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THeathMagazine 

Tobin Heath

Sport: Soccer

Born: May 29, 1988

Town: Basking Ridge

Tobin Powell Heath was born May 29, 1988 in Morristown and grew up in Basking Ridge as the third of four children. The Heaths were an athletic family, playing sports year round. The three girls were all excellent tennis players; Tobin’s older sister, Katie, went on to play for the University of Delaware. Tobin’s sport was soccer. She developed her game in the local youth leagues and competitive travel teams, and lettered as a midfielder for the Ridge High Red Devils as a freshman in 2002. Her favorite move was to kick the ball through an opponent’s legs, run around her, and continue dribbling down the field.

In 2003, Tobin was named a Parade All-American as a sophomore—the first of three times she was so honored. She also starred for the PDA Wildcats, one of the region’s top girl soccer clubs. When Tobin was 15, she led the Wildcats to the national club championship. Tobin was New Jersey’s Player of the Year in 2004 and the #2 ranked prep player in the country. She committed to the University of North Carolina as a junior and trained with the Ridge boys instead of playing on the girls team as a senior. She played for Team USA’s under-16 and under-17 squads all four years of high school.

Tobin started all but one game in 2006 for Anson Dorrance’s Tar Heels, helping them win the national championship her freshman year. Also in 2006, she made two dozen appearances for America’s under-20 team. In 2007, she was a member of the U.S. team that won gold at the Pan American Games. The 2007 collegiate season ended less successfully, as UNC failed to repeat as national champs, although Tobin was named a First-Team All-American. She was hailed as one of the quickest, most elusive dribblers in the world—a skill that helped her create chaos among opposing defenses and opportunities for her teammates.

Tobin joined the U.S. women’s senior squad in 2008. She was the youngest American player at the Olympics. Playing mostly as a reserve, she helped the team win the gold medal. She scored her first goal against China at the Algarve Cup in Portugal. Back in North Carolina, Tobin helped the Tar Heels win the NCAA title—her second in three years. UNC repeated as national champs in 2009 during her senior year. She was named Young Player of the Year by USA Soccer and honored as a First-Team All-American for the second time. She finished her college career with 19 goals and 32 assists.

TobinHeath1An ankle injury sidelined Tobin in 2010, but she rejoined Team USA in 2011 in time to compete in the Women’s World Cup. The final against Japan was decided by kicks. Tobin was chosen to take one, which was blocked. Two other Americans failed to score and Japan won. In 2012, Tobin was a key player during the Olympics. She set up three goals as Team USA advanced to the final against Japan. Tobin touched a ball with her arm in the penalty area, but the referee missed the call. That helped the Americans win gold, 2–1.

Tobin has played pro soccer since 2010. She played in both the U.S. and France. In 2013, she led the Portland Thorns to the National Women’s Soccer League championship and was named MVP of the finals. She scored the game-winning goal against the Western New York Flash on a free kick.

Tobin continued to star for the Thorns into 2016. In 2014, the team drew a record crowd of 19,123 for a game against Houston. That season, Tobin shared the spotlight with goalkeeper Nadine Angerer, FIFA’s Player of the Year in 2013. Tobin actually made only 5 appearances for Portland. Most of the year was spent training and playing with Team USA in the run-up to the 2015 Women’s World Cup. She scored in a friendly against Mexico and in a World Cup qualifier against Guatemala.

Tobin played 12 games for Portland in 2015 and also competed in the Algarve Cup and Women’s World Cup. The Americans won both tournaments. They beat France 2-0 in the Algarve final. In the World Cup, Team USA won its group and then defeated Colombia, China and Germany without yielding a goal. In the final against Japan, Carli Lloyd led an offensive explosion that saw the Americans take a 4–0 lead in the first 16 minutes. Japan closed the gap to 4–2 in the second half, but Tobin put the game away with a goal off a pass from Morgan Brian.

The 2016 season found Tobin preparing for the Olympics in Brazil. She also ramped up her play for Portland, notching three assists in the first two games to earn NWSL Player of the Month honors for April. She scored goals in qualifiers against Trinidad and Canada, and started three of the four games in Rio. Tobin notched a pair of assists in Olympic competition, but the tournament ended with a disappointing exit in the quarterfinals against Sweden.

 

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