Sports

NC Courage makes long-anticipated move, brings home former Tar Heel Heather O'Reilly

Heather O’Reilly celebrated after scoring a goal against Costa Rica last year. The North Carolina Courage acquired the rights to O'Reilly and a 2019 NWSL second-round draft pick from the Utah Royals in exchange for Makenzy Doniak and a 2019 third-round pick.
Heather O’Reilly celebrated after scoring a goal against Costa Rica last year. The North Carolina Courage acquired the rights to O'Reilly and a 2019 NWSL second-round draft pick from the Utah Royals in exchange for Makenzy Doniak and a 2019 third-round pick. AP file

One of the most recognizable women's soccer players from the last decade is coming back to the Triangle.

The North Carolina Courage acquired the rights to Heather O'Reilly and a 2019 NWSL second-round draft pick from the Utah Royals in exchange for Makenzy Doniak and a 2019 third-round pick.

O'Reilly has been a mainstay in the U.S. Women's National Team lineup. She's won three Olympic gold medals and the 2015 Women's World Cup title while making 231 appearances over 14 years.

The 33-year-old midfielder won two NCAA titles at North Carolina from 2003-06 and was most recently playing for the Arsenal women's team in London. Her No. 20 jersey is retired at UNC.

President Obama honors the Women's World Cup soccer team at the White House, noting former Tar Heel Heather O'Reilly's game face and that this team "taught all of America's children that playing like a girl means you're a badass".

Team President and general manager Curt Johnson said in a statement that the club has long wanted to have O'Reilly on its roster.

“The idea of bringing Heather back to North Carolina has been important to (owner) Steve (Malik) and I since our first conversation about purchasing the Flash,” Johnson said in a statement. “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.”

According to a news release, O’Reilly has maintained a residence in Chapel Hill throughout her playing career. She and husband David Werry, a former UNC lacrosse player, are co-owners of the Carolina Coffee Shop, which claims to be the oldest restaurant in Chapel Hill still operating at its original location, on Franklin Street.

Heather O'Reilly, Olympic and World Cup champion and one of the most capped players in the history of American soccer, builds strong connections within family, team, community and the sport.

Related stories from Raleigh News & Observer

  Comments