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Fuel Soccer Talk: Heather O’Reilly ends 17-year career on top; Improving your game with IntelliGym; Drills to help make quicker decisions

Fitting Finale: Heather O’Reilly concludes storied career with one more title

In the 89th minute of Sunday’s NWSL Championship game in Cary, North Carolina, the crowd rose to their feet for a standing ovation. Veteran Heather O’Reilly, who announced her plans to retire at season’s end, was being substituted from the game. She turned to the grandstand with her arms spread wide, let a joyous grin spread across her face, and jogged to the bench to raucous approval of her teammates and head coach.

After 17 years at the top of the sport, HAO reached her finish line after a 4-0 victory for the North Carolina Courage over the Chicago Red Stars as the club earned back-to-back titles.

“Unbelievable result,” O’Reilly said after the match. “I think we were dominant from the start. It doesn’t happen overnight.

So, what a way to end the year, and what a way to end my career. Seventeen good years. Seventeen years ago I scored my first national-team goal on this field in 2002. It’s been an incredible journey, a lot of different teams, international career, professional career. It’s been quite a ride and I’m very grateful.

From New Jersey to Boston with a stop at Arsenal before returning to North Carolina, where she was a standout at the University of North Carolina, O’Reilly has done it all at club level, in addition to success on the international stage, which includes winning the 2012 Olympic gold medal and the 2015 World Cup title with the U.S women’s national team.

READ ALL ABOUT HER

IntelliGym training could be another tool in your soccer tool box

There are a lot of different ways to improve your soccer skills. Yes, even playing on the computer can help you learn the game better and play smarter. There also are a lot of different ways NOT to improve your soccer skills. It’s up to you decide what works best for you.

Something to consider is IntelliGym training, which is designed (they say guaranteed) to improve on-field performance by training the cognitive skills that create soccer intelligence. By adding IntelliGym training to your routine, you will “see improved passing, smarter positioning, quicker transitions, superior off-ball movement, and more,” they say on their web site.

It’s certainly worth checking out. Maybe it’s another tool in your tool box. Maybe not. It’s up to you to decide. Check it out HERE

Video Lesson: Making quicker decisions will result in greater success

Speaking of making better decisions on the pitch, we stumbled on this excellent video from 7MLC Training.

Visual awareness and decision making are essential to be able to play football/soccer at a high level. Having the ability to process information, scan the pitch for options, and make quick decisions will set you apart from the rest. With these drills, you can improve your awareness, decision making and overall mental sharpness to improve your performance on the pitch.

Check out their web site HERE

Send story ideas and comments to Terry Jacoby at tajacoby@comcast.net