Off-the-wall Questions and Answers, Queries and Anecdotes from U.S. Under-19 Women’s National Team star forward Heather O’Reilly.
O'Reilly, one very sharp blade on the USA's new "Triple-Edged Sword," has speed, skills and a heart the size of New Jersey. Being from the Garden State, she also has a huge helping of spunk. U.S. Soccer's Center Circle caught up with Heather on the eve of the first-ever FIFA Under-19 Women's World Cup as she gave her views on Jersey, poodles, Landon Donovan and the first-ever world championship for youth women.
Center Circle: Do Jersey girls stills have extremely high bangs, smack their gum and have obnoxious laughs, or is that just a convenient stereotype for shows like "The Sopranos"?
Heather O’Reilly: “If you are hanging out at the Jersey shore, then for sure, that stereotype will come to life. But if you are hanging out in East Brunswick, N.J., there are only hip, cool, girls who have normal hair and normal laughs, even though we might talk funny to some outsiders.”
CC: Speaking of talking funny, why do they talk so weird in California?
HOR: “Well, I am not sure that Californians have an accent, but they do have some funny slang words. Everything is ‘hella’ this or ‘hella’ that, like ‘that movie was hella good’ or ‘that dude is hella fine.’ At least we use the English language in New Jersey.”
CC: Is Sugar the best dog in the world?
HOR: “Sugar used to be the best dog in the world, until she started getting mad at me every time I left on a soccer trip. Now she thinks that she can ignore me when I come and then bark at me when I leave again. I think she's trying to play mind games with me, but I won't let little Sugar get the better of me.”
CC: But do poodles really count as dogs? Aren't they a little too fragile and pretty to be dogs? Admit it--they're more like cats.
HOR: “First of all, Sugar is not a poodle, she's a cock-a-poo. And let me tell you, if we entered her in any dog shows, she'd definitely win Best of Show in the cock-a-poo division. I admit she's kind of a small dog, but what she lacks in size, she makes up for in heart. I don't see any of the big neighborhood dogs messing with her.”
CC: You played point guard for East Brunswick High. Who's the best point guard in the WNBA?
HOR: “It's gotta be Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm. That girl can play, yo.”
CC: As a confirmed tomboy, what was it like to be named Homecoming Queen this past year? And what are your odds at defending your tiara as a mighty senior?
HOR: “That tomboy stuff was when I was like nine years old and wore soccer shorts to school underneath my school uniform skirt. And I was not homecoming Queen, I was the junior class representative to the homecoming court, otherwise known as the princess. As far as actually getting named the Queen, I might have to start campaigning now, as no one saw me last year because I was gone all the time with the U-19s.”
CC: What's it like getting called into the full Women's National Team Training Camp at the ripe old age of 17?
HOR: “It was incredible. Memorable. Scary. All of the above. I'm sure none of the veterans have forgotten about their first time with the national team and I'll never forget how I felt at the Algarve Cup.”
CC: How significant is this first ever U-19 Women's World Championship?
HOR: “It's huge. It's the biggest tournament that any of us has ever played in. There is a bit of innocence around the team because we have no idea what's in store for us, but we couldn't be more excited. It's great to have an opportunity like this at such a young age. There are thousands of girls around the country who would like to be in our shoes and we have the unique opportunity to not only compete for a world championship, but for the first one ever at the U-19 level.”
CC: You girls have outscored opponents 89-16 this year. Just how good is this team?
HOR: “This team is made up of some very talented players with the potential to be a great team and win a world championship. But we are only looking at the first game against England and focusing on playing our best game. We know if we do that, we are likely to come out on top.”
CC: First there was Michelle Akers, Carin Gabarra and April Heinrichs. Now it's Mia Hamm, Tiffeny Milbrett and Cindy Parlow. Are you aware that you're part of the third generation of U.S. women's striker trios dubbed the "Triple-Edged Sword"?
HOR: “It's a great honor to be compared or associated with such amazing players. They have blazed a trail for us, giving us these great opportunities to play, and it's now up to everyone on this team to create our own legacy. We want to keep up the tradition of great U.S. attacking teams, but also want to stamp our own mark on this tournament.”
CC: Rumor has it that you're heir to the O'Reilly Auto Parts fortune. Confirm or deny.
HOR: “Denied. My dad is in pharmaceuticals.”
CC: New Dave Matthews (like the more mature “Busted Stuff”) or old Dave Matthews (like the happy, upbeat “Under the Table and Dreaming”)?
HOR: “I am SO old school Dave. Nothing will ever compare to his early work.”
CC: What's the craziest thing you've done to celebrate St. Patrick's Day?
HOR: “Well, we do get out the St. Patrick's Day bow for Sugar, but I think the craziest thing we've ever done is my mom put green food dye in our milk. Yes, somebody stop the O'Reilly's. We're hella crazy.”
CC: The National Enquirer reported last week that you have a crush on Landon Donovan, so I must ask you: Landon Donovan with bleached hair, or Landon Donovan with his natural brown hair?
HOR: “I don't care what color his hair is as long as he keeps taking off his shirt after he scores a goal.”
Table of Contents
1) Armchair Midfielder (WUSA Version 2.0)
2) Word Association (w/ WNT midfielder Tiffany Roberts)
3) Desert Island Discs (w/ U-19 WNT midfielder Manya Makoski)
4) Queries and Anecdotes (w/ U-19 WNT forward Heather O’Reilly)
5) Making it in the Show (w/ U-23/U-20 MNT forward Devin Barclay)
6) Mark That Calendar (FIFA Women’s Under-19 World Championship)
7) "You Don’t Know Jack (Marshall)" (WUSA trivia x 2)
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