The Philadelphia Independence added one of the most well-known faces in women’s sports to its growing roster yesterday with the signing of Women’s National Team star Heather Mitts.
Joining the Independence is a homecoming for Mitts, as she played professionally with the WUSA’s Philadelphia Charge from 2001 to 2003. A skilled defender and fan-favorite, her return to the Philadelphia pro sports scene is a tremendous boost to the new Independence expansion team as well as to the area’s soccer community.
According to Mitts, “Philly has always had a special place in my heart, so I'm very excited to have this opportunity. It’s where I began my professional career and most likely where I will end it."
Mitts added, "I've been impressed with the organization and its plans for the team. I'm thrilled by the depth of players already acquired and look forward to playing in front of the passionate Philly fans once again.”
Since her time with the Charge, Mitts has had incredible success in the WPS and at the international level, and in March of 2009 she became only the 25th female player in U.S. history to earn her 100th cap.
Mitts has captured the Olympic Gold twice with the United States, earning her first medal in Athens in 2004 and a second in Bejiing last year, where she started all six matches for the U.S. Team. She has been a consistent defensive presence at outside back for the U.S. over the last 10 years and will compete with the WNT again at the end of October against reigning European Champion, Germany.
During Mitt’s previous tenure in Philadelphia, she started all 51 games in her three seasons with the Charge and helped her team make the playoffs the first two years.
She was named a WUSA All-Star in 2003 and tallied eight assists during her WUSA career. She was equally as effective in the WPS for the Boston Breakers this season, starting every game and providing leadership and experience for the young team.
Mitts was placed with Boston in the WPS National Team Allocation last year, but became a free agent on Sept. 30, 2009.
An Ohio native, Mitts attended the University of Florida where she led the Gators to their first and only NCAA Championship in 1999. Twice named an NCAA All-American during her career, she was also voted Most Inspirational Player and MVP by her teammates.
Mitt’s work-rate and professionalism extend beyond the soccer field, demonstrated by her work as analyst and commentator for major sports networks such as ESPN, Fox Sports South, Comcast Sports Net, ABC, and the Sunshine Network.
Independence General Manager Terry Foley knows that Mitt’s impact will be invaluable next season. “Heather’s value as a player and team ambassador will be an incredible asset to our organization."
"She has nearly a decade of National Team experience, a connection with the Philadelphia communities, and is fully committed to making the Independence the best team in the league. We are ecstatic to have Heather as a part of the team in 2010.”
Be one of the first fans to welcome Heather Mitts back to Philadelphia! Purchase season tickets now and receive an exclusive Heather Mitts t-shirt free!
Don't miss out on any of the 2010 action and secure your season tickets today at www.independencetix.com. Shirts are limited to the first 100 new season ticket holders. Media Inquires are to be directed to Sherry Amos at 856-415-2029. Also visit www.wpsphillyindependence.com to stay in touch with all the other exciting news the teams has to share.
The previous story was excerpted from a press release by the WPS and reposted with permission by Bleacher Report writer Todd Civin. Civin is a freelance writer for the Bleacher Report, Seamheads and Sports, Then and Now and a supporter of the award winning childrens book A Glove of Their Own.