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Utah Royals FC to trade Heather O’Reilly’s rights to North Carolina

The former USWNT star and FC Kansas City member recently returned from playing in England the past two years.

Thailand vs United States Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

First reported by Neil Morris based on reliable sources, Utah Royals FC are finalizing a trade with North Carolina Courage to trade Heather O’Reilly’s NWSL player rights and a second-round pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft for the rights to Makenzy Doniak and a 2019 third-round draft pick. The trade could be announced as early as today.

In her four seasons in the NWSL before signing with Arsenal Women in January 2017, O’Reilly was allocated by U.S. Soccer as a federation player. O’Reilly retired from international soccer in September 2016 after 231 caps, three Olympic gold medals, and a World Cup title. When O’Reilly left to play overseas in England, FC Kansas City maintained her rights if she ever returned to the league.

With FCKC ceasing operations last November, Utah Royals FC, which took KC’s spot in the league inherited all FCKC players’ rights, including contracts and rights to players like Heather O’Reilly.

Last month, it was announced that O’Reilly would not return to Arsenal after spending the last two seasons in England, and so began the speculation about O’Reilly’s future.

O’Reilly is a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill alumna and lives in North Carolina with her husband, and it is where she spends her off-season. It was predicted that she would want to play closer to home, and that club close to home is the North Carolina Courage.

With Utah recently acquiring the rights to Christen Press, and with Press making her debut last night, that elevated the Royals offense, it is a move that allows the Royals to gain another standout player in Makenzy Doniak and a draft pick.

Doniak was drafted in the second round of the 2016 NWSL College Draft by the Western New York Flash and was a regular contributor as a midfielder in Western New York and North Carolina.

Unfortunately, Doniak tore her ACL during the Courage’s preseason camp this year, ending her 2018 NWSL season. Utah would not have to make any roster changes since Doniak is inactive for the season.