How to Play Like Tobin Heath

Let’s see if we can help you learn how to play soccer like women’s national team star Tobin Heath. She is really the first women’s soccer player to make manipulating the soccer ball their focus, really. Heath is the Ronaldinho of women’s soccer in many ways. Her trickery on the ball is constantly developing to the detriment of her opponents who she embarrasses if they try to stop her.

What stands out about Tobin Heath’s soccer playing style is that she’s so comfortable on the ball at her feet. Heath isn’t afraid to take players on or hold on to the ball a bit longer than usual to invite a defender to dive in and try to win the ball. That’s just what Heath wants, the defender to try to win the ball so she can go past them.

Here’s Heath dribbling past a couple Japanese defenders – she holds the ball and draws them in and then beats them on the dribble but knows where her teammates are too.

But Heath can hold on to the soccer ball longer because she knows when to do and when not to. She most often holds the ball or dribbles at players in the attacking third, where it’s ok if she loses it. She’s also always looking for a teammate to pass to or to take a shot. She doesn’t just dribble for dribbling’s sake. She’s trying to make something happen.

To play like Tobin Heath you have to put the work in though, spend time with the ball and master it. Here’s one of Heath’s ball control drills.

Heath also dribbles at players along the touch line or end line, so if she loses the soccer ball she can still win a corner or a throw-in. She is just a smart soccer player or has a high soccer IQ if you like.

What’s unique though about Heath is she throws in little feints, moves or acts like she’s going to strike the ball but keeps it instead. This fake shots or crosses throw off the defender and keep them on their heels. And Heath is good at using her body to protect the all and shield it from defenders.

In the end, defenders can’t really read what she’s going to do with the ball, which way she’s going to go or who’s she’s going to play the ball to. Soccer needs more players like Heath, who want to take players on and beat them on the dribble. Heath has said that she has always looked up to players like Ronaldinho, and you can see him in her style of play. Heath wants to win but she also wants to have fun and enjoy the game. That’s something no soccer players should forget – have fun while playing.

Tobin Heath also loves to nutmeg teammates at practice…she’s queen of the nutmeg.

The last thing that stands out about Heath is she always wants the ball. If you watch her play she’s always yelling for the ball or raising her arms up screaming for the ball. Good players want the ball so they can create goal scoring chances or score themselves.

Here’s Heath drawing in defenders and then chipping a cross to Megan Rapinoe: