Long-time U.S. Women’s National Team defender Heather Mitts, who was allocated to the Boston Breakers roster in January, called it a career on Thursday.
Mitts collected 137 caps for the U.S., her first coming in February 1999. She also played for the Breakers in 2009, and also featured for the Philadelphia Independence and Atlanta Beat. She began her club career with the Philadelphia Charge in 2001.
“The time has come for me to move onto a new stage of my career,” said Mitts in a statement. “I truly appreciate the women who paved the way, to my friends and dear teammates that I will never forget. 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.”
The 34-year-old defender won three Olympic gold medals (2004, 2008 and 2012), and was a regular with the National Team for the better part of the past decade. Her final appearance for the U.S. came in a 4-1 over China on Dec. 15, 2012.
Although she did not play club soccer last year, she was allocated to the Breakers by the newly-formed NWSL in January. Her experience at the international level was expected to bolster a young Boston back line.
“We’re obviously disappointed not to have Mitts this year, but she’s been a vital part of what we’ve done in the past, and I think she’ll continue to be a part of the sport,” Breakers Head Coach Lisa Cole said in a statement. “We wish her all the best.”
During her illustrious 14-year international career, she played in three Olympic tournaments, and was a part of the 2011 World Cup roster. A torn ACL prevented her participation in the 2007 tournament. Both of her two career goals were game-winners.
“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. 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 won’t be gone from the game for long. On Saturday, she will serve as sideline reporter for TCN’s broadcast of the Philadelphia Union-New England Revolution match at PPL Park.