The Portland Thorns flexed their muscles and overall depth in the semifinals and look primed to win their second NWSL championship. There’s one player from the inaugural NWSL winning team, and she recently just returned from injury. Tobin Heath is arguably the USWNT’s most underrated star, and she’s this week’s WCW.
Heath grew up in New Jersey and would go on to be Gatorade Player of the Year in the state as well as the No. 2 overall high school recruit in the Class of 2006 by Soccer Buzz magazine. Most blue chip recruits take their talents to a big name program, and Heath was no different. She took her talents to North Carolina to play for Anson Dorrance. With Heath on the team's roster, the Tar Heels would go on a run unlike any other.
While Heath was at Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels won three NCAA Soccer Championships, and she finished her career with 19 goals and 32 assists. Heath’s speed, dribbling and passing skills have always been tough to stop on the left wing, which is how she became the No. 1 overall pick of the Atlanta Beat in the WPS. However, the WPS folded in 2012. She would go on to play for French giants Paris Saint-German in 2013. After a year in Paris, Heath decided to return to states where she signed for the Portland Thorns.
Heath and the Thorns have been one of the more consistent teams over the last five years, and there’s no secret as to why they’re in the NWSL final right now. What’s more impressive about Heath is her USWNT resume. The bottom line is she’s a flat out winner and champion who has gotten it done at every level. She made her debut for the senior team at age 20 and saw playing time for the USWNT at the 2011 and 2015 World Cup, as well as the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.
Tobin Heath is the kind of player who you love to have on your team but hate to play against. She has her own style and flair that really makes her unique. Her former Tar Heels coach, Dorrance, once said Heath genuinely likes nutmegging people rather than dribbling around them. She’s a huge part of the USWNT, and she brings something that not many players can bring to the table, a feisty, free-spirited style of play mixed with a genuine passion for the game. Heath is a playmaker, and at age 29, she’s still got plenty of time left to nutmeg some more people.