On Court Player Towel

Speed Logo Zone Hat


Peace & Love T-shirt



Photo Credit: Jennifer Pottheiser
USTA Northern team captain Kristin Heywood thought her athletic career was over after a soccer injury. But in tennis she has found an outlet for her competitive drive – and has made some lifelong friendships as well.
By Jessica Hall, special to USTA.com
For every athlete, injuries arise that can alter careers, such the one suffered by USTA Northern 18 & Over women’s 3.0 team captain Kristin Heywood: a full meniscus tear of her right knee after playing with a full Division I soccer scholarship at the University of Utah for two seasons. 
The setback would force the Rochester, Minn., transplant to take on a sport she had never played before in her life – tennis – with the challenging transition from the pitch to paved hard courts allowing the 35-year-old to remain active.
“I’m incredibly competitive,” said Heywood, who rehabilitated the injury for nearly a year through range-of-motion exercises. “The knee, it was shredded to the point where it was bone-on-bone. My doctor told me that I should never play soccer again or else I could have arthritis.”
In 2009, Heywood moved from Seattle to Rochester when her husband began his career in administration at the Mayo Clinic. In a new environment, tennis provided Heywood with an outlet for her competitive nature while also helping her to make friends in a new city.
“I didn’t know anybody, so I thought [tennis] would be a great way to meet people, even though I had never played before,” Heywood said. “I took up the sport hoping to meet friends, which I have. I have a team full of my closest friends.”
For Heywood and her fellow teammates, the opportunity to participate at the 2013 USTA League National Championships in Tucson, Ariz., last fall was something the close-knit Northern squad embraced. She is their leader by example: a tough, focused competitor who strengthened what was once an injury so debilitating that walking was nearly impossible to the point where now only a small brace is needed.
“Feels fine,” said Heywood, after playing in the event. “It might be a bit sore now, but I’ll be ready to go again.”
“We came to get some wins under our belts,” added Heywood. “I feel that we have a really good team and it’s great to be together. Coming to Nationals was an experience that not every team gets, so we were excited. This team has been playing together for four years so it’s a great to get out of town together as friends and teammates.”
collage_league_21 collage_league_19 collage_league_20 collage_league_18
USTA League is the United States' largest recreational tennis league, helping hundreds of thousands of participants nationwide get on the court, have a good time and step up their game. Take part in the fun in 2014 for a team experience like no other!
For more information on USTA League and to get started in the program, check out our USTA League overview.
USTA Membership
Learn More or Login
Learn More or Login
Newsletter Signup

Copyright 2017 by United States Tennis Association. All Rights Reserved.

Online Advertising | Site Map | About Us | Careers | Internships | Contact Us | Terms of Use | Umpire Policy | Privacy Policy | AdChoices

Connect with us! Facebook-38x39 Twitter-38x39 Youtube-38x39