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Postcard: Heather Mitts Checks in from Qinhuangdao

Every so often when the U.S. Women’s National Team plays out of the country, a player will write an e-postcard, filling in the fans back home on the happenings of the team, off field activities, and anything else on their mind. Today, defender Heather Mitts writes from Qinhuangdao, China, as the USA gets ready to take on Japan in its crucial second Group G match.

Ni hao from Qinhuangdao. It’s the day after a disappointing loss to Norway and the team is regrouping and getting ready to face Japan. Waking up this morning with the realization that things didn’t go the way we wanted them to last night was hard deal with, but we also know we have Japan and New Zealand in front of us and we can determine the outcome of those games.

We all just feel like everything that could have gone wrong in the first five minutes did, but there is nothing else we can do except put it behind us. I really don’t think it was nerves. It was just two unfortunate mistakes and that’s soccer sometimes. It just happened at a terrible time. When we were down 2-0, Norway is just great at sitting back and clogging up the field and even through we attacked a lot, they defended well and they’ve made big strides from the few times we played them this year.

I know this team is capable of so much more and I just hope we can show that in the next two games, and after.

With Pia, the players discussed things that didn’t work well and things we need to improve for the next game. With that done, it’s now a matter of looking forward and going through our usual rhythm for the day before a game. Today was a light recovery day. I just did some light weights, some core work and a light pool workout to rejuvenate legs.

The game against Norway was a physical and I’m a little banged up. There are the usual cleat marks and bruises, but nothing out of the ordinary and nothing I can’t play through. In any major tournament, pretty much every player takes a beating as the games pile up so we’re pretty used to that.

As the day progressed today, you could feel the energy returning to the team after the blow last night. That’s a good feeling and one we will carry into the match on Saturday.

Without training, today was pretty mellow. I sat on the balcony of my room that overlooks the ocean and read Under the Banner of Heaven. That will definitely keep your nose buried in a book for a while. Then a bunch of us went to watch the Italy-Honduras game, which was pretty one-sided for Italy, but it was nice to actually go watch another Olympic event. It was a good way to relax, but tomorrow, we’re back to business.

Tomorrow is the Opening Ceremonies and of course we can’t go as we are 200 miles away and getting ready for Japan. Even though we all wish we could be there, we’re all looking forward to watching it and I think that will make us feel the excitement of being at the Olympics even more.

Thanks to all the fans who got up early and will be getting up early on Saturday. The team really appreciates it and we are dedicated to coming together and showing what this team is all about.

Thanks for reading.

Over and out,