CARY, N.C. (June 28, 2018) – The North Carolina Courage has signed former U.S. Women’s National Team standout Heather O’Reilly after acquiring her rights and a 2019 NWSL 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 today. O'Reilly will be added to the roster pending the receipt of her International Transfer Certificate (ITC).
Additionally, NC Courage midfielder Elizabeth Eddy has been placed on the 45-day disabled list.
“Heather is a massive addition to our squad,” said NC Courage head coach Paul Riley. “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, a University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill graduate who won two national championships with the Tar Heels from 2003-06, most recently spent the 2017-18 seasons with Arsenal Women Football Club in London, England, and last played in the National Women’s Soccer League with FC Kansas City in 2016.
O’Reilly, 33, competed for the U.S. Women’s National Team from 2002-16, enjoying a decorated international career that began when she was a high-schooler. In 14 years with the USWNT, O’Reilly made 231 appearances, won three Olympic gold medals, a 2002 U-19 FIFA Women’s World Cup title and a 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup title.
In two seasons with Arsenal, the midfielder scored four goals in 38 matches and helped the club reach the 2018 SSE Women’s FA Cup Final.
Before joining Arsenal, O’Reilly played in the NWSL during the league’s first four years of existence, with the Boston Breakers in 2013-14 and FC Kansas City in 2015-16. During that span, O’Reilly scored 17 goals and recorded 16 assists, and was named to the NWSL Second XI team in 2014.
At the college level, O’Reilly played under Tar Heel head coach Anson Dorrance, and earned numerous accolades. In 2006, O’Reilly co-captained a UNC squad that won a national championship, and earned NCAA tournament MVP and National Player of the Year honors. Following the conclusion of her collegiate career, UNC retired O’Reilly’s #20 jersey number.
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,” said North Carolina Football Club President and GM Curt Johnson. “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.”
“I want to thank Makenzy for all she has done for the North Carolina Courage and North Carolina Football Club,” Johnson continued. “She has been a model pro on and off the field and we wish her all the best.”
Doniak departs the club after contributing to its success in 2017, helping the Courage reach the NWSL Championship in Orlando. Prior to suffering a season-ending injury during the 2018 preseason, Doniak played in 23 games, starting 15 for a total of 1,292 minutes with the Courage in 2017.
“Difficult to lose a player of Doniak’s quality,” Riley continued. “She has given a lot to our team over the past few years and was an integral part of our Championship and Shield wins. 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. She will be missed here, and her work ethic and professionalism will leave a lasting legacy in our locker room.”
The NC Courage will train on Friday, June 29 from 8:30-9:30 a.m. at WakeMed Soccer Park before traveling to Orlando for the NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime. The team will then return to training in Cary on Monday, July 2. A full weekly training schedule for the team will be circulated on Sunday, July 1.
The NC Courage’s next home game will be Military Appreciation Night presented by Duke Energy on Wednesday, July 4 at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park at 7 p.m. ET against the Chicago Red Stars. There will be fireworks after the game to celebrate Independence Day. Fans can purchase tickets by calling the Coastal Credit Union Box Office at 919-459-8144 or online at NCCourage.com/Tickets.
About North Carolina Courage
The North Carolina Courage is a Division I professional women’s soccer team that plays in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL). The NC Courage, the reigning NWSL Shield Winner, plays its home games at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. For more information, please visit www.NCCourage.com or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.