BERNARDS TWP., NJ - Olympian, World Cup Women's Soccer team winner and 2006 Ridge High School graduate Tobin Heath now has another accomplishment to add to her resume: the U.S. Soccer organization's 2016 Female Player of the Year.
Heath, who was described on the U.S. Soccer website as a "fan favorite for her entertaining style of play and dynamic work with the ball," won the award for the first time in her ninth year with the U.S. Women’s National Team, according to the U.S. Soccer announcement this week.
Heath, a midfielder, played with the U.S. women's soccer team at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
The 28-year-old Basking Ridge native had visited Basking Ridge and greeted hometown fans in July 2015 one week after scoring the final goal in July 5th's World Cup Team USA women's soccer victory over Japan.
Then, just this September, Bernards Township dedicated one of the municipal soccer fields in her honor. Heath attended the dedication at Pleasant Valley Park, to the delight of the hometown fans, including many female players.
"Obviously, this is a huge honor," Heath said during her comments. "I grew up just a kid with a ball and a dream, and that's what I want this field to be - a place for kids to dream."
Heath added, "It's really cool for me to have my family here, and the people that have loved me and supported me, especially my coaches, and some I haven't seen in a while, but obviously played a huge part in why I'm here, and why I'm standing here."
"This is the place I am from," the soccer star told the crowd.
Heath also plays for the professional Portland Thorns team as part of the National Women's Soccer League.