On friendship and the greatness of Heather O’Reilly

yael heather

Yael Averbuch and Heather O’Reilly. (yaelaverbuch.com)

Yael Averbuch is a midfielder with FC Kansas City and, in the past, an occasional member of the U.S. women’s team. (Twenty-six appearances and one goal from 2007 to 2013.)

She and Heather O’Reilly, who also played for FC KC this year, are close friends. They were teammates on the University of North Carolina team that won the national championship in 2006.

Averbuch is a talented writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times and other publications.

She wrote this essay, What You Should Know about HAO, in reaction to O’Reilly’s announcement that she’s retiring from the U.S. team after 15 years. Averbuch praises her friend as a consummate professional, a tireless competitor, a generous teammate, and a respected world ambassador for her country and the women’s game:

Heather O’Reilly represents all that’s good and pure about the game. She’s never satisfied. She feels deeply responsible for her contribution to her team. She’s not afraid to work until she literally blacks out. …

No one represents our country better than Heather, and my hope is that the next generation will continue to be inspired by this player and person who epitomizes what it means to play for the U.S. Women’s National Team.




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