Tobin Heath signs six-month deal with PSG

Dan Lauletta January 22, 2013 46
Tobin Heath

U.S. midfielder Tobin Heath (center) will play for PSG in France for six months before joining Portland Thorns FC. (Copyright Patricia Giobetti |

Tobin Heath has signed a six-month contract with Paris Saint-Germain. The Equalizer has confirmed the length of the contract and that Heath will join Portland Thorns FC in the NWSL when the contract expires. It is a similar deal to the one Megan Rapinoe signed with Lyon. That will make Heath and Rapinoe focal points in rivalries on both sides of the Atlantic over the course of the year.

Heath, a three-time national champion at the University of North Carolina, was the no. 1 overall pick in the 2010 WPS draft by the Atlanta Beat. She later played for Sky Blue FC. On the international stage Heath, 24, was part of the U.S. teams at the 2011 World Cup and 2012 Olympic Games where she won a gold medal. She was allocated to the Thorns on Jan. 11.

  • soccerfan

    She won gold at the 2008 Olympics too

    • Steglitz49

      Ms Heath is one of the four young players that Pia encouraged. Pia tested a couple of others, but they did not get firm places.

  • ashley

    This is a smart move for her, getting out of her comfort zone. She’s been really strong lately, especially during the Olympics, but I think she’s still got some fine-tuning to do. I can’t wait to see how good she is when she gets back.

  • Kendra

    This is a great move for her. She has similar skill sets as Louisa Necib. The coach for PSG coached Necib at Lyon for 3 or 4 years. He should be able to help her grow more especially on her technical game.

    • LetsGetReal

      I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH KENDRA! Now if Tobin can improve on her long range shooting like Necib or Thieney, or shoot TAKE a PK! This might be one of the best things EVER for Tobin because Tobin was the biggest FLOP in WPS mainly because she barely played.

      • Steglitz49

        Bezirk! A bit of respect, please. Ms Heath collected two olympic golds and a WC-silver, while the ladies you mention threw away a 2-0 lead against USA in London (Glasgow strictly speaking) and came 4th in both WC-11 and OG-12.

        If Ms Heath wants to improve her PK and FK skills, the mistress of that craft is Aya Miyama. Anyway, Ms Heath seems to have coped with missing a penalty in the shoot out. I hope she enjoys Paris and France and not just plays.

        • Joyce

          I could not agree with you more! What the heck are these others talking about. Tobin accomplished far more that Necib – et all.

      • Lauren

        A big reason for Tobin not playing (at least that first year) was that she had the illness going into preseason and then three games in had a badly sprained ankle that required surgery. 2011 was the World Cup year so it was a little crazy.

      • I wouldn’t be holding too much my breath about Heath becoming a goddess of soccer after her stint at PSG. Don’t get me wrong Heath is a very good player not a world class player as Alex Morgan is.
        I just don’t see what she could improve efficiently within 6 month what one needs to work 2 or 3 years.

        First she is going to get a new step in a full professional European club which is already a huge step.
        Then, she is going to feel another way to play soccer (here we call it football) : less physical but more silky, smart, quick and technical therefore more tactical. Within 6 month she will be able to grow up her tactical awareness a bit by incorporating new ways of playing soccer; within her time training with this team She will have a glimpse of that.

        As for the Farid Benstiti’s expertise, I can agree more; Benstiti is the kind of coach who knows how to develop young players; He did tremendous work at OL bringing players at the top of European Women’s football: Louisa Necib, Amandine Henry, Wendie Renard, Elodie Thomis, Shirley Cruz (now playing for PSG)…
        I really can’t wait to know how Benstiti will handle Tobin Heath’s skills. More importantly in which position He thinks she will play her best.
        Personally I am a bit perplex about Heath as a playmaker, I think she is too left-foot dependant whereas a good 10 has to be strong (I mean really) with both.
        She could fit right in the curent PSG set up formation if she sticks with a left central midfielder role in a 4-4-2 (diamond) that Benstiti wants to use : giving free space for the outside backs who cover a lot of ground and who get involve quite a lot into building a possessive style of play.
        But Pia Sundhage had great hopes that she could take the playmaker role. She would probably learn from her new teammate the german Linda Bresonik who is one of the very best 10 in Europe as well (alongside Louisa Necib at Lyon of course).

