Two-Time Women’s World Cup Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist Kelley O’Hara Announces Retirement from Professional Soccer

O’Hara Played in Four World Cups and Three Olympics for the USA

CHICAGO (May 2, 2024) – Kelley O’Hara, one of the grittiest defenders and fiercest competitors in U.S. Women’s National Team history, has officially announced her retirement from professional soccer, effective at the end of the 2024 National Women’s Soccer League season.

Since appearing in her first Women’s World Cup in 2011, O’Hara played in every senior world championship for the USA from 2011 through 2023, a period that spanned four World Cups and three Olympic Games. O’Hara scored one of the most famous goals in U.S. history when she came off the bench in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup semifinal to volley home the 84th minute game-clinching goal against Germany to send the USA to the final, which it would win, 5-2, against Japan.

At the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, O’Hara started six of the seven matches and played a key role in helping the USA lift its fourth Women’s World Cup trophy, assisting on Christen Press’ dramatic semifinal header goal against England. She had to leave the World Cup Final with an injury at halftime but played all but three minutes of the rest of her starts. She was named to the FIFA FIFPro World XI that year.

O’Hara, 35, was known throughout her career as an intense competitor even in the elite competitive atmosphere of the USWNT, as well as a crunching ball-winner who would always put her body on the line for her teams.

“It has been one of the greatest joys to represent my country and to wear the U.S. Soccer crest,” said O’Hara. “As I close this chapter of my life, I am filled with gratitude. Looking back on my career I am so thankful for all the things I was able to accomplish but most importantly the people I was able to accomplish them with.”

She finishes her USWNT career with 160 caps, currently 21st all-time in U.S. history, and played 10,287 minutes in a U.S. jersey, one of just 23 female players to eclipse the 10,000-minute mark. She scored three goals in her USWNT career along with 21 assists. She is the 25th player in USWNT history with 20 or more assists.

Despite playing forward and in attacking positions for her entire Youth National Team and college career – she won the 2009 MAC Hermann Trophy at Stanford as college soccer’s top player when she scored 26 goals with 13 assists – she switched to outside back in 2012 for the USA, became a starter and was an important player in the team’s run to the Olympic gold medal at the London Games. A consummate team player, she would play almost exclusively at outside back for the rest of her senior international career.

Hampered by injuries during the latter parts of her career, she made the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup Team and saw action in two matches, becoming one of just 12 players in USWNT history to take part in four Women’s World Cups. She captained the USA four times during her long 14-year international career. O’Hara earned her first senior team cap on March 28, 2010, against Mexico in San Diego. She played in her final USWNT game on Aug. 6, 2023, against Sweden at the World Cup.

O’Hara was a star for the U.S. Women’s Youth National Teams and scored twice at the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Russia. She is still one of the all-time leading scorers for the U.S. U-20s, ending her career with 24 goals in 35 U-20 caps. She scored four times for the U-20s in the 2007 Pan American Games. She also played with the U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team in 2005, leading the team in scoring with 10 goals and played with the U.S. U-16s in 2004. She also saw action with the U.S. U-23 WNT.

O’Hara enjoyed a long and successful club career and is one of the few players remaining in the NWSL who played in the WPS, where she won a title with FC Gold Pride in 2010. She also played for the Boston Breakers in the WPS and is an NWSL original, turning out for Sky Blue FC for the first five seasons of the league. She then played for the Utah Royals for three seasons (including the Covid-19 impacted season) and the Washington Spirit for two seasons – winning her first NWSL title in 2021 – before returning to the rebranded NJ/NY Gotham FC for her final two professional campaigns and helped the club win the NWSL championship in 2023. When she signed with Gotham, she made history as the first-ever NWSL free agent to sign with a club.

O’Hara was one of the first women’s soccer players of her generation to make a foray into media, launching a successful and entertaining podcast via Just Women’s Sports, with whom she announced her retirement today via a “Kelley on the Street” video.

Kelley Maureen O’Hara was born in Peachtree City, Georgia, attended Starr’s Mill High School, where she won a state title, and grew up in Fayette County, which as she hangs up her boots, will become the new home of U.S. Soccer as the construction of the new U.S. Soccer National Training Center gets underway. O’Hara played for the Peachtree City Lazers, the Lightning Soccer Club and Concorde Fire before going on to star at Stanford University where she would set records for goals and assists. She was named to the Pac-12 Women’s Soccer All-Century Team in 2015.