With its 2-0 victory over the Netherlands on Sunday, the U.S. women’s national team secured its second straight World Cup title, and record fourth overall. U.S. captain Megan Rapinoe, who was awarded the Golden Ball (top player) and Golden Boot (top scorer), scored on a penalty kick in the second half, and Rose Lavelle later added a second goal.
>> Subscribe to Sports Spectrum Magazine for more stories where sports and faith connect <<
With a record 26 goals, the Americans never trailed in the tournament, and extended their World Cup winning streak to 12 games (dating back to 2015).
Among the U.S.’s starting 11 for the final was Tobin Heath, the 31-year-old forward who started six of the team’s matches in France, recording one assist.
On Monday, Heath gave “all glory to God” in an Instagram post:
This marked her third World Cup, as Heath was also a key part of the 2011 U.S. World Cup team (which lost in the final to Japan) and the 2015 U.S. World Cup squad (which defeated Japan in the final). Heath is also a three-time Olympian, helping the Americans to gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Games, before a quarterfinal loss in 2016.
Through it all, Heath — who stars professionally for the NWSL’s Portland Thorns and won three NCAA titles with North Carolina — has shared her faith in Christ.
“I was fortunate enough to grow up in a Christian home and an awesome family,” she told Beliefnet in 2011. “Our family was just really passionate about Jesus. I had a great experience growing up. Like many kids, I wanted to do my own thing so it wasn’t until around the end of high school and start of college that I started to develop my own faith. I stopped piggy backing off of my family’s (faith) and wanted to figure out what it was all about. I got super interested in things and obviously from there it’s just grown.
“Like anyone who has a relationship (with Jesus) knows, the coolest thing about it is that it’s infinite how much you can learn and begin to understand. It’s something that grabbed me.”
Heath has long spoke publicly about her relationship with God, realizing the platform she’s been given through soccer is a blessing. When the world sees her success in her sport, she can credit God and tell about how He’s worked in her life.
“It’s about Him being known and not in a way that forces it upon other people but in a way that lets people know how He’s transformed my life and how He’s given me purpose and meaning and love and satisfaction,” she told Beliefnet. “That’s the message of Jesus. It’s not a platform to impose on people. It’s a platform to love people. Our God’s going to be victorious. He’s the Creator of the universe. I’m just a vessel trying to do my part with what I’ve been given.”
Faith isn't about religion, it's about relationship with God. #AMEN
— Tobin Heath (@TobinHeath) January 29, 2013
— MAGAZINE: Julie Ertz leads U.S. women’s national team with power of love
— LAFC’s Christian Ramirez strives to ‘put myself second to God’ as he leads West’s top club
— Philadelphia Union defender Ray Gaddis glorifies God through soccer