The U.S. women’s national team is playing in the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand without a number of familiar faces.
Just Women’s Sports is taking a look at who those players are and why they’re absent. Next up: Tobin Heath.
Total caps: 181
Most recent USWNT appearance: Oct. 26, 2021 vs. South Korea (Friendly)
Heath played for Arsenal in the first half of 2022, but her time with the Gunners came to an end prematurely due to a hamstring injury. Under mutual consent, her contract was terminated so that she could return to the U.S. for treatment.
“We haven’t been able to quite get her over [the injuries] well enough to complete 90 minutes yet,” Arsenal coach Jonas Eidevall said before Heath’s departure. “It wasn’t part of the plan when we brought her in, and I would have loved to see her play 90 minutes more often in this team because she is a great player with really great qualities.”
She then joined OL Reign as a free agent last July. Making five appearances and scoring one goal with characteristic Heath flair, a game-winning strike through the goalkeeper’s legs, she appeared to be making an impact. But the 35-year-old once again found herself on the sidelines, undergoing season-ending surgery on her knee in September.
“Although this wasn’t an easy decision, we know this was the right decision,” said Reign coach Laura Harvey.
It’s unclear as of now when Heath will return to the field. She isn’t signed to a team and hasn’t been seen training much, outside of a video of her and Christen Press working out together in January. In March, Vlatko Andonovski noted that Heath was “absolutely” still a possibility for World Cup selection; in April, he reiterated that the two-time World Cup champion was in “return-to-play protocol.”
There haven’t been any updates on Heath’s progress since then, although she has made public appearances, most recently at the ESPYs and in a video promoting a World Cup show she and Press are hosting. She did tell The Athletic that she is sitting out the World Cup for both physical and mental reasons.
Heath’s last competitive match of any kind came on Aug. 14, 2022 against Gotham FC. She came off the OL Reign bench for the second half and picked up a yellow card.