Tobin Heath marks NWSL return with OL Reign debut

Tobin Heath is back. 

The player finally made her debut for the OL Reign on Sunday, marking her first NWSL appearance since 2019. She featured against the Kansas City Current, propelling the attack forward before ultimately losing 1-0 with a goal from Lo’eau LaBonta in the 18th minute. 

“I felt relief,” Heath said after the match. “I wanted to check that box for me personally, and then building momentum and relationships on the field are important to be successful.”

The team originally signed Heath on June 20, after acquiring her playing rights from Racing Louisville. But despite several opportunities to take the field, OL Reign head coach Laura Harvey insisted she would not play Heath until she was fully ready. 

“I said this last week and I’m going to say it again, we’re being very conscious with Tobin. We’re being very cautious, which is hard for me. That’s not the way that I normally roll,” Harvey revealed on July 10. 

“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.”

But now, Heath is set to unleash her full potential for the NWSL side. 

“I think Laura’s obviously a great coach to play for, a big reason why I wanted to come to Seattle,” she said, adding that the team chemistry has been amazing to step into. “It’s a really positive group and the staff have just been overwhelmingly supportive, especially for my situation and being patient, which I really appreciate. It’s a special group.”

The team returns to action on Saturday when visiting expansion team Angel City at Banc of California Stadium.

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