Heather O’Reilly is returning to her soccer roots. (Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)
Former U.S. international Heather O’Reilly is returning to her soccer roots.
The North Carolina Courage has signed former former University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill standout after acquiring her rights and a 2019 National Women’s Soccer League college draft natural second-round pick in exchange for Makenzy Doniak and a natural third-round pick in the 2019 draft via trade with Utah Royals FC, the club announced Thursday.
O’Reilly will be added to the roster pending the receipt of her International Transfer Certificate.
“Heather is a massive addition to our squad,” Courage head coach Paul Riley said. “Her temperament, work ethic, experience, skill and ability will enable her to make an immediate impact in Courage Country. Excited to finally coach her and I look forward to the positivity, influence and charisma she brings to every locker room. Every team in NWSL is getting stronger and it’s important we continue to grow, move forward and improve our performances. I think Heather adds to our style and culture and I know she will be very popular with our fan base.”
O’Reilly, who won two NCAA Division I championships with the Tar Heels from 2003-06, most recently spent the 2017-18 seasons with Arsenal Women Football Club in London and last played in the NWSL with FC Kansas City in 2016.
The 33-year-old midfielder competed for the U.S from 2002-16, enjoying a decorated international career that began when she was in high school. O’Reilly made 231 appearances, won three Olympic gold medals, the 2002 Under-19 Women’s World Cup title and 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup crown.
In two seasons with Arsenal, she scored four goals in 38 matches and helped the club reach the 2018 SSE Women’s FA Cup Final.
O’Reilly played in the NWSL during tits first four years, with the Boston Breakers in 2013-14 and FC Kansas City in 2015-16. She scored 17 goals and recorded 16 assists and was named to the NWSL Second XI team in 2014.
She is no stranger to the Triangle because of her time at UNC, O’Reilly has maintained a residence in Chapel Hill throughout her playing career, and is a co-owner of the Carolina Coffee Shop on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill.
“The idea of bringing Heather back to North Carolina has been important to Steve and I since our first conversation about purchasing the Flash,” club president and general manager Curt Johnson said. “It has been important to us because we know it’s something Courage fans are passionate about. We are thrilled to add her to this great group and continue to build the strongest organization possible on and off the field.”