        • Steglitz49

          Your points are well taken. Like you I think she should spend 3 years in PSG. Then she should call it a day and go into coaching (definitely should she not be selected for the WNT) or simply do anything she wanted to.

        • Kernel Thai

          I disagree. While longer will help even more, six months thrown into a different system will be godsend. I dont personally think her game has expanded since she left UNC. She desperately needs to be put in situations where her game will mature and I think this is an excellent one. She has talent but needs to make better decisions and to function more within a team concept. I think any advances made here will be continued with Sermanni on the home front. She is a key piece of the puzzle for USWNT but needs to be molded into his system. Her “free role” in last years system really didnt scratch the surface of her potential.

        • Tim

          RE: “Don’t get me wrong Heath is a very good player not a world class player as Alex Morgan” ? LOL
          If you have 11 spots to fill with either Heath or Morgan you pick the soccer player that is well rounded.
          Heath would work the ball round and beat Morgan 1v1 99% of the time.
          Morgan is a player that BRINGS breakneck speed to the pitch. Something that most players do not have. Without that she has no business on the pitch at the highest level.
          Heath is A SOCCER PLAYER, MORGAN is an athlete.

          • eL cascador (RIP Cdr Wank)

            You could disagree about Morgan being better than Heath or vice versa. To each his own opinions according to his standards and his expectations. It is easy to say that quite the contrary, stats prove Morgan succeeds what Heath lacks the most : realism. You would expect an offensive player (midfielder or winger) to score more goals like Bresonik, Nécib, Rapinoe, Lloyd happen to do regularly. I wait for she improves this part of her game.

            I don’t see why we should choose one at the expense of the other as well. They don’t have the same role and complement each other fairly well.


  • Bill J

    So U.S. Soccer is allocating players without an agreement that they won’t sign elsewhere? Does her NWSL team get compensation?

    • vert2013

      National team players haven’t even signed NWSL contracts yet because they’re in the middle of a CBA with US Soccer. Even though she’s been allocated, there’s no contract so she can do what she wants.

    • I think it’s one of those deals where whenever she comes into the league it will have to be with the team she was allocated to. The precise timing of that return, any temptation to sign a longer contract overseas…who knows. Presumably both she and Rapinoe will come back and play when their stints are over. I guess they are just lucky they are favorites so the reaction is positive. If a less universally liked player did this the tone would probably be different. I can name a few players who were referenced in rumors as high up as espn and they were viewed way less favorably and that was just on baseless rumors suggesting they would sign overseas. For Heath and Rapinoe there is little for anyone to do but go, “Yay for them…”

    • Steglitz49

      Ms Heath is attending the USWNT training camp. One assumes that her agent will have squared the legal and financial nicities with the NWSL. The real issue will come down the road because should PSG qualify for the CL, Ms Heath may want to have a shot at that. Also, she might like Paris.

      Ms Heath is 24, the same age as Gold-Lena when she announced that she would retire because she could not motivate herself any more. The list of ladies in sports who chose to call it a day at 25-27 is extensive.

  • Steglitz49

    Spring-time in Paris, playing soccer and being paid for it. What more could a young lady ask for?

  • I’m sorry but I hate this. I am a new supporter of women’s football but these type of shenanigans rub me the wrong way. I plan on attending a few matches but to have players held to high regards not 100% dedicated to their new clubs in the States, sends wrong messages to new supporters like myself. How do they expect us fans to be committed when they are not fully committed? I hope no more NWSL stars do these type of shenanigans.

    • Steglitz49

      It is difficult for a young lady to make a decent living playing soccer, even for a star like Ms Heath. A number of players in the Nordic and UK leagues, who play a summer season, play in Australia in the off-season. (The WNBA play in Russia.)

