Heather O'Reilly returns to Triangle for The Soccer Tournament in 2024 :: WRALSportsFan.com

Heather O’Reilly returns to Triangle for The Soccer Tournament in 2024 :: WRALSportsFan.com

Three-time World Cup medalist, former member of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team and midfielder for the North Carolina Courage Heather O’Reilly will be back on the pitch in the Triangle in a new sort of soccer this spring.

But you’re a two time national champion He’s not uh world cup champ three time Olympic gold medalist uh and one of the greatest most decorated soccer players in us history Forget about us women’s history Uh And you’re gonna be playing again this summer at the soccer tournament which I watched you guys play last year Um II I would love to hear what you thought last year because you and I have already talked about this The best performance I saw from anybody in the entire tournament was your keeper She was superb Harris She made 20 saves and gave up I don’t know 12 goals We have to we have to refresh the viewers on the listeners What’s up Hey guys you know usually I’m not on teams where the goalkeeper is getting pelted like she was last year the shooting gallery but we’ll have to explain why played against uh all all guys Wrexham the second game which is the game we watched Uh they had a I I don’t even know what to call the the bowl that was in the basically in the pivot like he was Shaq Shaquille o’neal uh slam dunking on everybody but it was a shooting gallery She was amazing Uh And you guys you guys did the very best you could but now you get your own division Yeah Heck yeah So last year um I read about TST I said I want to put a team in this tournament People said all right you’re gonna get some guys from across the country I was like no I’m putting in an all women’s team and we knew it was gonna be a big challenge and let’s just you know let’s call a spade a spade We got our butts kicked But what was really special and cool about that whole event even though we lost I think seven nil 12 nil and five nil or 51 we scored a goal Finally we were all having drinks and dinner and stuff like that after the event And I said guys I don’t know what’s gonna happen next year I don’t know if there’s gonna be a women’s division or what there what’s gonna happen But say it’s the same exact situation where there’s all guys teams And I’m again putting together an all women’s team who’s in it was like right out of like the Mighty Ducks or something like down the line Everybody’s like I wanna play and that was so cool and it kind of just spoke to like our you know our sisterhood of the US women’s national team and we were down for playing with the guys again we were down but the tournament and only its second year you know you you can uh talk the talk but they’re walking the walk with with putting another million dollar prize So there’s a million bucks for the men’s side A million dollar prize for the women’s side So equal prize money right away in year two So I give them a lot of credit for making that happen Angel City has a team in this as well So now we have a we have a conflict I believe because you have the largest coaching staff This is Heather o’reilly is in studio with us here Uh You have the largest coaching staff of any team in the field because there’s like a half dozen coaches including Mia Hamm Isn’t she involved in Angel City You’re right You’re right There is some there is some conflict there Adam Gold That’s a nice that’s a nice pickup Uh but you know what Mia’s DNA is is us women’s national team You’re right You’re right And back in the day those two things were integrated because of Anson Dorn Um And so that’s really that’s really the fabric of me this Angel City thing Yes You know on other weekends I’m sure that she hopes that they win But uh as you said in our group is Angel City uh and Wrexham and a team from Canada and then we hope to progress out of the group and then play the other side which um we’ll have Burnley and a group of Duke alumni So uh it should be good fun But no to your point we have assembled a star studded cast of coaches including like you said Mia Hand Carli Lloyd who would of course play but she’s pregnant So we’re happy for her But you know we could have used her I would just say that Serena Williams won the Australian Open while pregnant Yeah you’re right you’re right I know I think it was a little touch I’m sure that Carly’s gonna be there and she’s gonna be like good God why didn’t I play But Michelle Akers Carl Overbeck a bunch of other play We have over 1000 caps on our coaching staff right And we also have a very very good you know roster of players even though we’re a little bit older like myself we’re a little bit older I’m 39 Ali Krieger is also 39 I think Ally Long another World Cup winner um is in her late thirties So we have uh the quality we’ve picked up a couple of young guns to help us right You gotta have the legs we have the heart and the