“With the third pick, FC Gold Pride select…Kelley O’Hara!”
With that selection, O’Hara became the third of four Stanford Cardinal to join the Pride (her teammate Ali Riley was the fourth). O’Hara could barely contain her excitement at landing a place in the Bay Area.
“I am so excited right now! I’m thrilled to be able to stay in the area, to be able to play under Albertin, [and] to be a part of this franchise," O’Hara exclaimed. “And, you know, they’ve made a lot of trades and moves in the offseason, and I’m just so excited to be a part of this team.”
FC Gold Pride were involved in one major trade in the offseason one week before draft day, sending Christina DiMartino to the LA Sol for WPS all-star Camille Abily. They went on to pick up three-time FIFA World Player of the Year Marta during the LA Sol dispersal draft. Add in returning Canadian star Christine Sinclair and O’Hara, who scored 25 goals and chipped in 25 assists for the Cardinal in 2009.
Life between the NCAA championship game and the WPS draft was “pretty crazy” for the former Stanford standout. National team camp and winter break in Georgia with her family with trips to Florida and Washington DC before 2009 ended completed the month and a half between the collegiate season ending and her professional career beginning.
It was back to Stanford at the start of January before heading off to St. Louis, Missouri for the MAC Herman Award banquet on January 8, 2010. The WPS draft was the following week in Philadelphia. Capping off a crazy six weeks was a 20-day National team camp in preparation for the Algarve Cup.
“The camp was long but very beneficial and a great experience. Since camp, I have been back at Stanford trying to stay on top of school work and get ready for the WPS preseason.”
Being a top pick brings the predictions and the pressure to perform. But like fellow top five selections Whitney Engen and Nikki Washington, O’Hara didn’t really follow the media hype.
“I read a couple things on the WPS website, but not much. Regardless, it was a really fun experience to be able to be a part of a draft and I am very happy with where I ended up!” O’Hara said.
And as for pressure? She prefers the term confidence instead.
“You know, I don’t know that it’s pressure, I just think it’s like confidence from FC Gold Pride—confidence in me as a player—which is awesome. And I think that it’ll hopefully translate into confidence in myself on the field.”
With less than a month until the season kicks off, fans can expect an exciting season from the Pride. A mix of veteran talent, international stars and an exciting group of rookies make up the roster of what should be a much improved FC Gold Pride side. As for O’Hara?
Well she’s still close enough to Stanford that she can keep up with her academics in the preseason and stay in familiar territory. She hasn’t quite finished up at Stanford yet, but will be able to continue her studies. The Georgia native is most definitely looking forward to every aspect of taking her game to the professional level.
“I’m looking forward to playing with some amazing players in practice. Also, I am very excited about having such excellent competition throughout the season. I am hoping that playing in the league will help me improve as a player and I am just excited to have the opportunity to continue to play soccer.