Washington Spirit acquire USWNT star O’Hara from Utah Royals

The Washington Spirit have acquired U.S. national team right-back Kelley O’Hara from the Utah Royals, the clubs announced on Wednesday.

In exchange for O’Hara, Utah will receive $75,000 in allocation money as well as a first-round pick in the 2022 NWSL Draft, should certain performance stipulations be met.

O’Hara, who joins after spending three seasons with the Royals, had reportedly requested the move because she lives in the Washington area.

“I am ecstatic to join the Washington Spirit. It has always been a dream of mine to be able to play in the city I call home,” O’Hara said in a club release.

“This is a young and exciting team with lots of potential and I am looking forward to providing veteran experience to the squad. I can’t wait to get to work on the field with the team and Richie, and to be able to make an impact off the field in the community. I want to bring a championship to Spirit fans and the District, and make soccer this city’s favorite sport.”

Spirit are landing a vastly experienced player in O’Hara, who has accumulated 131 caps for the USWNT in her career. The 32-year-old has appeared in three World Cups, winning two, and also won an Olympic gold medal in 2012.

Spirit head coach Richie Burke indicated his excitement to be adding a player like O’Hara to his roster.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to get Kelley O’Hara to our club,” Burke said. “Kelley adds world-class quality to our current squad and is a fantastic addition to our young team.

“As a World Cup winner and FIFPro World XI player, we have added some valuable experience. More importantly, we’ve added another player who has a winning mentality, and someone who will contribute enormously to our team environment.

“I’m excited to get started with Kelley as soon as possible and can’t wait to integrate her into our club.” 

O’Hara also released a message of gratitude to the Royals, telling the club’s official website: “As I move on to the next chapter in my NWSL career I want to thank the Utah Royals organization for providing a top class professional experience.

“To the fans, I know that my time on the field in Utah did not meet a lot of people’s expectations, including my own. Please know that I gave all I had to the Royals during my three years and to those that stuck by me and the team through the good and the bad, I am forever grateful.

“And lastly, to my teammates, I am so very thankful for each and every one of you. I will cherish the bonds we built on and off the field. I wish all of you the best!”

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