Heather O’Reilly Signed, Traded to North Carolina Courage

Heather O'Reilly
COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 15: Heather O'Reilly #9 of the US Women's National Team celebrates after scoring a goal against Thailand on September 15, 2016 at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. The United States defeated Thailand 9-0. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

CARY, NORTH CAROLINA (June 28, 2018) — Heather O’Reilly is back in the United States.

After spending two seasons in London with Arsenal Ladies, O’Reilly has joined the North Carolina Courage. During her time in London, O’Reilly made 38 appearances, scoring four goals.

Her rights were originally held by FC Kansas City, but when the club dissolved the Utah Royals garnered her rights.

Heather O’Reilly Returns to the U.S., to Play for North Carolina Courage

However, with Utah’s recent acquisitions of Samantha Johnson and Christen Press, the task to trade O’Reilly began. North Carolina came knocking, and sent over midfielder Makenzy Doniak and a third-round pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft.

In addition to O’Reilly, the Courage have also acquired a second-round pick in the same draft.

Via a press release, Courage Head Coach Paul Riley said that O’Reilly is a “massive addition” to the team.

“Her temperament, work ethic, experience, skill and ability will enable her to make an immediate impact in Courage Country,” Riley said. “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.”

Riley also added that O’Reilly adds to North Carolina’s “style and culture.”

“I know she will be very popular with our fan base.”

O’Reilly’s History

O’Reilly was formerly a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team, making 231 appearances and scoring 47 goals. O’Reilly has been apart of the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympic games. However, in 2016, USWNT Head Coach Jill Ellis only named her as an alternate.

Later in 2016, O’Reilly retired from the national team. Her last match was on Sept. 15 — fitting since she was with the national team for 15 years — against Thailand in Columbus, Ohio.

O’Reilly’s club career began way back in 2004 with the New Jersey Wildcats. She then joined Sky Blue FC, formerly part of the WPS, before heading to the Boston Breakers.

O’Reilly joined FC Kansas City in 2015, winning a championship in 2015.

North Carolina FC President and General Manager Curt Johnson said that bringing O’Reilly to the Courage was important since last year’s purchase of the team (who was formerly known as the Western New York Flash).

“It has been important to us because we know it’s something Courage fans are passionate about,” Johnson said. “We are thrilled to add her to this great group and continue to build the strongest organization possible on and off the field.”

Makenzy Doniak to Utah Royals FC

While O’Reilly sets up shop in North Carolina, Doniak is heading to Utah.

The Royals, coached by Laura Harvey, have now added three new players during the mid-season trading period. Doniak joins Christen Press and Samantha Johnson as new faces.

Doniak began her career with the Western New York Flash in 2016, making 22 appearances. She moved with the club to North Carolina, where she has made 23 appearances.

Doniak also spent time in Australia in the W-League. She featured for Adelaide United, scoring seven goals in 12 appearances.

Riley said that it’s difficult to lose a player with Doniak’s quality.

“She has given a lot to our team over the past few years and was an integral part of our Championship and Shield wins,” Riley said. “She will be a tremendous addition to Utah and we want to wish her the very best as she recovers from her injury and gets playing again. Makenzy will be missed here, and her work ethic and professionalism will leave a lasting legacy in our locker room.”

Meanwhile, Johnson also wished Doniak the best.

“I want to thank Makenzy for all she has done for the North Carolina Courage and North Carolina Football Club,” Johnson said. “She has been a model pro on and off the field and we wish her all the best.”

Club and Players React to Trade on Twitter

Main Photo Credit:
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