Another USWNT star will retire as a Gotham FC player

  • Kelley O'Hara recently announced her retirement at the end of the NWSL season
  • The USWNT legend will be the second player to retire as a Gotham FC player
Kelley O'Hara of Gotham FC and USWNT
Kelley O'Hara of Gotham FC and USWNT / Martin Rose/GettyImages

Last season, supporters saw Ali Krieger end her career as a NJ/NY Gotham FC player. This year, the team will say goodbye to another legend as Kelley O’Hara announced her retirement from professional soccer after 15 years.  

Despite being with the team under Sky Blue FC, she has only been back with Gotham FC since 2023. She had already won a title with the Bats as she is indeed a fan favorite. Unfortunately, several injuries have impacted O'Hara's playing time, likely prompting her to call it quits. Nevertheless, the player was part of the golden era of the USWNT and made an impact on the younger generation.   

Let's look back on O’Hara’s long career and her journey to being one of the best players in U.S. Women’s Soccer history  

Kelley O'Hara is set to retire following the 2024 season

O’Hara grew up in the south in Peachtree City, Georgia, just southwest of Atlanta. Her first soccer club was based in her hometown, the Peachtree City Lazers. This was her path to success as she played varsity all four years during high school.   

Along the way, she helped her high school to a state title while scoring 20 goals and 16 assists that season. O’Hara was also named an NSCAA Youth All-American twice and Georgia Gatorade State Player of the Year in 2006. At the same time, she had already been involved in the youth program for the USWNT, starting with the U-16 side at the age of 16.

Following her high school graduation, she committed to Stanford University in 2006, where her stardom became more surreal. She was one of the team’s best players within her four years, next to her future USWNT teammate Christen Press. O’Hara collected 57 goals and 32 assists during her four seasons, leading the school to the College Cup final in 2009, where they lost to the University of North Carolina. 

O’Hara was destined for bigger things after college, especially after winning the MAC Hermann Trophy for the best college soccer player in 2009. She also earned more regular call-ups to the youth national teams, appearing in the 2006 U-20 World Cup. Additionally, the current Gotham player played semi-professional soccer with the Pali Blues of the now USL W-league in California during her time with Stanford.

Before the NWSL was formed, the only professional women’s soccer league in the United States was the WPS. She was chosen third overall by FC Gold Pride during the 2010 WPS draft, being listed in the same class as Tobin Heath, Alyssa Naeher, and Lauren Holiday.   

O'Hara's professional career journey

O'Hara played a season with the Pride, recording six goals in 18 appearances. Her professional career consisted of a lot of back and forth from team to team, all remaining in the states. Her first NWSL team was with Sky Blue FC, Gotham FC's former name, in 2013, spending four seasons there before leaving for Utah.   

O’Hara made her senior debut for the USWNT during a friendly against Mexico in March 2010.  She was also able to squeeze her way into the 2011 World Cup roster, coming in second place while only making one appearance off the bench. Her change from an attacking player to a defensive one was with the USWNT, after she had to play outside back during the 2012 Olympic Games for the injured Krieger.   

O’Hara succeeded in that position, having been solid at the back while helping the team to a Gold Medal. She’s also won two World Cups back to back in 2015 and 2019, where she had a huge leadership role in both tournaments.   

O’Hara has not officially retired from the national team yet, and therefore still has a chance to play for the Stars and Stripes one more time before her retirement. Nevertheless, she will leave with over 160 caps, winning three major trophies with the team. She also got to play with a few other USWNT legends, like Carli Lloyd, Abby Wambach, and Julie Ertz.   

After spending a few seasons with the Washington Spirit, which she joined after her time with the Utah Royals, O’Hara decided to return to Gotham FC. Her title with Gotham was her second NWSL ring in three years, having won with the Spirit in 2021. Now that her career is winding down, O’Hara is set to be more of a leader than anything else as her legacy will be remembered for the next six months.