September 1, 2016
Heather O'Reilly to play final USWNT game Sept. 15
CHICAGO - After not making the 2016 Olympic Team, the hand writing was probably on the wall for Heather O'Reilly, who announced her retirement from international soccer on Thursday.
|Heather O'Reilly is retiring from international competition.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
O'Reilly, 31, will end a spectacular 15-year international career when she plays her final game in a U.S. uniform on Sept. 15 as the USA takes on Thailand in Columbus, Ohio (8 p.m. ET on ESPN2)
"I have spent nearly half my life in a U.S. Soccer uniform, so making the decision to retire from international play was incredibly hard and emotional," said O'Reilly, who will continue to play for FC Kansas City in the National Women's Soccer League. "But quite simply, after 230 caps, thousands of practices, many trips around the world, and having played in three World Cups, and three Olympics, it just feels like the right time. I've had an incredibly complete career playing for my country and it has been an absolute honor to represent the USWNT for the last 15 years. I'm leaving this team with a lot happiness in my heart and pride for what we've accomplished. I truly love this game and it will be in my life forever. Now, I'm looking forward to being a USWNT fan. American Outlaws, where do I sign up?"
O'Reilly began her career with the U.S. WNT as one of the youngest players to debut for the USA over the past 15 years, playing her first international match on the senior level at age 17 during the Algarve Cup against Sweden on March 1, 2002; she was a senior in high school. O'Reilly would go on to play for five different head coaches while with the U.S. National Team.
She currently has 230 caps, which places her seventh all-time in U.S. Women's National Team history. Her 46 goals place her 12th on the USA's all-time scoring list, and her 54 assists are good for sixth place on the all-time assist list. With one more assist in her final game, she would tie Julie Foudy for fifth all-time.
O'Reilly was the second-youngest player to hit 200 caps for the USA (behind only Kristine Lilly) when she reached that milestone on March 12, 2014 at 29 years old, 2 months, 10 days. She has played 13,322 minutes in a U.S. uniform, good for 13th all-time.
She finishes as one of just four three-time women's soccer Olympic gold medalists and a 2015 Women's World Cup champion. She was also a leader on the U.S. team that won the 2002 FIFA Under-19 Women's World Cup, making her one of the few players in history to win an Olympics, a senior World Cup and a youth World Cup.
"I want to say a big thank you to all five of the coaching staffs that I have played under on the USWNT for believing in me and for giving me the opportunity to wear the crest for so long. And to my past and current USWNT teammates, I don't think I will ever be able to sufficiently put into words what being a member of this team has meant to me. I grew up on this team. We have experienced joy and heartbreak together, and every emotion in between. We have grinded it out together so many days when no one was watching, and we have carried the heart of the nation when everyone was. Thank you, gals, for the amazing ride."
O'Reilly retires having played in three Women's World Cup tournaments (2007, 2011, 2015) and likely would have been on the USA's 2003 Women's World Cup Team as well were it not for a broken leg suffered against Ireland in June of that year. She played in three Olympic Games, winning three gold medals (2004, 2008, 2012).
O'Reilly began her professional club career with her home state Sky Blue FC in WPS, playing there from 2009-2011 and helping the team to the league title in 2009, scoring the game-winner in the championship game en route to being named the championship game MVP. She played with the Boston Breakers in the WPSL and NWSL from 2012-2014 before joining FC Kansas City for the 2015 season where she helped the club to the league title, getting the game-winning assist on Amy Rodriguez' match-winner. The achievement landed her championships for club and country within a four-month span.
From 2001-2009, in only one year did she fail to win a championship, winning a New Jersey high school state title, a U-19 Women's World Cup title, two NCAA titles at North Carolina, two Olympic titles and a WPS championship with Sky Blue FC.
O'Reilly, who married former UNC lacrosse player Dave Werry in 2011, resides in Chapel Hill, N.C., where she graduated from UNC with a degree in Education in 2009.