USWNT star Tobin Heath has admitted she made her childhood dream come true earlier this month by signing for Arsenal, revealing the Gunners were the first team she ever supported.
The forward made headlines last year after making the jump from NWSL side Portland Thorns to join Manchester United, but this time Heath says the signing feels different.
“It was my first childhood club team that I really followed and I fell in love with at a young age,” Heath said Monday in her first major news conference since the deal was done.
“I was attracted to the style of play through certain players that were playing there. And you know, your first love of a club is something that is kind of unchanging and unwavering through it all.”
Arsenal’s women’s team is one of the most decorated in England, holding 15 league titles, 14 FA Cups and the 2007 European Cup title, the only one to ever be won by an English club.
The club has a longstanding history of famous players, including Kelly Smith, Lianne Sanderson, as well as Heath’s former USWNT teammate Heather O’Reilly.
“They have incredible history on the women’s side as well, that I’m looking forward to being a part of,” she said. “They were at the forefront of women’s football: creating a team, investing in a team, winning both Champions League and the domestic league. So it’s a club that it’s easy to be passionate about, and one that is really deep in my heart and in my history of football.”
The current roster includes England stars Nikita Parris and Jordan Nobbs alongside Dutch scoring ae Vivianne Miedema, who stunned during the 2019 FIFA World Cup.
Head coach Jonas Eidevall admitted to admiring Heath and talking to her for a while before the official announcement was made.
“We had a great first conversation about his vision for the team, his style of play, the way he runs his practices the things that are important to him,” Heath said.
“You can already tell that the team is in a much different mentality, frame of mind, going into the season than the prior one — which is credit to him coming in and implementing his ideas in a quick way. So I’m really excited to get in there and see what that’s going to be like.”
The pandemic forced a move to Manchester United ahead of the 2020 Olympics as the Thorns could not guarantee her games, but it isn't exactly where she wanted to be. Now, Heath is thrilled with her position and cannot wait to begin.
“I feel like in our minds, we all think our club career is going to go a certain way, and in the last couple of years, a change in my plans has given me opportunities that I never thought I’d be able to get,” Heath said. “And this is one of them.”