Tobin Heath is back for her second Summer Olympics as part of the U.S. Women’s soccer team with hopes of a repeat performance of what took place in Beijing four years ago, when the gold went to Team USA.
Heath was the youngest player on Team USA in 2008 at age 20. She came off the bench for three games during the Beijing Olympics and is expected to play a larger role in the upcoming games in London later this month. At 24, Heath is still the second youngest player on a veteran laden U.S. team.
In soccer, when a player puts the ball through the legs of an opposing player instead of going around them, they are said to have executed a “nutmeg,” which is something Heath is well known for doing.
Heath plays the flank midfield position and has also played the attack midfield position. She was a “Parade Magazine” All-American selection in high school in both 2005 and 2006 and was named the Gatorade New Jersey Player of the Year.
After her high school career was over, Heath, who was the number two prospect in the nation according to “Soccer Buzz,” went on to play soccer collegiately at the University of North Carolina. North Carolina has long been a powerhouse for women’s soccer under coach Anson Dorrance and that trend continued with Heath as a part of the team. Heath was part of three NCAA championship teams in her four years at the school and UNC claimed titles in 2006, 2008 and 2009.
Heath began her international play as a member of the under-16 team for the USA Women’s National Team in 2003. By 2005, she was part of the under-17 team, and went on to join the under-20 USA National Team that was part of the 2006 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Championships. Her first goal in international competition came as a part of the under-20 team when she scored against Canada.
She would make her first appearance with the Women’s National Team on January 18, 2008 against Finland in the Four Nations Tournament. Heath was a part of the U.S. women’s team that played in the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, appearing in four matches, including the World Cup final against Japan. Entering the Olympics, Heath has made 45 international appearances for the U.S., scoring six goals.
Heath plays soccer professionally as a member of the New York Fury in the Women’s Premier Soccer League Elite. She joined the Fury and the WPSL Elite after the demise of the Women’s Professional Soccer circuit earlier in 2012. She was the top pick in the 2010 WPS college draft by the expansion Atlanta Beat, though she would later be traded to Sky Blue FC along with teammates Eniola Aluko and Angie Kerr.
Team USA opens up Olympic play on July 25 with a match against France, which will be followed by matches on July 28 against Colombia and July 31 against North Korea. Team USA is favored to win gold, which they have done the last two Olympics.
Will you be watching Heath and Team USA’s soccer matches?