Times are changing with Arsenal at the moment and another major name has come through the door. This has been a very dramatic WSL transfer window indeed. With two World Cups and two Olympic gold medals to her name, Tobin Heath joins the London club on a two-year deal ahead of the new WSL season. Heath spent last season with Manchester United and showed glimpses of magic, so Arsenal have an excellent player on their hands. Where does the USWNT star fit into this team though?
Most recently, the experienced Tobin Heath was representing her country in the Olympics and it came with mixed success. This was the first campaign in the post-Jill Ellis era and under Vlatko Andonovski, they came away with a bronze medal. Tobin Heath and co lost to Sweden and drew with Australia in the group before being bested in the semi-final by rivals Canada, the eventual Gold medallists. Chelsea’s Jessie Fleming scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot to book their place in the final.
Tobin Heath, as previously mentioned, played in the red half of Manchester last season. She played alongside fellow American Christen Press with Casey Stoney as manager, but that squad has gone through a torrid off-season. Stoney has gone state-side to manage the NWSL expansion side in San Diego and a number of players, including the American duo and Lauren James have moved to pastures new. Heath is back in town though and has joined arguably their closest competitor when it comes to the league standings. Man City and Chelsea were far and away the best two teams last term whereas the final Champions League spot went down to the wire between the pair that Heath is associated with.
Heath played the bulk of her career for Portland Thorns in the NWSL alongside the likes of Becky Sauberbrunn, Lindsey Horan and Crystal Dunn, three cornerstones of the USWNT’s recent success. The 33 year-old’s season with PSG didn’t return any silverware but then her prolonged spell in Oregon was more fruitful. The Thorns lifted the NWSL Championship in both 2013 and 2017 with Heath playing a major role, as well as the Shield in 2016. Not to mention that Heath was victorious in 2006, 8 and 9 whilst representing the University of North Carolina in the most prestigious D1 college competition of all.
It remains to be seen how Tobin Heath will feature in the plans of new manager Jonas Eidevall. Jill Roord and Danielle van de Donk joining Wolfsburg and Lyon respectively are a pair of major losses for the side, Lisa Evans going out on loan to West Ham raised some eyebrows too. That being said, Dutch striker Vivianne Miedema remains at the club and Heath joins a plethora of wide/attacking talent. Last season saw Joe Montemurro often use Beth Mead and Matilda’s star Caitlin Foord out wide. When you consider that World Cup winner Mana Iwabuchi, Tobin Heath and former Lyon player Nikita Parris have all arrived in this window too, one wonders when a good amount of depth becomes a struggle to keep everyone happy.
When you see Chelsea signing Lauren James plus Man City bringing in the likes of Vicky Losada, Alanna Kennedy and Hayley Raso on top of the quality the pair already possess, you do worry for Arsenal. They were pretty off both of them last season but Arsenal’s business is nothing to sniffed at: Iwabuchi, Tobin Heath and Parris are all very, very good attackers with the winning know-how and experience. That being said, bar USWNT trio Abby Dahlkemper, Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis departing Man City, them and Chelsea have done a better job of holding on to their talent. Rising star Ruby Mace switching for Arsenal as well as the earlier mentioned losses could prove costly.
This article is focussed on Tobin Heath though, the player from Morristown, New Jersey, and she brings the star-power to Meadow Park. Arsenal look very different going into the new season and the offer an exciting proposition under Swede Jonas Eidevall. They get the season started on Sunday with the toughest of fixtures, versus London rivals Chelsea- Emma Hayes’ side are defending the WSL title this year!