The NC Courage announced today that they traded Makenzy Doniak to Utah Royals FC in exchange for the rights to sign Heather O’Reilly. The deal also saw the Courage swap their third round NWSL Draft pick for the second round pick from Utah. O’Reilly signed with the club once the trade was complete. The midfielder spent the last two seasons with Arsenal in the FA Women’s Premier League.
For her part, Doniak goes to Utah where she will continue recovering from tearing the ACL in her left knee. She leaves the club having appeared in 23 games for the club, including 15 starts in their NWSL Shield winning 2017 season.
O’Reilly joins the Courage having retired from the U.S. Women’s National Team in 2016 after a 14 year career as a part of the Stars and Stripes. Over that time, she established herself as a first choice right winger and took on a leadership role with the team. O’Reilly also won three Olympic Gold Medals as well as the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The trade brings her back to North Carolina where she helped win two National Championships with UNC.
In a press release from the team, NC Courage coach Paul Riley said, “Heather is a massive addition to our squad. Her temperament, work ethic, experience, skill and ability will enable her to make an immediate impact in Courage Country. Excited to finally coach her and I look forward to the positivity, influence and charisma she brings to every locker room.” He went onto say, “Every team in NWSL is getting stronger and it’s important we continue to grow, move forward and improve our performances. I think Heather adds to our style and culture and I know she will be very popular with our fan base.”
As far as how O’Reilly might fit into the lineup, it’s hard to say. So far this year coach Riley hasn’t rotated too much so it’s possible that she would be joining the team to come on as a late offensive sub in matches. She could also get some starts when the other national team players, like Crystal Dunn, are away on international duty. The trade will add further firepower to a team that is already loaded with talent and is running away with the NWSL Shield.