Ahead of next week's friendly against Team Canada, interim U.S. Women's National Team coach Jill Ellis released her 22-player squad, which includes mainstay Heather O'Reilly. The veteran has squared off against the Canadians on multiple occasions, though this time O'Reilly will face an unfamiliar opponent: Breakers teammate Nkem Ezurike.
Ezurike, who joined the Breakers in the first round of the 2014 NWSL Draft, debuted on Sunday during her side's decisive 3-2 victory. The rookie featured for Canada's U-15 squad in 2006 and gradually worked her way through the system, jumpstarting her senior campaign in February 2014.
O'Reilly, Ezurike's newest "adversary," will enter the May 8 match with a much different story. The East Brunswick, N.J. native joined the U.S. Women's National Team roster in 2002, and has collected 202 caps--and 40 goals--since that time. Only eight American players have earned more international caps than O'Reilly, including Sky Blue's Christie Rampone and Western New York's Abby Wambach.
When the up-and-coming Ezurike, and the well-travelled O'Reilly, meet on May 8, the match will feature an intriguing blend of old and new. Ezurike will look to build on a promising young career; O'Reilly will look to build on a career that stands with the elite in women's soccer.
And when they return, they will reunite as teammates, looking to guide the Breakers to a first ever NWSL playoff berth.