Credit Photo credit Pam Moody


Former MLS striker is making his mark in the NASL


Everybody has heard the story of Michael Jordan being cut from his high school team.  Even though it is a fictional representation of the truth, it is still a great story that has been shared thousands of times.  But the reality is that this actually happened to Ottawa Fury striker Tom Heinemann

Yes, one of the best strikers in the NASL actually got cut from his high school soccer team.  But it was a mere hiccup in the scheme of things, a bump in the road in an immensely successful career.

Heinemann is quick to give credit to others for getting him this far.  His cousin Jim Garvin had a big part in training and development, while coaches like Dr. Anthony Tocco and Tony Glavin took his game even further.     

The end result is a prototypical striker for the modern game. 

Heinemann has experience at every level from PDL to MLS.  He’s been a star and a fan favorite at every stop. 

Credit to Steve Kingsman Photography

He registered nine goals in 39 appearances for the Charleston Battery in 2009-2010 before landing with the Carolina RailHawks.  His strike rate improved dramatically with the increase in the quality of play, scoring six goals in just 12 appearances.  This would open the door to opportunities with MLS teams.

The first to call was the Columbus Crew and Heinemann spent two seasons with the Ohio side.  It is a team that he continues to follow albeit from long distance.    

“I would like to say ‘hey’ to the fans.  It’s been very interesting to see the new turnover.  I love keeping up with the club.”

He would tally three goals in 31 appearances for Columbus before signing with the Vancouver Whitecaps for the 2013 season.  He would register a goal in 14 appearances, enough to get further looks from other clubs in MLS.

But Heinemann moved to the NASL, signing with the Fury for the 2014 season. 

“Ottawa made a good offer.  We prayed a lot about it.  I am always making careful decisions, but we felt that God was leading us here.”  

Credit to Steve Kingsman Photography

He has been sensational there, scoring five goals in 16 appearances.  He is again a fan favorite and it is no coincidence that you will find Heinemann on most of the club’s marketing materials.  

He is a great leader and player on the field and an even greater person off of it.  He is known as a man of great faith and spirituality, so much that he has become a role model for players, supporters, and fans alike. 

Heinemann hasn’t even been bothered by a move to a different league and he is keen to making the most of the opportunity.  And like other NASL players, he doesn’t see much of a gap between MLS and NASL.   

“The standard of play is close.  MLS has more marketing to bring in big-name guys like Thierry Henry and Robbie Keane, but our owners are investing more and the league is growing.  It’s becoming a big thing.”

The Fury are certainly making waves of their own thanks to a beautiful facility called TD Place.  The stadium, which offers fans an intimate perspective on the game, is quickly becoming the “it place” in the city.  Future plans to build restaurants, shops, and housing developments around the stadium epicenter are incredibly promising.

“It’s a very neat place to play.  It has a ‘homey’ feel, a beautiful view, and an open environment.  It’s special.”

Credit to Steve Kingsman Photography

This is not the first time Heinemann has played someplace special. He also spoke with fondness on his time with the Crew.

“The gameday experience at Crew Stadium was special.  You could feel the Nordecke, their volume level.  There always was an ‘old school’ sense of tradition and history.”

He was quickly embraced by the city of Columbus and its fans.  It’s something he will never forget.

“My wife and I love Columbus.  It is a great city.  Being part of that community was special.”

So how does his time in Columbus stack up to his current gig?

“The product on the field is climbing, climbing.  And the people in Ottawa are falling in love with it, wrapping their arms around it.”  

That is not a surprise with someone as talented and charismatic as Tom Heinemann leading the way.