Fans of women's soccer in the Basking Ridge area won't just be rooting for their country's team. Some are sure to be watching, and cheering, for Tobin Heath, the graduate of who is participating in the Olympic games in London.
Heath, 24, already has filed a blog on ESPN.com about her feelings on competing among the world's top athletes.
Rich Shello, Ridge's athletic director, said earlier this week that he "absolutely will be looking out for Tobin as well as all of the American athletes." a 4-2 victory over France on Tuesday, even before the opening ceremony.
Shello said he is unaware of any other Ridge athlete who made it to the Olympics, although 2012 graduate Heath graduated from Ridge in 2006 and played on the high school's girls soccer team.
Shaye McCoy, a Ridge junior come fall who already has played girls soccer at Ridge for two years, and plans to continue this fall, said she will be following Heath in upcoming games.
"She's a good role model for the Ridge girls soccer team," McCoy said.
She said that Heath sometimes has been mentioned by team members. After all, "She came from our town."
Heath "an inspiration to all girls at Ridge"
"I think it's awesome," said Emily Rowe, another rising junior who plays on the Ridge girls soccer team.
But, even aside from soccer, Rowe said, "She is an inspiration to all girls at Ridge."
Heath also spoke to the Basking Ridge Patch in 2010 about her hopes, and how she got her start playing soccer in Basking Ridge at the
The team will face the Columbian women's team on Saturday, with the game to be televised at noon on NBC Sports Network.
Heath also participated in the U.S. team seeking the World Cup Title last year, and Shello spoke about his school's former athlete at that time.
Shello recalled Heath as an outstanding player who might have appeared even more so, except that she was a team player who was just as likely to pass the ball to another team member to give that player an opportunity to score.
"We've followed her since she left," Shello said of Heath's post-high school career, which included playing soccer at the University of North Carolina and competing in the Olympics.
Shello last summer said that Heath participated Ridge's soccer program during her first three years at the high school. However, she was unable to play for the Ridge team as a senior because by that time she was already involved in professional soccer.