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Tobin Heath in a Manchester United kit is a big moment by any standards

Photo: Manchester United.

Conspicuously absent from the best environment in women’s club soccer on Sunday were the supporters who make it exactly that. The Portland Thorns played at Providence Park for the first time in a year in Sunday’s 3-0 win over Utah Royals FC, but the part of the team’s soul was missing on and off the field.

Tobin Heath was in Manchester, England, in quarantine as she begins a stint with Manchester United which will see her miss the National Women’s Soccer League Fall Series and the first half of 2021 — whatever that will look like for the NWSL as the COVID-19 pandemic creeps toward a year of affecting all forms of business.

“Portland is my home,” Heath said Tuesday from her new flat in Manchester. “It’s been my home since the beginning of the NWSL. I have such incredible memories there both on and off the field.”

“Of course, anytime you have to leave an environment that is ultimately perfect for you isn’t easy, but you have to be uncomfortable as a footballer.”

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