Portland Thorns FC midfielder Tobin Heath has been named Thorns FC Assistant Youth Technical Director of the club’s newly created development academy, which will launch in the fall of 2017, the club announced Thursday.
“I’m very excited to begin working with the Thorns FC development academy. The formation of the DA and the Thorns involvement has given me a unique opportunity to use my experiences to inspire the next generation of footballers,” Heath said in a team press release. “First and foremost, my main priority at this point in my career is being the best player I can be, but my ambition is to change the culture of football in this country for the better, and that starts with our youth.”
Heath will assist youth sporting director Mike Smith and team head coaches in all technical matters, the club said. She’ll help with the annual technical planning, technical direction for player development and education within the academy and pre-academy age groups and advising college placement for all academy players. She will also work on earning her U.S. Soccer coaching licenses.
Heath spoke about the new position in a video posted by Portland Thorns FC. Read more about the position here.
“Having a player and personality like Tobin invested in the Thorns FC Academy is great for both the club and soccer in general,” Gavin Wilkinson, general manager and president of soccer for Thorns FC said in the release. “Tobin’s passion, technical ability, professionalism and leadership, coupled with her experiences at every level make her the ideal role model to positively influence the direction and growth of the Thorns Academy.”
Thorns FC is one of the 25 founding clubs of the U.S. Soccer Girls’ Development Academy. It will compete in three age groups: U-14/15, U-16/17 and U-18/19.