Friday, October 8, 2010

One on One with....Tom Heinemann

Affectionately nicknamed “the Beast” by Battery fans, Tommy Heinemann’s beard, shaggy locks and size, as well as his physical play, gives him the look of wild-man or a medieval barbarian.  In reality, the 6’4’ forward is more of a gentle giant, a religious man with a big smile.  Tommy was joint MVP in the 2010 USL2 Championship match and had a great season with the Charleston Battery.  The pairing of Heinemann’s physical and holding presence, along with league MVP Lamar Neagle’s pinpoint accuracy and nose for goal, gave the Battery one of the deadliest strike partnerships in recent years. 
As the USL2 season ended, the Carolina Railhawks were looking at Heinemann to bolster their offensive as they push for a USSF Division 2 championship. 
“I spoke with Auggie (Coach Mike Anhaeunser) at the end of the year and he told me that Carolina had expressed interest to the club about me. So, we just took it from there,” Heinemann told No Quarter. “I had heard great things about Martin Rennie, the coach for the Railhawks, as well as great things about the organization. We also played against them two times this year, once in the preseason and once in the open cup. After playing against them, I felt like I could fit into their system and be effective.”
So far he has been effective, scoring four goals in seven appearances for the Railhawks.
His game has been steadily improving since becoming a pro and joining the Battery two years ago.  But it started much earlier.
“I started playing soccer at age 4 for a local recreational team,” said Heinemann.  “I started playing select soccer at age 9.  I liked to run around a lot when I was a kid, and soccer fit the bill for that!”
He went on to play college soccer at Rockhust University where he was named to the NSCAA/NCAA Division II Men’s All-America Team as a sophomore and as a junior.  He also played PDL with the St. Louis Lions, where he scored 35 times in 36 games over three seasons with the Lions.  Heinenmann came to Charleston after a successful showing at the USL Men’s Player Showcase in 2008.
Heinemann like many professional athletes, counts his family as having a big part in his success.  ” My support that I have received from my family is so huge in my life,” said Heinemann.  “Knowing that they support me in all I do goes such a long way.  When I spoke to my immediate family during my last semester of college about trying to play professional soccer and foregoing my MBA (I was on a five year masters program), I was a bit nervous as to what they would say, but not to my surprise they jumped right on board and supported me in that.”
“They knew that was my dream,” he continued.  “To this day, I don't think they understand how much their support means to me.”
Nearly 50 Regiment and other Battery fans made the trip up to see the Battery play Charlotte in late July this past season.  At that match, Tommy had requested 18 tickets for his family and friends. 

“They are so freaking loud at the games!  I am sure you can attest to that,” joked Heinemann.  “They were hilarious at the Charlotte game. They are such a fun bunch.”
Heinemann also credits his past coaches and the big man upstairs.  “Jim Garvin, Tony Glavin, and Tony Tocco have coached me, trained me, and equipped me with the tools I need to play the game. I am very thankful for them.  Most importantly, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” continued Heinemann. “He has blessed me with the opportunity to play soccer professionally and is the only reason I am in the position I am today. All my credit and glory goes directly to Him as He has guided me throughout the course of my life.”
Heinemann scored eight goals and seven assist in 25 games for the Battery this season.  He was named co-MVP in the 2010 USL2 Championship match.
“The last two years in Charleston have been great! Charleston is such a beautiful city to live in and to play in,” said Heinemann.  “The Battery are a very stable organization that has helped me along in the early stages of my career. I have really learned how to be a professional off the field, as well as tons of things from a playing perspective.”
“This year was such a fun year, winning the Championship,” he continued. “Every player on our team did an outstanding job and it was a complete team effort all year long. The final was just evidence of that. I was really proud to be a part of such an exciting and hard working team.”
When asked who his dream side would be to play for would be “Liverpool,” laughed Heinemann.  “I know, I know, they are sucking right now, but they are my team through thick and thin!”
So what will 2011 bring for Heinemann?  “I am not sure at this point,” said Heinemann.  “I am just trying to take it one step at a time and focus on the task at hand here in Carolina (winning a title). Charleston is a great city and a great organization and I really enjoyed playing for the Battery, but for now, I just need to take it one step at a time.”
One thing is for sure, if Heinemann keeps scoring and starting for Carolina, he will have plenty of opportunities next season and “No Quarter” wishes him the best of luck but the selfish part of us would love to see him back at the ‘Baud in the Yellow and Black for next season.

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