Boston University student Ashley Lisenby sent this dispatch from London, UK.
Hope Solo, Abby Wambach and Meghan Rapinoe have recently become household names in the women’s soccer world. Heather O’Reilly, a 27-year-old New Jersey native, three-time Olympic Gold medalist and Boston Breakers midfielder, can be added to that list.
The U.S.A. Women’s Soccer team beat Japan last week to take home the gold medal. The face-off was highly anticipated since the team’s loss to Japan in last year’s World Cup game.
Boston Breakers head coach, Lisa Cole, said in an email interview that the gold medal match was “the best game of the tournament.”
“Heather is a spark plug. Her energy everyday is electric. She walks into the locker room appreciating the opportunity to compete, to play a game she loves,” said Cole. But be careful, Cole warns, while the Breakers midfielder is fun and likes to laugh, she is a tough competitor.
O’Reilly joined the Breakers in December 2011 and in January competed in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Vancouver, B.C. to make it to the Summer Games. In May 2012 O’Reilly became one of the 18 players on the Olympic team along with past Breakers athletes Lauren Cheney and Meghan Klingenberg.
O’Reilly told CNN that she hopes the team’s performance has “made an impact on this game that will last forever.”
Cole calls her an inspiration.
“She plays with a passion and drive that you have to respect and the Breaker players have to be impressed when she’s the one asking to keep the balls after training, so she can take some more shots, run down the line a couple more times and cross the ball in,” Cole said. “Heather’s cross in the Olympics maybe over looked but she’s our hero, making the most of her opportunity again and again.”