USA through 2008, aside from when she was out injured. She was a First-Team All-American at the University of Florida where she helped the Gators to an NCAA title in 1998. She ended her college career as Florida’s all-time leader in games played, games started and minutes.
“Nothing worthwhile is ever easy,” said Mitts. “It's a game but it's something we all love to do. I will miss the camaraderie more than anything and the chance to compete every day to be the best in the world. My teammates were my bridesmaids, confidants, source of inspiration and family and always made me look good on the field. Soccer has given me so many opportunities and has been a positive and humbling teacher. I feel completely fulfilled and it’s that perfect time to move on. I leave with a smile on my face and happiness in my heart.”
Mitts, who played in both former professional leagues, for the Philadelphia Charge in the WUSA and the Boston Breakers, Philadelphia Independence and the Atlanta Beat in WPS, was allocated to the Boston Breakers for the new NWSL before deciding to retire.
Full name is Heather Blaine Mitts … Graduated with a degree in advertising … Worked for ESPN as a sideline reporter on college football during the 2005 seasons … Served as a studio analyst for ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 during the 2003 and 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cups and was the sideline reporter for several MLS broadcasts in 2005 and 2006 … Has done color commentary for Sunshine Network and for Fox Sports South on women’s college soccer games … Appeared on the cover of Philadelphia Magazine in June of 2002 as one of the city’s “Sexiest Singles” … Was voted sexiest player in the WUSA on Playboy.com during the 2001 season … Also was voted ESPN.com’s “Sexiest Female Athlete” in 2004 … The first soccer player ever to appear in FHM in a five-page photo spread … Was on the cover of the Sports Illustrated for Women college preview issue in 1999 … Also appeared in the 2005 SI Swimsuit Issue with then-fiancé, now-husband A.J. Feeley, a quarterback with the St. Louis Rams … Was married on Feb. 13, 2010 in Mexico … Co-hosted the “Tailgate Show” on Comcast SportsNet, the pre-game for the Philadelphia Eagles home games in 2004 … Ran with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain in 1999 … Loves watching and playing sports … Traveling, food and wine are her passions … Loves to play golf, tennis and squash … Has a website at www.heathermitts.com … Father, Don, a cardiac surgeon at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, played basketball at Kentucky under Adolph Rupp … Holds a soccer camp every summer in her hometown of Cincinnati … Is the co-owner of D1 Sports, a sports-specific training facility in Cincinnati.
Played at Florida from 1996-1999 and graduated as the all-time leader in games played (95), starts (94) and minutes played (7,547) … Only game she did not start was the very first game of her freshman year … Helped the Gators to it’s first and only NCAA title in women’s soccer in 1998 … Helped Florida win the SEC title all four years of her career … Was named Most Inspirational Player as a freshman at UF and was team MVP as a senior … Was an NSCAA First-Team All-American as a senior and Third-Team as a junior … Named to the NCAA All-Tournament after the NCAA Championship run and All-SEC First-Team as a junior … Was also a SEC All-Academic pick … High School: Was a First-Team All-State selection as a junior and senior at St. Ursula Academy, which went 70-5-10 during her career, winning the 1993 state title.