Kelley O’Hara was the kid who was afraid of sleepovers. “At my first one, I was at a friend’s house in the neighborhood and I felt cool, I was having a good time. But when we started to get ready for bed, I was like, ‘Uh, I don’t like the idea of this!’ I called my parents and they drove the one minute to come pick me up. I was much happier.”
Her dad says, “She would never make it the whole night. Eventually she’d just say, ‘Why don’t you plan on showing up around 9?’”
The self-described “home body” saw her world open up when she began playing with the U.S. Youth National Teams and began traveling the world. While she’d once thought of college – where you sleep in a room with a stranger – as the “worst idea in the whole world,” now she was going on recruiting trips to colleges across the country. Yet, she was still attached to home. When she boarded the plane to California for a trip to Stanford, she turned to her father with dread, “What if I like it?”
The kid who did not like sleeping even one mile from home ended up signing with a college on the other side of the country. At Stanford, she scored 57 goals, tallied 23 assists, and won the 2009 Hermann Trophy as the top collegiate soccer player in the country.
O’Hara was a lifelong forward, a leading scorer at nearly every level of the game, from club to college. But when Ali Krieger tore her ACL in 2012, the National Team was short on outside backs, and head coach Pia Sundhage wondered what O’Hara thought about playing the position. Having learned how to step out of her comfort zone when she chose to attend Stanford, O’Hara stepped up to the challenge.
On January 22, 2012, in Olympic Qualifying against Guatemala, she started her first game at left back, registering three assists. She went on to play every minute at outside back for the USA at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
In California, O’Hara got hooked on surfing the first time she tried it. “It didn’t matter if I was good or not – I like learning things.” Surfing was also what steadied her. “With surfing, I don’t have to perform. I’m not competing with anyone, even with myself. I can just enjoy being in the water. And I also like that I can enjoy it if someone else gets a sick wave. In soccer, if the other team scores a sick goal, you can’t be excited about that. You can in surfing.”
U.S. National Teams – She had extensive Youth National Team experience before breaking into the full team in 2010 … Despite playing forward for her entire college career, she switched to outside back in 2012 for the USA and became a starter and an important player in the team’s run to the Olympic gold medal.
2015: 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Champion... Named to the 2015 U.S. FIFA Women's World Cup roster, her second World Cup selection... Has appeared in 11 matches for the U.S. Women, starting two games... Made her first World Cup start in quarterfinal match against China... Scored her first career international goal for the WNT in semifinal match against Germany to put the U.S. up 2-0... Saw action in two games during the Algarve Cup, helping the USA win its 10th title after defeating France 2-0 in the final on March 11... 2014: Played in 12 games, starting four over 529 minutes and surpassed 50 caps, becoming the 47th player in U.S. history to reach that mark … Played in two matches, starting one, at the CONCACAF Women’s Championship to help the USA earn its Women’s World Cup berth … 2013: An ankle injury and subsequent surgery limited her to 561 minutes in just seven matches, but she started six … 2012: Had a breakout year while playing left back for the first time at any level, playing in 26 games and starting 25, more than tripling her cap total from the previous two years … Showed excellent attacking abilities down the flank and had five assists on the year, including one to Megan Rapinoe in the Olympic semifinal victory against Canada … One of three players to play every minute of all six matches at the Olympics … Played in three matches at the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament in Canada, picking up three assists … Those were her first three starts of her career at outside back … 2011: Played in four matches, starting one, that coming against Canada in January at the Four Nations Tournament in China … Was an alternate on the Women’s World Cup Team but made the final squad due to an injury to Lindsay Tarpley and ended up playing in one game, coming on as a substitute in the USA’s final group match against Sweden … 2010: Earned her first three senior team caps, debuting against Mexico on March 28 in San Diego … 2009: Called in to train with full U.S. Women’s National Team in December after a stellar senior season at Stanford … 2007: Earned first call-up to training camp with the full WNT in March … Youth National Teams: Was a U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year finalist in 2008 and 2009 … Played for the U.S. U-23 Women’s National Team in 2009 and for the U-21s in 2007 … Ended her U-20 international career as one of the USA’s all-time leading scorers at that level with 24 goals (currently tied with Lindsey Horan and Kelley O’Hara) in 35 U-20 caps … Played in 12 international matches for the U-20s in 2008, scoring 10 goals, but was not selected for the World Cup team … Played in five matches at the CONCACAF U-20 Women’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament, starting four, while tying for the team lead in scoring with six goals (which included a hat trick against Cuba) … Played in 29 matches for the U-20s in 2006 leading into the Women’s World Cup in Russia, scoring 18 goals, including two against the full U.S. Women’s National Team and a hat trick against the Finland U-20s … Played in four matches at the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, scoring two goals, including a huge score in the quarterfinal victory against Germany … Also scored in a first-round win against DR Congo … First call-up to the U-20 National Team in January of 2006 … A member of the U.S. team that won the 2006 CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Qualifying Tournament in Mexico … Played in four matches in Mexico, starting two, and scored one goal with two assists … Played with U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team in 2005, leading the team in scoring with 10 goals … Played with the U.S. U-16s in 2004 and also was called into a U-17 camp that year … Scored in both matches for the U-17s against the Germany U-17s in late February of 2005 … Also scored against Japan in 2005 and had five goals on a tour of Brazil in December of 2005 … First Appearance: March 28, 2010, vs. Mexico ... First Goal: June 30, 2015, vs. Germany
Professional / Club – 2014: Started all 22 games in which she played for Sky Blue FC, totaling 1,917 minutes which was third on the team … Playing on the flank or at forward, she scored seven goals with five assists and was the leading scorer on the team … Fired 61 shots with 27 on goal … 2013: Allocated to Sky Blue FC for the 2013 NWSL season and played 924 minutes in 12 games, starting 10, before an ankle injury ended her season … Had three assists while helping Sky Blue get off to a fast start … 2012: Signed with her home state Atlanta Beat for the 2012 Women’s Professional Soccer season before the league folded … 2011: Signed with the Boston Breakers for the 2011 WPS season after FC Gold Pride ceased operations … Played 1,049 minutes for the Breakers, second-most WPS minutes for any WNT player, while playing in 13 matches and starting 11 … Scored four goals, tied for second-most by a WNT player in WPS, and had one assist … 2010: The first-round pick and third overall player taken by FC Gold Pride in the 2010 WPS Draft … In 2010, she was one of the top rookies in the league, playing in 18 games while starting 16 and scored six goals with four assists … Suffered a quad injury toward the end of the season that kept her from starting the WPS championship game, but came off the bench and played 24 minutes as Gold Pride won the championship, adding that trophy to the regular season title … Was named as a WPS All- Star Game reserve … Youth Club: Started with the Peachtree City Lazers in U-10 until U-12s, when she switched to the Lightning Soccer Club … Moved back to the Lazers for U-17s where she finished her youth career … Won Georgia state titles at U-13, U-14, U-15 and U-17 levels … Won Regionals at U-14s and advanced to nationals, where they placed third.