JAPAN (Christian Examiner) – "Thanks Lord," Tobin Heath, two-time Olympic gold medalist regularly tweeted during her team's journey becoming this year's World Cup champions.
President Barack Obama congratulated U.S. Women's national soccer team players Tuesday during a phone call from the White House. The President commended the athletes for their talents that led them to this year's title, but 27 year-old Heath has long given credit for her abilities to God.
Heath, who scored one of the goals in her team's 5-2 win over Japan in the championship game on Sunday, the most-watched soccer match in U.S. history, has Ephesians 2:8-9 as part of her Twitter profile and referenced Philippians 4:6-7 in one of her "thanks Lord" tweets on June 12.
She reflected on the relationship of her faith in Christ and soccer in a 2011 BeliefNet interview.
"It's more than just winning or losing. There are so many relationships that go deeper than that. He has a plan in it all. You have to trust that . . . Everybody wants to be winners – you have to trust that God has a greater plan for this even when you can't see it," she said.
"My platform might be a little bigger than someone else's, but everyone has a purpose. For me, that purpose in my life right now is soccer. There's a cool, personal testimony that goes along with it. You spend so much time with your teammates in environments where they see how you live. It's one of the coolest ways to just love people," she continued
"Your teammates see you through the good and the bad. They see where your foundation lies in those moments. You can also be there for them to share the love of Christ to them through those times when they're in need and desperate for some truth in their lives," Heath said.
For now, Heath and her teammates will enjoy the good. In addition to Tuesday's phone call from Obama, the team greeted 10,000 fans at a rally in Los Angeles. On July 10, they will make history by being the first U.S. women's team from any sport to receive a ticker-tape parade in New York City.
Heath has been a member of the U.S. women's national soccer team since 2008 competing in the 2011 and 2015 World Cup tournaments. She was a member of the gold-medal winning women's soccer teams at the 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing, China and the 2012 summer Olympics in London, England.
Heath currently plays professional soccer for the Portland Thorns in Oregon.