As a women’s soccer star, Heather Mitts has millions of little girls who admire her. Now, millions of grown men will too.
Soccer hooligans everywhere drink, shout, head butt, weep and riot for their teams. Everywhere, that is, except in the United States. “There is a guy in San Diego who shaves his head and leaves some patches of hair that he colors like a soccer ball,” says Heather Mitts of the WUSA’s Philadelphia Charge. “But that’s as crazy as it gets.”
Having traveled the world with the US national soccer team, the 25-year-old defender has seen her share of fanatical foreign crowds and taken on a slew of equally intimidating players. As Heather sits on the Charge’s practice-field bleachers pointing out her battle scars (“Slide tackling here, bicycle accident here, shaving here . . .”), she takes a moment to scold FHM for her entry in the May issue’s list of the world’s 50 most eligible women.
“Being on the list was flattering, but I wish you hadn’t mentioned that I dated [Philadelphia Phillies outfielder] Pat Burrell,” says the Cincinnati native, who is now seeing Eagles backup quarterback A.J. Feeley. “It was just a little fling—I don’t know why people make a big deal out of it. I felt bad that A.J. had to read that.”
If you and A.J. get married, your name will be Heather Feeley. Doesn’t that sound a little porny?
Actually, someone just told me that Heather Mitts sounded like a porn-star name. I used to have it bad because there are so many things you can rhyme with Mitts. I got them all the time when I was younger. The boys at school were so mean.
Speaking of being mean, Philly fans have been known to boo Santa Claus. Do they show any more restraint when there are women on the field?
So far, we haven’t had any booing. The majority of our fans are families, so you don’t really get the typical Philly fan at our games. My male fans might think I’m attractive, but they totally respect my athletic ability. At the University of Florida in Gainesville, where I played in college, the guys were like, “Let’s go see some girls slide tackle and kick the crap out of each other.”
Is it hard to stay in shape in one of the fattest cities in America?
One of the things I brag about in Philly is that we have amazing restaurants.
I out-eat A.J. and make fun of him because he’s 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, and there’s no way I should be eating more than he does. Thank goodness I play soccer and run a lot. I might as well enjoy it while I can.
Can you school the guys in soccer?
We’d play pickup games at UF and, yeah, it’s pretty safe to say we beat them. It gets physical because guys, with their testosterone, get a little heated when girls show them up. One guy gave me a concussion when he fell on me and then rolled over me. When
I got up, I couldn’t see.
Is that the best you got?
During the SEC championship my freshman year, I was wearing screw-in cleats, which stick in the grass better. When I was running and turning, my cleat stuck and I heard a snap. I was screaming because I had just broken my ankle, but my coach was saying, “Hold on, we’re about to score a goal.” We almost did.
Do you bicycle kick?
No. I’m a defender. I’m no good at scoring goals—that’s why I stick to defense.
What sport has the sexiest athletes?
Any time you are feminine and athletic, it’s sexy. A lot of it has to do with what you’re wearing—soccer players have so much on that it’s hard to look sexy. It helps when Venus and Serena Williams are wearing those cute dresses and have great bodies to show off.
Do girls stink when they sweat?
We’re not as bad as guys, but girls do have a certain funk. I definitely sweat, but there are some girls on our team who are out there for two minutes and their shirts are already soaked. I’ve been blessed with good genes as far as that’s concerned. Thank you, Mom and Dad.
When you went on the late-night show Last Call With Carson Daly, what o’clock shadow was his beard?
He was clean-shaven—he must have cleaned up for me that day. Carson really didn’t know anything about soccer, and asked if we have different size balls and if they were pink. I asked him out on a date as a joke.
How much do you squat?
I haven’t done squats since college, but it was ridiculous back then. My pants probably went up two sizes because my quads and my derriere were so muscular and big then. I’ve lost that butt muscle because the stuff I do now uses less weight and more reps.
What would get you to celebrate Brandi Chastain–style and rip off your shirt?
I don’t think I could do that and rain on her parade. Besides, I’d have to score, which is never going to happen.