August 30, 2009
By Charles Cuttone
SHE JUST WINS
O’Reilly is an 8-time champion
ST. LOUIS---There are those athletes that seemingly are associated with winning. Yogi Berra and his World Series rings, Derek Jeter and his string of post season appearances, Mark Messier and the five Stanley Cup titles. Add Sky Blue FC forward Heather O’Reilly to the list.
|Sky Blue’s Heather O’Reilly won her eighth championship last week.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
With Sky Blue’s winning the inaugural Women’s Professional Soccer title last week, the 24-year old East Brunswick, NJ native has been a part of eight different championship teams at every level of soccer.
“It was very emotional,” O’Reilly said of wining the WPS title with her home-town Sky Blue. “You never would wish to be through those ups and downs. But we grew as people.”
O’Reilly scored the game winning goal in the championship game, capping off an improbable run by Sky Blue, who by that point in the season were on their third coach.
“I don’t think we would have won the whole thing if we hadn’t gone through that,” she said in an interview in advance of Sunday’s WPS All-Star game.
O’Reilly’s winning touch started in high school, winning a New Jersey state title with East Brunswick. She then became a part of the North Carolina dynasty, winning a pair of championships with the Tar Heels, while also helping the United States to the U-19 World Cup title scoring four goals with seven assists to help the USA to the first-ever world championship for youth women. A championship in the W-League with the New Jersey Wildcats followed in 2005.
O’Reilly earned her first full national team caps in 2002 and has since played in 115 games, making her one of the most experienced players currently on the U.S. Team.
Despite the disappointment of missing the 2003 Women’s World Cup with an injury, she helped the United States capture back-to-back Olympic Gold Medals. At the 2008 games in Beijing, she started all six games at the Olympics, and was second leading scorer for the USA with two goals and three assists.
“I haven’t won a World Cup yet,” said O’Reilly. “That’s my goal. Hopefully the next one.”
The next Women’s World Cup, hosted by Germany is only two years away.
Heather O’Reilly’s championships
2001 East Brunswick H.S.--NJ State High School Champions
2002 United States-FIFA U19 World Champions
2002 United States-Olympic Gold Medal
2003 North Carolina Tar Heels-NCAA Champions
2005 New Jersey Wildcats-W League Champions
2006 North Carolina Tar Heels-NCAA Champions
2008 United States-Olympic Gold Medal
2009 Sky Blue FC-Women’s Professional Soccer Champions