USWNT great Tobin Heath not ruling out return after 2 years out

U.S. women’s national team great Tobin Heath said she is not ruling out a return to the field almost two years after she last played a competitive game.

Heath, 36, has a cartilage issue that has required two surgeries since her last appearance with the Seattle Reign in 2022. The last of her 181 outings with the USWNT came in October 2021.

“I haven’t been public about it, but I can say that I have been actively healing and trying to get back to the football pitch,” she told The Associated Press. “I haven’t ruled it out, to say the least. But I am definitely in my own recovery journey.”

Heath, widely regarded as one of the most gifted players of her generation, scored 36 goals and added 41 assists for the USWNT after making her debut in 2008. She was a part of the World Cup-winning rosters in 2015 and 2019, scoring in the 2015 final win over Japan. Heath also helped the U.S. win Olympic gold in 2008 and 2012.

In her time away from the field, Heath launched a podcast series with former USWNT teammate and fellow long-term injury victim Christen Press.

Press hasn’t played since tearing her ACL with Angel City in 2022 and subsequently undergoing four surgeries.

The 35-year-old, who has played in 155 matches with 64 goals for the United States, returned to training with Angel City this month two years to the day since her last game.

Neither player will be involved when the U.S. looks to win another Olympic gold in Paris this summer, though Heath said she was looking forward to seeing what the United States can accomplish under new coach Emma Hayes.

“I think for the first time in in a few years, there’s a lot of excitement and hope around this team that felt a little bit like they were a little untethered, you know? I think with Emma being this kind of leader figure that this young group needs, it’s an exciting time and we can all be very hopeful,” Heath said.

“And with an Olympics, that is always a funny tournament in itself, I think anything’s possible.”

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.