Former U.S. WNT great Heather O’Reilly has joined the exodus of top-flight North American women’s players to Europe with her move to the Arsenal Ladies Football Club.
The 32-year-old O’Reilly ended her national team career last November after racking up an impressive total of 231 caps while winning three Olympic Gold Medals for her country.
Known as the prototypical “chalk on her boots” winger, O’Reilly retired from the U.S. WNT with 47 international goals, including one in her final match against Thailand, but is better known for the crosses that saw her end her U.S. career in fifth place on the all-time national team assist list.
Perhaps the most famous of all of those helpers came when O’Reilly burst past her marker in typical O’Reilly fashion before serving up a perfect cross for Alex Morgan to head home in the 123rd minute of the 4-3 semifinal victory over Canada at the 2012 Olympics.
It was the latest goal ever scored in an Olympic match and it typified O’Reilly’s career. Relentless and selfless, O’Reilly is one of the best-liked players in the women’s game, even as her propensity to do the setup work while leaving the glamor of finishing to more celebrated likes Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan has kept HAO – HAY-O on the edge of the spotlight all these years.
And while the New Jersey native stepped away from the international game she has not lost her enthusiasm for the sport and is expected to return to FC Kansas City and the NWSL when the English season finishes up.
O’Reilly has been with FC Kansas City since 2015 after previous stints with Sky Blue FC and the Boston Breakers of both the WPS and NWSL.
Arsenal Ladies coach Pedro Martinez Losa knows just what he is getting saying of O’Reilly in a club statement, “she is a world-class player and one of the most respected players in the U.S.” “Her determination and character will make a big difference for this club. She will bring here a legacy of values, hard work and professionalism which will also help our young players to develop. It is a privilege for us to be able to bring her to Arsenal Ladies.”
For her part, O’Reilly released this via twitter.