Tobin Heath leaves Arsenal Women: Is the NWSL the next USWNT star?

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Arsenal announced Thursday that Tobin Heath was released from her contract by mutual consent.

The American had suffered a hamstring injury a week earlier which ruled her out for the rest of the season, and her contract with the club was due to expire at the end of the campaign.

Joining the club in September, the USWNT veteran leaves the London club with just 18 appearances and three goals. Now 33, Heath will consider her next move, having played in England, France and the United States throughout her club career.

“Although I am disappointed that my time at Arsenal ended prematurely, I have loved every minute of my time here,” Tobin told the club’s official website.

“I would like to thank everyone at the club who have welcomed me so well. Arsenal are a special club and they are a special group of players. I have no doubt that they are destined for success in the near future and I will support the team with the rest of the Arsenal family from now on.”

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How has Tobin Heath fared at Arsenal?

Heath, who is a self-proclaimed lifelong Arsenal fan, joined the Gunners in September after a spell at Manchester United, but his time at the club did not go as planned.

With the club battling for the Women’s Super League title, one point behind leaders Chelsea with three games to play, Heath has been sidelined for nearly half the campaign with a series of persistent muscle injuries. Throughout the season, Heath has missed 15 games through injury and is set to miss the final three of the Championship season after his departure.

However, in such a tight title race, one of Heath’s goals could prove vital. Deep in stoppage time against fellow title challengers Man City, Heath delivered a precise strike from a tight angle that brought the Gunners level and secured a 1-1 draw.

“It has been a pleasure working with Tobin this season,” Arsenal head coach Jonas Eidevall said in the team’s official statement. “She made an important contribution both on and off the pitch, with her mentality and character setting a great example for the whole group.

“We wish Tobin well for the future and we can’t wait to see what comes next for her.”

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Where will Tobin Heath go next?

For now, the 33-year-old said she will return to the United States to work with her personal medical team on recovery from the hamstring injury.

It’s unclear what’s next, but there’s speculation that Heath will join the National NWSL, with the regular season set to begin on April 29.

New expansion team Racing Louisville owns the rights to Heath after acquiring them from the Portland Thorns in the 2021 expansion draft, but the new collective bargaining agreement is thought to be friendlier to players when it comes to picking a club, and it’s possible she’ll end up elsewhere.

The Sporting News has contacted the NWSL for clarification on procedures for reintroducing a USWNT veteran to the league, and has yet to hear back.

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