Playing club football will be an important factor in forward Tobin Heath’s bid to make the United States’ final 18-player squad for this summer’s Olympic Games according to head coach Vlatko Andonovski.
The 32-year-old Manchester United forward has not been involved with the United States in either of their 2021 camps so far. Heath opted to remain in England for the January camp while she missed the SheBelieves Cup in February through injury.
Heath will remain sidelined until the middle of next month meaning that she will again miss international duty as the United States take on both Sweden and France in the April international window.
United States head coach Andonovski will name his final squad for the Olympic Games in mid-June, potentially giving Heath just two months to force her way into the nation’s small 18-player squad. Andonovski told FA Women’s Super League Full-Time that Heath’s potential involvement in Manchester United’s final three or four games this season will be important in both proving her fitness and her worth to the United States for the Olympic Games.
“Tobin is a very important player to this team, she had been incredible for this team up until her injury,” Andonovski said in a US Soccer press conference. “We are anxious to see her back on the field, firstly to see her healthy and then in those three or four games to see her get fit before she comes into the next camp.
“It is unfortunate that she picked up this injury and we are just glad at this point that she will be able to get some games with her club before she comes in camp.”
Andonovski has selected 23 players for next month’s international friendly fixtures against Sweden and France but he said that those absent players still have a chance of making the squad for Tokyo.
He added “I wouldn’t say that it is safe to say that the 18 are going to come from this 23. I would say that I would be happy to say that, I would happy to be as close to the 23 to select the 18 but right now we are not.
“We have roughly set a date in the middle of June to select the final roster. We are going to use these camps but also we are going to use the NWSL games or the games in the respective leagues to continue evaluating the players, evaluating their fitness and their form before we select the roster.”
The United States face Sweden on 10 April before travelling to Le Havre to take on France on 13 April.