Tobin Heath enters the first training session with OL Reign


In fact, it’s very hot, as a heat wave is sweeping through the Pacific Northwest. But at Bellarmine High School, where OL Reign hold their training sessions, a Heath wave has just begun, as recently signed winger Tobin Heath had his first training session with the club today.

Heath signed with OL Reign after the club acquired his NWSL playing rights in a trade with Racing Louisville, which will see the US international winger play the remainder of the 2022 NWSL season here, with the option to stay next year.

“Yes, it was great; beautiful day here,” Heath told the media after Monday’s session. “It’s great to be with everyone. It’s always a bit overwhelming on the first day. Lots of people, lots of new faces, but everyone was super welcoming. The session was quiet. So yeah, it was great.”


“We always knew when Tobin came in, we’d handle her a little bit and work to get her back because she hasn’t played in a while,” OL Reign head coach Laura Harvey said in assessing Heath’s first workout. “But you see the quality of him and the class of him right away and I think his experience, his ability, his understanding of what it takes [to win] in this league it will also be an incredible trait.”

Watching Heath suit up in OL Reign training gear and train alongside his rivals now teammates in Jess Fishlock and Lauren Barnes can be surreal for many fans, who have seen them go head to head multiple times over the years in Cascadia rivalry matches.

“I loved playing against them. They are great competitors, very good players. I also like them as people, but playing with them obviously is fantastic. I don’t mind not playing against Jess [Fishlock] more, and Lu [Barnes] It’s class. I always say she’s the softest backside in the league. So yeah, it’s great to be on the floor with these guys, instead of against them,” Heath said.

When it was only a rumor that Heath could join the Reign, the club had no comment. However, the official announcement soon came: Tobin Heath would be joining OL Reign. Heath didn’t go into much detail on Monday about how the move came about, saying only: “I knew he was going to come back to the NWSL and I talked to Laura, I talked to the players and I thought he would be a good fit for me this season.”

This won’t be the first time Harvey and Heath have worked together. When Harvey was the head coach of the US U-20 Women’s National Team, she worked with Heath on her rehab, getting her fitness where it needed to be so she could be a part of the USWNT team at the Games. Tokyo Summer Olympics, where he made six appearances and recorded one assist.

Heath was at Arsenal before joining OL Reign, and while playing for the club she had long been a fan of was something of an item on her wish list, it was cut short by a hamstring injury. . Asked today about the status of his recovery from that injury, Heath said: “I feel great. Obviously I have to get back in shape and get back to work to play, but that’s the exciting part of being back on the pitch.”

Another Arsenal player is set to join OL Reign: midfielder Kim Little was announced on May 29 to do a short-term loan spell, however there is still final processing for his visa before he can enter the clubs. USA and dressing up with OL Reign. Unfortunately, the team had no news to share about that process today, simply noting that it’s all in the hands of the US State Department.

It will happen eventually, and Heath is looking forward to the brief reunion with Little. Kim is amazing. She’s from class, so that would be great. That was something nice and unexpected for both of them. I really loved the time I got to spend with her, so it’s going to be a cute little spell together.”

Yesterday the annual Gay Pride Parade took place in downtown Seattle. Harvey, OL Reign players and staff members participated in the parade, along with Sounders FC staff members. Sometimes the schedule hasn’t worked out where OL Reign is in town to fully participate in Pride activities during the month of June, highlighted of course by the parade through downtown, so the club makes the most of it when can. Head Coach Laura Harvey spoke about the importance to the club and to herself as a gay woman of participating in the parade, especially in the context of the US Supreme Court ruling last week to overturn Roe vs. . Wade, undoing 50 years of progress for women’s rights and health care.

“I think that since I arrived [to the United States] I feel super lucky to have been able to live authentically who I am. I think sometimes I take it for granted because we live in a state that is so welcoming and open to anyone and everyone. Yesterday was a special event. It always is, but I think even more so because of what obviously happened last week. I think there was an extra vibe around it of people believing what they believe is right, and part of that is allowing people to be who they are, allowing them to make their own choices and what they do with their lives and their bodies. ”

This Friday, when OL Reign returns to Lumen Field to host the North Carolina Courage, it will be the club’s Pride game. Harvey commented on the importance of the club always being a Pride party.

“I think it’s huge. You know, I think again, we kind of take it for granted. Our environment is very inclusive. The club has always been very inclusive. We live in a place that is very inclusive. I think sometimes we take that for granted, but I think you know when you hear other people’s life stories and how hard it’s been for them, and even people within our locker room have that story, I think, you know, it’s it makes him feel even more important and I hope everyone will come out and support him.”

Ahead of today’s OL Reign training, the club announced that striker Zsani Kaján had been transferred to Italy’s ACF Fiorentina. Kaján was OL Reign’s first draft pick, selected eighth overall, in last December’s NWSL Draft, but he had not appeared in the regular season with the club. When asked about the move and specifically whether it’s a transfer rather than a loan, Harvey said: “We want Zsani to go and play and get games. The club [ACF Fiorentina] I really wanted it to be something more long term and I think it will possibly prepare her to come back to the league. Europe is a good place for her to develop. Being in America is where she really wanted to try, and she did really well when she was here, but she just needed to play.”