Ridge High Alum Tobin Heath Gains Olympic Gold
U.S. women's soccer team beats Japan 2-1 Thursday in London.
It was evening in London, afternoon in New Jersey—and a golden moment in Basking Ridge.
Ridge High School graduate Tobin Heath, class of 2006, was a member of the U.S. women's soccer team that won gold shortly after 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time in a victory over Japan, 2-1.
It was a reversal of the U.S. team's loss to Japan in last year's World Cup, a match-up in which Heath, a midfielder, also took part.
Thursday's tooth-and-nail play in the final Olympic game was seen as somewhat of "sweet revenge" against Japan, as in this account on Yahoo Sports.
Meanwhile, at home, Ridge girls soccer coach Katie Donahue said she had watched the game and was impressed by how the U.S. Olympic team "held on" while Japan battled to regain the lead.
"It's amazing," Donahue said of having a former soccer player for Ridge and a local resident playing on an Olympic gold-medal winning team.
Heath also had participated in the Olympics in 2008, when the team also won gold, but she was a reserve player at that time.
"This time not only did she get to start, but she played such important moments throughout," Donahue said. "In the last two minutes, she had good defensive clearing out in the box," Donahue said.
Donahue said previously she had done some coaching with the varsity team while Heath was playing at Ridge, although she then worked more with younger teams. "She's very naturally talented," Donahue said.
But Heath also worked very hard, and the team's victory is "great validation for players who work so hard and come home with the gold at the highest level," she said.
It's impressive even to know that Heath played at a stadium, Wembley, in front of 85,000 people, Donahue said. "She's very calm and composed," Donahue said of Heath.
The girls soccer team at Ridge begins tryouts on Monday, Donahue said.
An Olympic victory for one of their own—even if the players now are too young to remember or have played with Heath—is sure to give a nice momentum to tryouts and the start of the girls soccer team this September, she said.
Would be hard to "duplicate" Tobin's techniques
Asked if this fall's girls soccer players might try out some of Heath's moves, Donahue said, "What she has is hard to duplicate."
Earlier Thursday morning, Basking Ridge travel agency Wabba Travel had tweeted to Tobin Heath, "Congratulations Basking Ridge resident—we are cheering you on from here."
And at the Station Pub & Grub in Bernardsville, the television was tuned into Olympics coverage on NBC.
Donahue said she had watched the entire match. "It was an exciting game," she said.
And Barbara Long, Wabba Travel's owner, said that many from this area may have preferred to watch from afar. She said she had booked no trips to the Olympics, and some of her clients had asked specifically to avoid London during the games. She said that usually family members accompany Olympian participants to the game.
Jeffrey Heath Jr., a photographer, was in London with his sister. And Basking Ridge resident, chiropractor Fred Rossi, is in London with the men's freestyle wrestling team, whose spines he has the responsibility of adjusting to keep them in top form during competition. He has been blogging about his experiences.
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