Tobin Heath, USWNT training, 6.4.15
(USA Today Sports Images)

World Cup Dispatch with Tobin Heath | USWNT arrive in Canada for tournament

Thorns FC midfielder Tobin Heath traveled with her USWNT teammates to Winnipeg, Manitoba this week to begin final preparations ahead of the U.S.’s first 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup game next Monday against Australia (4:30pm PT, FOX Sports 1).

Coming off a busy period of sendoff friendlies, media appearances, training, and more, Heath took a moment to check in to talk about how being in Canada makes the whole tournament feel that much more “real,” how she stays balanced amidst all the hype, and what it will be like going head-to-head with Thorns teammate Steph Catley of Australia.

Brian Costello:
Last week you had a very busy time with the team’s Media Week, an appearance on Good Morning, America and a sellout crowd at the friendly against South Korea. With all that excitement, what does it feel like knowing you have all that energy behind you in sending you off to Canada?

Tobin Heath:
“It was great with just the fans and the experience that we had at each city [during the send off]. It was fantastic. And I think we’re really happy to finally be in Canada now, and to be here, because now it feels a lot more real. I think those games were important to us for our preparation, and now that we’re here, I think everything’s starting to feel more like a World Cup.”

BC:
What were your thoughts on the 0-0 draw with South Korea, and maybe not the result you hoped for, but what was the takeaway do you think from that?

TH:
“Yeah, I think the most disappointing thing is it would have been fun to get some goals for our fans and just to have a little bit better of a feeling in that sense. But I think overall it was our best game against the best competition we’ve had so far in South Korea, because obviously they’re preparing too. And I think we have continued to work on the things that we’ve needed to work on, and see the things that we’ve needed to do. And a lot of that isn’t what most people think it is.

So in that way I think we’re still going in the direction we want to go, and we have a good feeling going into the tournament. So I think all of our preparation has kind of led us up to this, the point that we want to be at right now.”

BC:
Does it feel more real, now that you’re actually in Canada?

TH:
“Yeah, I think so, because I think before being in the U.S. it still felt like camps and friendly games. And I think that now that we’re in Canada and we have all those reminders around us—and I just feel like the energy has changed with the team. Everybody’s really excited. Obviously you’re hearing about the World Cup 24/7. You’re in the environment where everything is going on, everything’s going to happen, and I think the anticipation now is building up and we’re getting ready.”

BC:
With all of that hoopla ahead of the tournament and now being in Canada, what’s your reaction? Do you get nervous? Do you get excited? Is it a little bit of everything?

TH:
“To be honest, for me personally I really just want to start the tournament. I think all that stuff that surrounds it, all the hype and all those extra responsibilities that we have, I just think about getting them over with so that we can get to what really matters, and that’s the tournament and playing. So in that sense I’m just excited that it’s so close now and I just want to play this tournament. I want to see what’s going to happen. So I’m really excited for the start of it.”

BC:
I saw some of your pictures from New York with all of the traveling, are there go-to items that you bring with you? Or is it something else more mental? What keeps you grounded in the midst of all this World Cup buzz?

TH:
“I think it’s important to stay in the moment, stay present, and to not get too worked up on where you want to be but just enjoy the journey. And I think it’s easy for me here because I’m surrounded with so many people in my life that are such encouragements and people that I really enjoy doing this with. So in that way it’s always really special to just be a part of this journey. I think every day I wake up about not wasting it, and making sure that day matters  in some way. Whether it’s something you could do on the field or off the field. I think it’s all about not getting ahead of yourself but taking each moment and being grateful.”

BC:
Any “must-have” items that you packed with you?

TH:
“Yeah, I have a bunch of must-have items. I travel with a lot of books and I like to journal and I like to write. And I always have sentimental pieces that are just kind of reminders for me, on the way of either people that have influenced me or times that I’ve been influential. I’m pretty sentimental in that way.”
 

 

Packing for the WC. #essentials

A photo posted by tobin powell heath (@tobinheath) on


BC:
What are some of the books?

TH:
“I’ve got everything. A lot of them are… I always travel with my Bible. It’s definitely an important item for me. And I’ve got little devotionals. I’ve got some more motivational types of reads. It’s kind of whatever I’m in the mood for. That’s usually what I go to. And so with the other girls we like to share that kind of stuff, so it’s fun.”

BC:
You have your own sort of like team-sharing library, as it were.

TH:
“Yeah. I feel like if the whole team wants to share information or recommend things, so that’s fun like that. Whether it’s a TV series or a book or some music, I think we’re always going through a variety of things because we all have so many different interests and passions, so it’s cool like that.”

BC:
As you well know, the first World Cup game is next week. You’re in a difficult group – some would say the Group of Death. The first game is against Australia, obviously a talented team that includes a Thorns teammate in defender Steph Catley. What do you think it will be like going to head-to-head against her?

TH:
“Well, first off I think it’s a Group of Death and the only reason it’s a Group of Death is because we’re in it, which is obviously awesome. But every one of our opponents is going to be extremely tough, and I think we’re looking forward to it just because in this tournament, in general, you’re going to have to face the best teams in the world. So for us we have to get off to a good start from the beginning, and that’s our focus. And obviously our focus is on Australia and we know them well. We’ve obviously done our homework and studied them, and that way we’re really prepared.

And going up against a player that I played with in the Thorns, Steph, she’s great. I really enjoyed playing with her last season. I think she’s really talented. She’s obviously a young kid with a bunch of potential. I haven’t seen her since the end of last season, so I’m looking forward to seeing her and seeing how she’s grown as a player because I know she’s probably even better than when she was with the Thorns because it’s the kind of player she is. She seems to be always growing and getting better. You saw that last season with the Thorns, when she came in she just seemed to get better with each game. So I have a feeling she’s going to have a great tournament and I wish her the best.” 

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