head and now they have the legs So we’re a lethal combination The Wrexham side that you played against last year the men they had like two like late teens early 20 year old kids that just picked up a like off the street in Pittsburgh somewhere Playing high level club soccer in Pittsburgh So it’s like we saw Wolverhampton was there and Barrus Dortmund was there It’s really their uniforms Yes Well I think that it’s this is only the second year So I think that a lot of people and organizations are scratching their head of like ok is this serious Like should we send our first team players and then you get into some you know well what happens if they get hurt and things like that But a million dollar like say if the North Carolina courage wanted to submit their first team Yeah it’s a risk that maybe somebody gets injured or whatever But like a million bucks could do a lot for those players and do a lot for the organization So truthfully I’m sort of bummed that Angel City is not I don’t think sending many of their like first team players or or North Carolina Courage as well It’s a little bit dicey right now with uh college eligibility if you’re allowed college players I think that you are allow college players with all the nil stuff Like you know clearly it’s not related to nil but you know obviously it’s a changing landscape for college players So I think that they’re going to be allowed to play Uh but evidently they can’t get the bonus money We’ve already talked about it I I’m I’m drawing a blank on the uh the tennis player over at Carolina who wanted to play who had played already uh in some professional events and couldn’t take the prize money even though they were paying athletes to play college sports But she couldn’t like earn that money We know it’s the kind of the wild west right now with ninil stuff But uh where is KJ Watts playing Yeah JJ Watt is playing um Pat MCA I know he’s probably I have no I have no problem with Pat M I have a zero problem with him Um is he gonna play or is he just putting a team in Uh because if he’s gonna play I ain’t betting on him He’s gonna he’s gonna lose I know But you’re allowed a roster of 20 right And there’s only seven people on the field So I think that Pat could probably put himself on the roster and just have a run around for a couple of minutes I watched Chad Ochocinco play last year He’s not bad He’s actually he’s got some ability He certainly was not the best player on the uh on the field that day Uh but do you like the smaller pitch the faster game the way it ends It’s not traditional People had to get like why why are they taking players off the field Which was awesome last last year Do you like the smaller So yeah well what you’re referring to Adam is is a normal soccer match Is 11 a side Right And so this competition is 77 and I do like that I mean I think you know when you play pickup soccer a lot of times it is around 77 that’s you know pretty common So uh and there’s a lot of goals um you know it it suits some people’s skill sets a little bit better than others Like I for one and like I was never known for being great in like tight spaces and being very technical Like I was in like put me in the open field and I can run So that being said I’ll be I’ll be fine out there Don’t get me wrong But like there’s some like the the team that won it last year for the men’s team was a a group of guys from Pennsylvania that were a uh futsal team indoor indoor soccer and they were beating they were beating teams like um yeah like uh Burnley or um uh Dortmund they be Dortmund right And so I think they waxed Dortmund they didn’t just beat him He is like kind of no no offense to them but like no name indoor guys right So it does sort of um require a certain skill set the small side and then for the scoring like you’re referring to Adam So um to try to explain this to listeners the easiest way possible say a game ends and it’s full 4 to 3 right The team that like one that scored four hasn’t won the game yet It’s to one more than the highest score So that game would be first to five right first to five And the reason why they do that is it it always gives the underdog a chance to come back So the team that had three in this instance 4 to 3 would have a chance to like maybe come back And the other reason why it’s great is it always ends on a goal So golden goal as as people might remember soccer being was when you score the game is over people rush the field nowadays like FIFA rules are like 2 15 minutes extra time I don’t even like it like as a like yeah it stinks to be on the rough side of it when it’s golden goal and you give up one and it’s that’s pretty traumatic I’ll tell you that much but I was usually on the other side of that Nothing beats golden goal nothing beats the bench rushing the field and things like that And um yeah it’s it’s very unique I think to go back to what the like the layout of the tournament is This is very special very unique and um it’s drawing