Tobin Heath will make her 2017 season debut on Friday against the Washington Spirit, according to manager Mark Parsons. Speaking in training on Tuesday, Parsons said “the minimum she gets is on the field, and I think she’s going to get a good run out”, but noted it was unlikely she would play a full game for a few weeks. Heath was an unused substitute during last Sunday’s win against the Orlando Pride. The 2016 US Soccer Player of the Year missed most of last season with a back injury only to suffer an ankle injury in the 2017 NWSL Championship which she underwent surgery to correct in February. Heath has made no appearances since then.
With the Thorns changing shape in the first few games of the 2018 NWSL season, partly in order to cope with the absence of some of their bigger names, Parsons noted the team may need to make some adjustments to get Heath on the ball once she returns. “Whatever role she plays for us, she needs to be able to get into wide positions, she needs to be able to get in-between lines in the number ten role, and she needs to get behind the opposition.”
“We have a couple of different variations of what we’re currently doing that allows her to do all three things, and it’ll be a few weeks until she goes 90 minutes, so we have a bit of an opportunity to play around a little bit.”