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Gator Great Heather Mitts announced her soccer retirement today.

Wednesday March 13, 2013Gator Great Heather Mitts Announces Retirement

Gainesville, Fla.

Gator Great Heather Mitts announced her soccer retirement today.

“Wish I could play forever! The time has come to hang up the cleats.”


That is the Tweet posted by Gator great Heather Mitts earlier tonight.


Heather Mitts

Heather Mitts picked up All-America and All-SEC honors for her play on the backline in 1998 & 1999.

Heather Mitts celebrates Florida’s 1998 NCAA Championship.

Heather Mitts made her first U.S. Senior National Team appearance in 1999.

Heather Mitts and Abby Wambach (they were Gator teammates in 1998 and 1999) celebrate the U.S.’s Olympic gold in 2004.

Heather Mitts picked up second Olympic gold in 2008.

Heather Mitts and Abby Wambach were again part of U.S. Olympic gold in 2012.

As a Gator, Mitts earned All-America and All-SEC honors in her final two seasons (1998 & ’99). Mitts is third on UF’s career list with 7,547 minutes played and is tied for fourth with 95 matches played. The defender also was a NCAA Championship All-Tournament team selection when the Gators claimed the 1998 national title. Mitts will be inducted into the Gator Athletics Hall of Fame on April 5.


This past August, Mitts was part of the U.S. Women’s National Team which claimed its third consecutive Olympic gold. Mitts has been a part of each of those Olympic gold medal teams. She also was a member of the U.S.’s 2011 silver medal team at the 2011 World Cup. Mitts, who has been a part of the U.S. National Team since 1999, owns more than 100 caps.


Here’s what Mitts posted on her Facebook page this evening:


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.


I will continue to stay close to the sport as I will be working as a sideline analyst & ambassador for the Philadelphia Union while taking part in other soccer related projects. I also look forward to starting a family and becoming an ultimate soccer mom.


A special thanks to Ohio ODP, my numerous club teams, St. Ursula Academy and the University of Florida. To Becky Burleigh, Vic Campbell & Mark Kirkorian  for preparing me to reach the next level & James Galanis for helping me reach my full potential. 

April Heinrich, Greg Ryan, Pia Sundage & Tom Sermanni for giving me an opportunity to play for the best team in the world. 

Thanks to the numerous trainers & supporting staff over the years. Omi Iwasaki for helping me come back from my ACL. My sponsors TRX, Polk, GNC and especially Under Armour who has let me protect the house since 2004. My agent, Dan Levy and most of all my loving parents, supportive extended family and wonderful husband. 


Its amazing how 28 years of playing a sport I love and always will, can fly by. From my first cap til now, the growth of the sport has been profound. I look forward to the launch & success of the NWSL, and rooting on my Boston Breakers. Old ladies club of Christie Rampone & Shannon Boxx keep the flame alive! I leave with so much gratitude to US Soccer for allowing us the right to play for our country. Lastly the fans. Your constant love and support for the sport and this team is among the best in the world. I look forward to joining you to cheer on this amazing team.


"Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened."


Thanks to all the people who have made this dream possible. 


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