people from around the world So I think that it’s getting enough interest um that people are coming from Europe and South America So we now have uh we have a women’s division We also have an expanded men’s side Uh went from I think it was 32 teams last year to 48 this year And the other thing I mentioned was that uh after we declare All right this is the goal that wins every two minutes If we haven’t gotten to that point we take one person off of each team off the field I was at the match last year where we were down to one and a goalie two players on each team And it was stupid Fun So fun because I’ll tell you what I know that some viewers like might like penalty kicks in soccer But as a player penalty kicks are kind of bizarre and sad Right Because it’s just good It’s sad because well it’s sad for that one that one guy or girl that misses Right But imagine ending a basketball game and a foul shot contest Right It’s just it’s not the game of basketball and penalty kick shootouts is not the essence of soccer It’s just like a way to like get to get to the end Right And so for me this take a player off the field every couple of minutes I love that I you know if I was in the you know the Committee of Rules at FIFA like I would be pushing for this every single day because I think it preserves the essence of the game better than going to penalty kicks It was uh it was fun Did you feel for uh for Megan Rapino last year Of course because yeah she’s a legend and she has done a lot of incredible things for women’s sports and and the women’s national team and she has ice in her veins and she does not miss many penalty kicks So it was like a terrible irony that she missed her last one with the women’s national team We haven’t even mentioned City and Celtic which is coming to Keenan Stadium in July I want to get to that in a second But while we’re on because I mentioned Megan Rapinoe and you’re playing for the women’s national team at the soccer tournament Uh is there a tougher job in world football than what Emma Hayes is facing Because there’s I mean you win a World Cup or you failed for the women’s national team even though you could argue right now that uh us women are just among the best in the world They’re not where they used to be when you played heads and shoulders better than everybody And that if she doesn’t win like what did you do wrong I I don’t know how you even come close to anything tougher than that Well I think that she has a very difficult job but uh I think that Vlack Andoy the former manager maybe had even a harder job because I don’t think that people you know let’s call it five years ago Really Could wrap their head around the fact that like the women’s game is not only growing but grown right Like you know in England in Brazil like all these places these women are now full time players even 567 years ago they weren’t full time players So we were all kind of saying like ok once once these are full time players and are playing 12 months a year and football is like their main priority and they’re getting good physio and good coaching and stuff like that Like look out because they already have the soccer culture in their country Now if they actually have some resources behind them they’re almost like guaranteed to be good players right And that’s gonna make the U S’s job more difficult VLA O obviously fell short at the World Cup and to to not even you know medal obviously was a was you know a disastrous result in the history of our program Um So I think to your question Emma has a hard job but she’s at least now like people are aware that like to your point the US is in the top five but it’s not guaranteed anymore So at least her the expectations for Emma have maybe simmered a little bit al although you know we still have incredibly high standards with the US team And um I think personally like it’s an incredible fit for the US She’s a a fierce competitor she’s won with Chelsea like seven times now she didn’t think she was going to win but they won And what’s kind of cool is like they’ve won back to back to back to back five in a row I think And so yeah and that’s not easy to do I mean I know that we’re like oh pep does it and Emma Hayes does it No that is hard to do It’s also hard to keep the dynasty of the US women’s national team ticking on year after year after year So if anybody can do it I think it’s Emma Hayes and I think that was the best signing possible for the national team The other element that flat go had to deal with is and Emma will too is that kind of caught in between errors So so many legends we don’t have to go back that far You mentioned Carli Lloyd uh who’s uh not gonna play because she’s pregnant but um and Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan who was there right And uh I mean Julie Ertz was there Becky serum was hurt Uh But so there’s all these legends who are not gonna be I mean some might be a part of it because they’re still playing and incredible Uh But