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Tobin Heath ‘close’ to NWSL return with OL Reign

(Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

Tobin Heath did not make an appearance during Sunday’s matchup between OL Reign and the Portland Thorns. But she could soon.

There had been much speculation prior to the rivalry matchup, as Heath previously played for the Thorns from 2013-20 before departing for England’s Women’s Super League. She returned to the NWSL part of the way through this season when she signed with OL Reign.

Prior to the match, OL Reign coach Laura Harvey said she wasn’t going to be “making any promises” on Heath, as the situation was very much “wait and see.”

Ahead of the game against the Thorns, Heath was listed as a substitute, but she did not see the field during the 2-2 draw. Following the match, Harvey said that Heath is close to making her return but that there was no intention to have her on the pitch during Sunday’s game.

“She wasn’t going to play today,” said Harvey, “but it wasn’t gamesmanship, it was so she could be on the bench and be around the team.”

While noting that OL Reign is eager to see Heath grace the field for the team, Harvey reiterated that the team isn’t pushing to bring her back.

“I said this last week and I’m going to say it again, we’re being very conscious with Tobin,” she said. “We’re being very cautious, which is hard for me. That’s not the way that I normally roll.

“I think we were close today, we were close to getting her involved. But we made a decision earlier today that we weren’t going to push it, but we wanted her to be around the team and be on the bench. Obviously with our COVID situation, we didn’t have 20 players to name, so we could name her to the bench.”