      PSG have only signed her for six months (like Bayern Ms Brooks). They are letting Ms Heath attend the USWNT training camp and no doubt, should PSG be securely in the number 2 spot and thereby qualify for the CL, PSG likely will let her go to USA early.

      We have just been told the Flash will get $24k because they lost out on an DP. This should be compared with Lyon paying their very best players about $200k, allegedly. Ohno, who was signed with Rapinoe, will get $115k but Japanese boosters will supplement her salary in Japan. Admittedly, most women playing football in Europe and Japan earn very little and most nothing at all except match bonuses.

      When Marta wanted to go back to Sweden, no club initially could meet her agent’s salary demands. Eventually some Tyresö fans (not the club) put together a package and Tyresö won the league this season.

      • taotra

        Amber Brooks signed until June 2014.

        • Steglitz49

          Thanks for keeping me right. I wrote sloppily. It has been reported that Ms Brooks has an opt-out clause at the end of this season.

          Nevertheless, one can assume that should Ms Brooks do famously, no doubt the Kaiser and everyone else in the club would try to charm her to stay with them. If necessary, Bayern can afford to make it worth her while financially.

          • andreas

            amber brooks hat keine ausstiegsklausel

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you. How are you sure? The rumours say she has. OK. Those are only rumours but there is no smoke without fire, usually.

          • Kernel Thai

            Top Drawer r the ones who reported the option…havent seen anyone conform it.

      • randomhookup

        The pay for the USWNT allocated players is probably higher than the $24k that the Flash was given to replace their open slot. That’s just the max that the league allows free agents to be paid.

      • andreas

        amber brooks, bayern münchen bis 30.07.2014

        • Steglitz49

          Maybe you could help Jeff by writing irregularly regular updates about the German scene with emphasis on the teams with American, Mexican &/or Canadian lady players. A sort of “From my writing desk in Göttingen” or wherever you are (Wallgau, Tegernsee, Potsdam etc).

          Do you think that BM can grab that second spot in the league?

  • LetsGetReal

    Why isn’t anyone following Rapinoe at Lyon!!! She already scored her first goal and played LEFT BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • We’ll be following. Thanks for the links.

    • Steglitz49

      That’s a bit unfair to Jeff and his co-writers. They do their best to keep up, try to do a weekly foreign roundup and seem always pleased to receive news.

      If you want to follow Japanese and French soccer, the WSU site has enthusiastic bloggers. They have news from most leagues, though not so much from Germany. I presume Germany has a german language site where they blog like no tomorrow. Maybe Germans do not blog?

    • This might surprise you a bit but the rising of Women’s soccer in France is something totally brand new.
      People barely start to get interested mostly due to the FRWNT and the OL performances.

      TV channels just start to broadcast more games this season, as a result women soccer in France is still a bit overshadowed by the two most popular men’s sports in France : the Rugby TOP 14 league (which is known to be the best in the world) and the Football “Ligue 1”, which are both pretty big.

      • Steglitz49

        Welcome back, Commander. It is always good to hear from you. Do you think the increase in interest in the ladies was helped by the men’s team having a poor patch?

        Can you tell us about the sizes of TV audiences in France, please?

        When Sweden played Japan in the WC SF 1,8m watched — 20% of the population. OK. The crown-princess’ wedding and the Eurovision song contest got ca 3m viewers. The ladies’ match between Japan-Sweden at the JO was moved to 12:00 noon at the request of Japanese TV.

        If either Lyon or Juvisy get to the CL final, will you be at Stamford Bridge?

        • Well Hello!

          “Do you think the increase in interest in the ladies was helped by the men’s team having a poor patch?”

