Kelley O'Hara,Two-Time World Cup Champion, Announces Retirement from Soccer

Kelley O'Hara, a two-time World Cup champion, announces her retirement from professional soccer at the end of the 2024 NWSL season. The 35-year-old defender will conclude her 14-year international career with 160 caps for the US Women's National Team.

Salman Khan
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Kelley O'Hara,Two-Time World Cup Champion, Announces Retirement from Soccer

Kelley O'Hara,Two-Time World Cup Champion, Announces Retirement from Soccer

Kelley O'Hara, a stalwart defender for the United States Women's National Team (USWNT) and a two-time World Cup champion, has announced her retirement from professional soccer. The 35-year-old will hang up her cleats at the conclusion of the 2024 National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) season, bringing an end to a remarkable 14-year international career that saw her earn 160 caps for her country.

O'Hara's illustrious career is adorned with numerous accolades and triumphs. She played a crucial role in the USWNT's World Cup victories in 2015 and 2019, cementing her status as one of the most reliable and versatile defenders in the team's history. In addition to her World Cup successes, O'Hara also helped the United States capture theOlympic gold medalat the 2012 London Games.

Reflecting on her decision to retire, O'Hara cited the physical toll the sport has taken on her body over the years. "I have always said I would play under two conditions: that I still love playing soccer, and if my body would let me do it the way I wanted to," O'Hara told Just Women's Sports. "I realized a while back that I was always going to love it, so it was the physical piece that was going to be the deciding factor."

O'Hara's impact on the field was felt not only in international competitions but also in domestic leagues. She won titles in two different American professional leagues: the Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) championship with FC Gold Blaze in 2010 and the NWSL championship with the Washington Spirit in 2021. In her final season, O'Hara aims to add another NWSL title to her collection with NJ/NY Gotham FC.

Throughout her career, O'Hara's versatility and tenacity made her an indispensable asset to any team she played for. She began her career as an attacking player, showcasing her goal-scoring prowess during her college days at Stanford University, where she won the prestigious MAC Hermann Trophy in 2009. However, it was her transition to a defender that truly unlocked her potential and solidified her place in the USWNT's starting lineup.

One of the most memorable moments of O'Hara's international career came during the 2015 World Cup semifinal against Germany. With the score tied at 0-0, O'Hara came off the bench and scored a decisive goal in the 84th minute, propelling the United States to a 2-0 victory and a spot in the final. That goal, along with her consistent performances throughout the tournament, earned her a place in the hearts of fans worldwide.

As O'Hara prepares to bid farewell to the sport she has dedicated her life to, she reflects on her path with appreciation and satisfaction. "It has been one of the greatest joys to represent my country and to wear the U.S. Soccer crest,"O'Hara said in a statement released by U.S. Soccer. "As I close this chapter of my life, I am filled with appreciation. Looking back on my career, I am so thankful for all the things I was able to accomplish but most notably the people I was able to accomplish them with.

O'Hara's retirement marks the end of an era for the USWNT, as she joins fellow World Cup champions Megan Rapinoe, Julie Ertz, and Sam Mewis in hanging up their boots. Her legacy, however, will continue to inspire future generations of soccer players who aspire to reach the pinnacle of the sport.

As fans prepare to bid farewell to Kelley O'Hara, they will undoubtedly look back on her career with admiration and respect. Her unwavering dedication, skill, and leadership have left a lasting impression on the sport, cementing her status as one of the greatest defenders in the history of women's soccer.

Key Takeaways

  • Kelley O'Hara retires from professional soccer after 2024 NWSL season.
  • O'Hara won 2 World Cups (2015, 2019) and 1 Olympic gold medal (2012) with USWNT.
  • She earned 160 caps for the USWNT and won titles in WPS and NWSL leagues.
  • O'Hara cited physical toll on her body as reason for retirement.
  • Her legacy will inspire future generations of women's soccer players.