Kelley jpg

‘Forgotten’ O’Hara made her World Cup mark

Kelley jpg

Kelley jpg


Kelley O’Hara

By Ray O’Hanlon
rohanlon@irishecho.com

Just before the U.S. women’s soccer team took the field against Germany in Montreal for the World Cup semi-final, the San Jose Mercury News carried a report which stated: “The forgotten woman on the U.S. roster suddenly has emerged as a viable option to lead the No. 2 Americans heading into a colossal semifinal showdown against top-ranked Germany in Montreal.”

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The “forgotten” player was Kelley O’Hara.

After scoring the game clinching second goal against the Germans, O’Hara – whose full name is Kelley Maureen O’Hara no less – had secured her 2015 Women’s World Cup legacy.

The Irish American who wears the number 5 jersey would again take the field in Sunday’s triumphant World Cup final clash against Japan, a game that was a repeat of the lineup four years ago which ultimately went Japan’s way after a penalty shootout.

The Mercury News story left readers in no doubt that O’Hara embodies what might be described as a “fighting Irish” approach to the game.

“It took a bloodied nose to stop Kelley O'Hara in her debut at the 2015 Women's World Cup,” the report stated in its opening line.

And it continued: “The former Stanford star was forced to leave the United States' quarterfinal game against China last week because of a collision in the box. Now she's hoping that hour of energizing soccer she provided a stagnant American offense will lead to more opportunities Tuesday.

And then that prescient line: “The forgotten woman on the U.S. roster suddenly has emerged as a viable option to lead the No. 2 Americans heading into a colossal semifinal showdown against top-ranked Germany in Montreal.”

Kelley, 26, and the 2009 season college player of the year, was ready for the call.

According to the Mercury News, O’Hara had “created quite a rooting section” after her hour long performance against China in the quarter final.

“Some of the country's leading soccer analysts said she deserves more playing time,” the report said.

O’Hara has been variously described as “fiery” and as a “grinder.”

She certainly doesn’t lack for commitment, being one of those players who both defends and attacks.

The U.S. was one goal up against Germany – after a well-struck penalty from the excellent Carli Lloyd – when O’Hara took the field as a sub.

Up to that point, the U.S. attack had tended to melt away due to a lack of players up front, particularly in the striking area right in front of the German goal.

O’Hara put an end to that by getting her foot to a ball sent across the goal by Lloyd, who would go on to score a spectacular hat trick in Sunday’s final.

O’Hara, a Georgia native, is the daughter of Dan and Karen O'Hara. She has a brother named Jerry, and a sister named Erin.

“She is of Irish descent,” states Wikipedia.

That’s for sure.

In Sunday’s final, O’Hara was subbed in for the final third of the game which the U.S. won by the impressive margin of 5-2.

She didn’t score.

But at that point she didn’t have to. The game was pretty well won.

When the final whistle was blown, Kelley Maureen O’Hara took her deserved place alongside the rest of America’s soccer heroines.

Forgotten no more.

 

 

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