there’s a whole new wave of player so be be that that had to complicate things too Yeah And I think that that’s the definition of a good manager right As being able to have like one eye on the present and one eye on the future and it’s just the harsh reality of sports Right And you have to make some hard decisions and I think that you know VLA O was dealt a difficult hand in some ways with uh with COVID and then the Olympics being bumped a year and all that kind of stuff Right And so these older players now all of a sudden we’re a year older and so and then he didn’t have a lot of time to bring in this newer wave I’m making the same excuses right Which like I like the guy So that’s why I’m having his back But to your point Adam like you have to mesh the old and the new and Emma will come in and you know they just put out her roster her very first roster Um and Alex Morgan is on it and Crystal Dunn is on it and uh she’s still great though I love Crystal Yeah she’s excellent And so it will be um yeah you need some leaders on the team that have been there done that before And uh I mean yeah you know what That’s rude It just let me not rude from you rude that they didn’t call let me impress let me impress Uh I’m gonna back up my words with my actions but I’ll impress at TST and you know Emma Emma and I are kind of buddies like I think she has my phone number So um I’ll like uh just light it up and win a million bucks and then expect the call in in your year at Arsenal Did you play against her I did I think I have a winning record against Emma I’ll have to Although she did we we were both in the FA Cup final at Wembley and they beat us It was how was that Just playing at Wembley Unreal Unreal You’re the first person who’s ever played at Wembley who’s in the studio Very cool Yeah we lost 31 We were bad on the day and I didn’t start So I don’t feel like very positive warm fuzzy vibes from the game They were quite good We were quite bad But I think over the span of my time there I think I may have had a a winning record against Emma I gotta check it out All right Other than uh well not other than I guess other than Wembley Best stadium you played in Dorn Field baby which is the old Fetzer Field Uh We laugh but I mean in terms of like a feeling that I get when I’m there I think that that that stadium in that field like was really important to like formative Heather o’reilly I remember on my recruiting trip going out on the balcony that overlooks the field with Anson and just feeling so inspired Like I think I was like probably getting teary because of course he’s such a great motivator and it you know I was giving the whole the whole pitch right to come to the University of North Carolina and this is where dreams are made and this is where you you know if if you work hard um this is the place that you can achieve those dreams and so really special stadium to me Uh let’s see where else Yeah Wembley was pretty cool I must say Wembley was pretty cool I never stepped foot uh as a player at the Emirates I was always a bummer Um but um old Trafford maybe I played there at the Olympics uh and had a had a really one of my most important plays in my career was at the at the 2012 Olympic games when I launched it across to Alex Morgan in the last couple of moments of the semifinal and she headed it in Um and yeah just a really proud moment And back then before I was a a gunner with Arsenal I kind of grew up being a man United fan like a lot of Americans do in like the nineties We were we were from the beginning or just like you know a clop like bandwagon I became which is that I’m you know there’s no fault in the guy’s amazing He is uh was I guess I mean he is still with us He’s not dead Gosh it’s uh it it feels like the end though Uh I became a fan a few years ago Uh my son’s a soccer player so he’s a man United fan and I had to choose his side and I wasn’t choosing his Uh so I like I didn’t really know I knew they were good I didn’t know how good they were and I just chose Liverpool I have a good friend of mine who’s a Liverpool fan Well Klopp might not be coming to Chapel Hill but you know who is Pep Guardiola I’m excited to see them I think it’s awesome I mean I’m so I’m so proud It’s like kind of surreal that Manchester City and Celtic will be playing at Keenan Stadium but uh let’s pack the house again and give them something memorable And uh I was there for Chelsea Wrexham last year I’ll be there on uh July 23rd for this one and I’ll be there watching you I I already told Carla I will be behind the bench heckling heckling the coaching staff heckle the coaches and then they can be a buffer so the players on the can take care of this She knows that’s gonna happen That’s Heather o’reilly I appreciate your your time coming in I know you got a lot of things going on I’d love to talk to you again about just the sport and uh development all things like that So I appreciate it

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