Heather O’Reilly and the U.S. Women’s National Team open up the 2012 Summer Olympics Wednesday against France. See what O’Reilly has to say about the U.S., playing in her third Olympic Games, and her time in Boston.
"HAO, bring us home the gold," shouted a fan as Heather O’Reilly walked off the field following her sendoff match with the Breakers on July 6 against ASA Chesapeake Charge.
Moments after leaving the field at Dilboy Stadium to a standing ovation and thunderous applause, O’Reilly was greeted with hi-fives, hugs, and well-wishes as she got set to head overseas to start training with the U.S. Women’s National Team to prepare for the 2012 London Summer Olympics. O’Reilly and the U.S. open group play Wednesday, July 25, against France and look to bring home their third straight gold medal.
"We’ve been training hard. It’s been an intense couple of years with the World Cup and the Olympics back to back," O’Reilly said. "We’ve been training for a long time, and I think that we’re ready. We’re playing great right now, and pretty much every body is fit and healthy, and we’re ready to go try and win gold."
O’Reilly, who played in two games this season for Boston and trained with the Breakers when not on National Team duty, went out in style, assisting on two goals, including Courtney Jones’ game-winner, in Boston’s 3-1 win July 6 against the Charge.
Heather O’Reilly in her final match this season for the Breakers (Photo by Meg Linehan)
"I had such a great experience playing with the Breakers this year. Everything about the organization is top notch, from the owners and staff to the training and game environments, everything is run very professionally," O’Reilly said. "The fans and engagement from the community was very impressive, and the support the team received was extraordinary. I was very proud to wear Breakers blue this season. The club has something special."
O’Reilly has swapped Breakers blue for the red, white, and blue of the USA as the team gets set to open up Group G play Wednesday. In addition to having France in its group, the U.S. will go up against North Korea and Colombia. The U.S. plays Colombia on Saturday, July 28, and then takes on North Korea Tuesday, July 31, at Old Trafford, home of English Premier League giants, Manchester United.
O’Reilly feels the veteran experience on the team is a huge advantage for the U.S., given the fact that a solid core of this group has played in two, if not three Olympic Games.
"The average amount of caps on this team is around 90, so that just proves how much time we’ve been together on the field, how much familiarity we have with each other, and how many veteran players there are out there," O’Reilly said. "It’s crazy that this is my third Olympics. It just shows you how time flies, and it really has just gone in a blur, but it does not get old. Every Olympics has a different sort of flavor to it. Every country does it differently, and every time, it’s just awesome to able to represent the U.S. I’m looking forward to it."
So, how does O’Reilly feel about the U.S. National Team’s chances? She’s not one to make predictions. But she certainly knows what fans expect.
"That’s the standard that’s been created in our country for women’s soccer - we expect to win. That’s our goal, to come home with gold," O’Reilly remarked. "That being said, we control what we can control, and that’s being good role models and keeping a good attitude and playing good soccer."
Heather O’Reilly received a bouqet of flowers at her sendoff match with the Breakers on July 6 (Photo by Meg Linehan)