Heather O’Reilly reached her 200th cap during the United States women's national team's final game in the Algarve Cup. She topped off the night by scoring her 40th career goal in a 3-0 win against Korea DPR.
It was a positive finish to an otherwise dismal tournament for the team. After the game, she was a class act, as usual, when she talked to USSoccer.com about the monumental night.
Scoring goals is the best. It’s always really fun and exciting to score. I’m just proud to be able to put on this jersey 200 times. It’s really incredible and something I’m really, really proud of.
She tweeted after the game to thank her fans for their support.
Thanks for all the love! I am very proud of 200 caps with this team. Through incredible ups and some downs, we are a family. #uswnt— Heather O'Reilly (@HeatherOReilly) March 12, 2014
O'Reilly is just the ninth U.S. women’s soccer player to reach the landmark. She is now among the greats of Kristine Lilly, Christie Rampone, Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, Joy Fawcett, Tiffeny Milbrett, Kate Markgraf and Abby Wambach.
Certainly an impressive list to join.
Reaching her 200th cap shows her durability and talent as a player. She has stayed on the team consistently throughout the changes of coaches and teammates. She’s a veteran player who has a lot to bring to the game.
Her first cap was when she was still in high school at 17 years old. Two years later, at 19, she was the youngest player to join the Olympic team. She is now 28 and showing no signs of stopping.
It’s rare to find a player who has stayed healthy, motivated and talented enough to be with this highly competitive team for a few years, much less 11. O’Reilly has shown she is committed to the sport, her team and fans.
Not that she needed this monumental achievement to prove her ability as a player, but it is a sure sign of keeping her in the record books and becoming a name that future generations of young players will admire.
O’Reilly’s milestone is a good sign for the USWNT. It means it is a group of women that players want to return to and continue improving every season. She likely has years left in her career, giving her time to pass along knowledge and experience to the rookies that join along the way. By keeping veterans on the team, the young players learn how to succeed from the best the world has to offer.
This generation of the team is steadily building on the last generation’s accomplishments. With O’Reilly and Wambach at 200 caps, it is just the start of this new generation reaching new heights. These two world-class players are setting new records they hope their younger teammates will one day break.
Here is a link to a montage of O'Reilly's career from USSoccer.com. It's a short video that shows highlights from her first game to her 200th.
All stats courtesy of USSoccer.com.