Wilmington University Women’s Athletic Programs Celebrate National Girls & Women in Sports Day with Heather Mitts
Friday, February 15, 2013 - New Castle, DE
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Wilmington Director of Athletics Linda Van Drie-Andrzjewski introducing Heather Mitts
Professional soccer player Heather Mitts addressing the women's programs at Wilmington University
Heather Mitts is one of three United States soccer players to have won three Olympic Gold Medals (2004, 2008, and 2012).
The Wilmington University women’s athletic programs took time away from the field and the court today to fully understand the honor and privilege they have of competing at the NCAA Division II level, participating in Wilmington’s National Girls & Women in Sports Day banquet at the Doberstein Admissions Center Auditorium on Friday afternoon.
The Lady Wildcat teams had a special guest speaker present her gratitude towards Title IX and the National Girls & Women in Sports Day, and how far it has come since her NCAA playing career at the University of Florida from 1996-1999.
With her three Olympic Gold Medals in stow, Heather Mitts walked the crowd through her days as a Gator, leading up to her most recent Olympic Gold Medal performance with the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team in London this past summer. From not starting her first game on the field at Florida, to overcoming multiple season altering injuries, to not being given a chance to make the roster for the London Olympics, Mitts explained the importance of self-drive and perseverance.
“The student-athletes have a rare opportunity as a college student and I wish I could go back and do it all over again,” Mitts, a Cincinnati native who is currently living in Philadelphia, said. “I wanted to express to the student-athletes to make the most of their athletic opportunities but as well as the academic part of being a college student.”
Each year a ceremony is held on Capitol Hill marling the Day. The event provided an opportunity to raise major issues for women in sports with our country’s leaders. Similar efforts take place at state and local levels.
The Day is a nationwide event with celebrations in all 50 states, as well as internationally. The National Association for Girls and Women in Sports coordinated community-based events nationally, which honor the achievements of girls and women in sports.
“I attribute my opportunities to Title IX and the growth of all women’s sports programs,” Mitts continued. “When I was growing up I didn’t have a woman athlete to really look up to. Now girls have stars to look up to. And thanks to the growth of Title IX, young girls have those role models to look up to and aspire to be.”
The Women’s Sports Foundation organized the first official National Women in Sports Day celebration in Washington, D.C., to remember and honor Flo Hyman in 1987. Title IX is a law passed in 1972 that requires gender equity for boys and girls in every educational program that received federal funding.
Mitts concluded, “It’s fantastic that Wilmington University puts on a program like this for the women’s programs. To be a part of this was a great experience.”
Heather Mitts will be playing for the Boston Breakers of the National Women’s Soccer League this season and can be followed at HeatherMitts.com and on Twitter @HeatherMitts.