Tobin Heath Earns First Olympic Cap vs. Norway
The USA-Norway match marked the entrance to the world’s stage for of 20-year-old midfielder Tobin Heath. One of the top players on the U.S. team that played in the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, Heath worked her way into U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage’s side in 2008 and onto the Olympic Team with some dynamic flank play and several goals.
Heath came into the USA’s 2-0 loss to Norway to open the Olympics in the 78th minute, replacing Stephanie Cox and saw her first action in a senior level world championship. She did some positive things on the wing, but the Americans could not puncture the Norwegian goal despite a few flurries in the final 10 minutes.
“Pia told me to go out there with a lot of energy and try to take players on, either outside or inside and get crosses into the box,” said Heath. “Obviously, I would have liked to impact the game more, but unfortunately, we couldn’t get a goal.”
As the USA’s youngest player, she has a bright future on the international stage. Her first Olympic match was a memorable one, perhaps not for the reasons she’d hoped, but certainly an excellent learning experience for the New Jersey product who will be a junior at UNC this fall.
A soccer fanatic who is one of the USA’s most comfortable players on the ball, she is not looking at the Olympics like a wide-eyed youngster with several more Olympics possibly in her future. She has a veteran’s view of this tournament. The time to perform is now.
“My first Olympic game definitely wasn’t how I envisioned it,” said Heath. “But now we are forgetting about the last game and moving on to the next two games, which are critical to us.”
Still, the happy-go-lucky kid who rides her skateboard around the UNC campus with her hat turned backwards is making sure she takes the time to appreciate this experience.
“Feeling the excitement that the Olympic Games bring and being able to play in my first Olympic match was a moment I will take with me forever,” said Heath. “The outcome wasn’t what we were looking for, but to have the chance to experience a game like that and emotions like that can only help in the future. We have an even bigger challenge now, but that’s exciting too.”