Tobin Heath

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Heath, Smith sidelined with injuries for USWNT

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CHICAGO (AP) Forward Tobin Heath and defender Taylor Smith are sidelined with injuries that will keep them out of the U.S. women’s national team training camp in Louisiana ahead of two upcoming matches against South Korea.

Heath is nursing an ankle injury and Smith her shoulder. Both women were hurt in the NWSL championship match last Saturday, the U.S. Soccer Federation said Monday.

The Americans play Thursday at New Orleans and Sunday in Cary, North Carolina.

Neither player will be replaced on the roster and coach Jill Ellis will have 18 players dressed for each game.

Ozil shows off jersey from USWNT star, Arsenal fan Heath

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Germany’s use of a young squad for this summer’s Confederations Cup has allowed Mesut Ozil some unusual freedom this offseason.

Ozil, 28, has been spending some time in America this offseason, and apparently connected with USWNT and Portland Thorns star Tobin Heath.

Heath has long been delayed in returning to the lineup with a back injury, and Ozil showed off a signed Heath USWNT shirt on Twitter while wishing the star well in her recovery.

[ MORE: Man City in for Aubameyang ]

Heath claimed to be a big Arsenal fan back in 2011, when she and USWNT teammate Casey Nogueira visited the Emirates, and has supported the club on social media.

USWNT calls up 16-year-old free-scoring striker

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Injuries to Tobin Heath, Lindsey Horan, and Morgan Brian have opened the door for a new face to the USWNT.

And that face is young.

Jill Ellis has called up 16-year-old Sophia Smith for USWNT training camp ahead of April’s two friendlies against Russia.

[ MORE: PL Preview — Merseyside Derby ]

Judging from this U.S. Soccer press release, Smith is really good at scoring goals (She also scored for the U-23s this month):

Between Feb. 15 and March 8, Smith was in Europe, first with the U.S. U-18 WNT in England, where she scored five goals in three games. That performance earned her a first call-up to the U.S. U-20 WNT and she traveled directly to La Manga, Spain, where she scored another four goals in three matches.

Smith comes from the same Real Colorado youth set-up as 17-year-old Jaelin Howell, who was called up earlier in the week.

Coincidentally, Smith lists Heath as one of her two favorite players.

TOMBOY documentary series on gender in sports

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This month a documentary series focusing on gender and its role in sports will be aired on NBCSN and across all  NBC Sports Regional Networks.

TOMBOY  is a multi-platform documentary project which aims to elevate the conversation about gender in sports told through the voices of many of the world’s most prominent female athletes, broadcasters and sports executives. The first-of-its-kind integrated initiative culminates with a special one-hour documentary, also titled TOMBOY, which will air across all NBC Sports Regional Networks, nationally distributed NBCSN, and select NBC Owned Television Stations in March.

Former U.S. women’s national team defender Danielle Slaton has spoken about her experiences with gender in sport and how she got her start in the game by playing on an all-boys team.

Click play on the video above to hear Slaton’s story, while here you can find out how you can watch all of the TOMBOY content coming up this month.

Tobin Heath wins first U.S. Soccer Female Player of Year award

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Electric attacker Tobin Heath has been named U.S. Soccer’s Female Player of the Year.

The 28-year-old is the fifth different winner since 2012, joining Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach, Lauren Holiday, and Carli Lloyd. The award is Heath’s first.

[ MORE: U.S. Men’s Player, Young Player of Year ]

Heath scored six goals for the USWNT this season, including two in the side’s ill-fated Olympics. She added another goal in 14 appearances for the Portland Thorns of the NWSL.

From USSoccer.com:

“It’s obviously an honor to win an award like this, especially when you look at the list of amazing players who have won it before,” Heath said. “This year was a difficult one for our team, but overall we played some great soccer so it’s humbling to be recognized individually. I’m just proud to be in the company of all the great players that were nominated and all of the players that played for the USA this year.

“I couldn’t have accomplished anything without the support of my teammates and my coaches, and while it was a fun year for me personally, I’m excited not only about my own future, but also the future of this team as I know we have a lot more room to grow and many more goals to achieve.”

Ashley Sanchez won the Young Female Player of the Year. The uncapped 17-year-old played for the U.S. in both the U-17 and U-20 World Cups this season. She’s been called up to train with the USWNT.

Follow @NicholasMendola