Audience if you would; please look at the soccer ball. Do not take your eyes off of it. Do not look away or even blink. Tobin The Magnificent, is about to take the field and defy the odds of gravity, probability and logic using only her feet and this ball, wowing you with dazzling displays of skill.
That is the introduction I feel is necessary for one Ms Tobin Heath every time she takes the field. I suppose it may be a bit much to ask, but it doesn’t hurt to try.
Tobin Heath for those of you who have had the distinct displeasure of not knowing; is a midfielder for the US Women’s National Soccer Team and also a member of Sky Blue FC in the Women’s Professional Soccer league. She comes from Tarheel blue, being alumni from North Carolina which automatically makes her a favorite in my book. She is a young player with skill on the ball which befuddles the average brain. When she steps on the field it is part soccer, part magic act, part dance routine. As she zigs, while making the defender zag, she dances over the ball and fluently disappears behind the defense putting herself into a scoring opportunity. I will admit, watching Tobin can be frustrating too though. When I first started seeing her play I blamed my TV for months that every time she got the ball the TV would skip and somehow make me miss something. But then I came to realize it wasn’t the TV. It was Heath making a move so quickly over the ball that the human eye cannot catch it. It’s like trying to keep up with an Italian on speed telling a story about their family; impossible. The moment you think you know what her next move is, is the moment you are left in the dust.
She is known for not only being a skillful player in the heat of battle when it counts, but also a crafty trickster full of unimaginable talent during ball trick battles with fellow team mates. If you ever get tired of watching sleeping animal videos on YouTube (I know, that’s not even fair though. Who gets tired of that?!) search for some of Tobin Heath’s trick battles and various YouTube trick videos. You will not be disappointed. Let’s just say, when Tobin goes for a simple walk it’s not quite as simple as you would think. Those of you who have seen her ‘Tobin Heath Walkabout’ video can testify to this fact. Those of you who haven’t seen it need to do yourselves a favor and begin living a life of fulfillment. You can start by watching that video.
Her shot placement is another factor to her game that leaves us all astonished. If you told her to get drunk, spin around in circles, blindfold herself and kick the ball from 40 yards out and hit the upper corner of the far post; she would not only do it successfully, but she would giggle about it afterwards which makes it even better. Tobin giggling makes everything better in the world, in case you were unaware. Her shot placement and control over the ball is just astounding. A thesaurus isn’t even going to come up with enough correct adjectives to describe how incredibly controlled and crafty she is. Trust me, I tried. I laughed at the thesaurus in its meek attempts to fully embody this skill in words. So I vote we create a new phrase of words. Tobin’s skill is…….Tobinifiably Heathabulous. Yes. That’s it. Lauren Cheney mentioned in an interview that Tobin is the craftiest player she has ever played with and I am sure that anyone who has played around this young phenom can agree. When she is not dribbling around defenders, or placing a perfect shot in the exact spot that she intended she is most likely creating some pretty nifty (yes, I am 24 and use the word nifty. Deal with it.) passes in the midfield. Her vision for the game is spectacular for being such a young player. She reads the game well and is able to find the connecting passes that will move the ball forward effectively. Her aptitude for this cannot be overlooked. Without connecting players like that in the midfield you just have defense and offense. With nothing in the middle connecting the two you are going to have one lousy game. The USWNT has a phenomenal midfield obscenely full of talent. Her passing abilities and calmness on the ball help control the game and bring fluidity to it that is needed
I briefly mentioned earlier, her undeniable ability to make the world a better place with her smile. Yes, this line should remind you of the Mary Tyler Moore theme song because Tobin Heath can, in fact also turn the world on with her smile. In fact, I say someone needs to just follow Tobin Heath around for a day playing the Mary Tyler Moore theme song. Just the thought of her walking around town, smile on her face, bobbing her head from side to side to that song makes me feel overwhelming happiness. Which brings me to my next point where I would like to address Tobin, directly.
Tobin, in my humblest opinion I feel you may be wasting a crucial asset. You’re skill and talent are undeniably phenomenal and I believe you can dribble your way out of just about any jam the world throws at you. But as a backup, in case you are ever at a loss of how to get around a certain defender, may I suggest simply stop, say hi to them, strike up a conversation, smile and laugh. Your laugh is as infectious as it is awesome. I dare anyone at that point to not let their guard down, relax and just want to give you a high five and laugh along with you. At which point, you will of course do the polite thing by giving them the high five they have asked for…just before blowing past them as they stand there laughing in a total state of joy, unsure how they got there. It’s just a thought…maybe run it by Pia…but I don’t see how it could fail. It’s basically bullet proof.
Tobin Heath is not only talented, skillful and impressively athletic; but also seems kind, gracious and to have a great head on her shoulders. The future of this young star is endless. I cannot wait to see what mind blowing goals and assists she has in years to come for us, as I know they will be plentiful. I also cannot imagine her being anything less than crucial to helping the team bring home a gold medal this summer. Each game she plays in begins a new act of her endless magic show that we are all lucky enough to be audience to. I for one, cannot wait for the next act to begin. So I am going to go grab some pop corn and get ready for Tobin The Magnificent to grace the stage again.