Exclusive Training With U.S. National Team Defender Heather Mitts

With more than 100 caps in international play, it's no surprise that defender Heather Mitts was named to the U.S. Women's National team for the 2010 Women's World Cup Qualifying tournament. The action kicks off Oct0ber 28, when the U.S. faces Haiti in the opening match in Cancun, Mexico.

We met up with Mitts in Cincinnati this summer, around the time that city's D1 training facility opened its doors. (Mitts, a Cincy native, is a co-owner.) After some meet-and-greets and a tour of the facility, the two-time Olympic gold medalist rolled in for what we thought would be a light training session. After all, Mitts was in town visiting family while on break from the Women's Professional Soccer league, where she bolsters the backfield for the Philadelphia Independence.

My, how wrong we were. Mitts charmed us for a few, then showed off her superb ball handling skills during an on-field speed and agility session.

Next up was the weight training phase of the day's workout. The essence of her strength training was quality over quantity, as she hit a series of four lifts with a focus on core stability. What you won't see in the video is Mitts performing Bodyweight Push-Ups and Band Pulldowns as active rest between sets.

Mitts loves working out. During her college years as a Florida Gator, she says, "we worked with a lot of football guys...doing Hang Cleans and Squats."

Nowadays, it's all about functional strength she can apply on the playing field. "For me, it's really important to weight lift so that I can compete with the girls that are larger than me and that try to knock me all over the place," she says.

Check this highlight video of Mitts in action and view the full video library of each soccer drill and exercise she performed at D1.


Zac Clark Zac Clark - Zac Clark is a freelance writer who formerly served as STACK's Custom Content Manager. Prior to joining STACK in 2008, he served as an editorial assistant for USA Hockey Magazine at the USA Hockey national headquarters in Colorado Springs. He graduated from Bowling Green State University with a bache
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