          Yes it was; the FRWNT show commitment to the country and to the game of football
          You have to keep in mind that Football in France has never ever been as huge as it is for the other countries like Italy, Spain, Germany, Netherlands or England. The common interest for football in France came in 98 when the FRMNT won the world cup in its soil, this is like it was yesterday!!! There are so many sports France is involved and do very well that the common passion is scattered somehow, still Football remains n°1 Sport there. What might be the attention gathered for WoSo from MenSo would be very thin. But the French Football Federation is trying to change that by easing football facility accesses for school and high school, and more particulary for girls.

          Can you tell us about the sizes of TV audiences in France, please?

          The last report spoke about 1m +or- viewers for each FRWNT game. (France’s population is 66m)

          The U17 WC final 4 month ago which saw “les bleuettes” won get 500,000 viewers on a subscription fee channel (Eurosport France broke its record)

          “If either Lyon or Juvisy get to the CL final, will you be at Stamford Bridge?”

          I don’t know yet

          • Steglitz49

            TV audiences are interesting. I appear to be one of the few who actually watched the Wonder of Berlin live because most people in Sweden turned their TVs off at 4 down with 20 min to play.

            I have a Swedish friend who detests sports. He is probably the only Swede not to have watched Stenmark (though I doubt that he would confess). Anyway, this gentleman watched the Zlatan bicycle-kick live because he had turned on the TV to watch the next program. His comment was “awesome”.

            I think Sweden’s problem will be to sell the European championship. Not only seems the media to be ignoring it instead of beating the drum but, worse, they seen to take their cue from the senior football establishment who only talk men’s football, never women’s soccer.

            Maybe you could help Jeff and send him a weekly update from France. “Ladies soccer from my window in Montmartre”.

  • LetsGetReal
  • andreas

    because the french club burn a lot of money for so little of return.

    only 6 month.

    i’m just excited because the hoffenheim rises and circulates dietmar hopp, ceo of sap, billionaire, 6 million euro per year in the female department.

    • Steglitz49

      Verily. Were I Ms Heath, I would have my agent negotiate a 3 year contract. At the end of that, I would retire from active playing. Paris is well worth a mass.

    • Steglitz49

      Do you think that Hoffenheim will be promoted this season? They second, four points adrift.

      How does Hoffenheim difer from PSG? It is just a lot of cash isn’t it? Why is Hoffenheim’s cash better than PSG’s?

      • andreas

        google dietmar hopp, SAP

        • Steglitz49

          That is not an explanation. It is an instruction. Please google him yourself and explain to us why his money is better than PSG’s, not just more of it. After all, money is a good thing to have. You should not have too much of it. Just more than enough. It makes the world go round, also.

          • andreas

            das geld von dietmar hopp ist besser, weil der mann ein fussball verrückter ist.
            er wird diesen verein, hoffenheim, sehr lange unterstützen weil er den verein liebt.
            er wird längerfristige verträge mit spielerinnen machen weil er eine mannschaft aufbauen will, die was in der bundesliga und in europa bewegen, gewinnen, soll.
            die arabischen scheichs werden bald wieder weg sein bei psg, siehe malaga, und sie werden den verein hochverschuldet verlassen.
            hoffenheim ist dagegen schuldenfrei.

          • Steglitz49

            OK. Do you think there is a danger that he might interfere in the day-to-day managing of the teams?

            What is the lesson for NWSL? Given the number women in senior positions of big corporations and ladies with private wealth, it would seem odd if the NWSL cannot secure its financial future. Eight teams in a land of 300m!

  • andreas
  • Tobin Heath is one of the few players on the USWNT who’s technical skills outweigh her physical skills in my opinion; so I’m all for her learning and (hopefully) evolving in a different and competitive environment. It begs to question though, what other players besides Heath and Rapinoe could benefit the most from an overseas stint in France or Germany?

    • Steglitz49

      Those that the (comparatively) wealthy teams in Japan and Europe are willing to hire. Marta went to Umeå in the north of Sweden as a young budding player.

      The japanese subsidize some of their players salaries by Japanese boosters paying them in Japan, so they are not as expensive for the foreign club as otherwise would be the case. America could do the same if they felt the need.