Nearly two years to the day from being passed up by her hometown club in the 2010 WPS Draft, Kelley O’Hara is finally headed home. The Atlanta Beat’s roster overhaul continued on Thursday with the announcement that O’Hara has agreed to terms with the club.
O’Hara, a Fayetteville, Ga. native, won the MAC Hermann Trophy for her senior year of play at Stanford and was drafted No. 3 overall in the 2010 draft by FC Gold Pride. Atlanta, then under the directions of head coach Gareth O’Sullivan, had the No. 1 pick that year, but chose midfielder Tobin Heath out of North Carolina. Heath struggled with injuries her rookie season before moving to Sky Blue FC, her hometown club, in 2011. O’Hara won the 2010 WPS Championship with FC Gold Pride before moving to the Boston Breakers last year.
Now she’s headed back to Georgia to join an Atlanta team that has vowed to reincarnate itself after a 1-13-4 season in 2011.
“I’ve heard all good things about head coach James Galanis,” O’Hara said. “I’ve talked to a lot of my friends and to players I respect. I feel like he is going to put together a good team this year and hopefully for years to come. I am excited for the opportunity to play with specific people, to play for him, and to play for the city of Atlanta.”
O’Hara joins former Stanford teammate Christen Press. O’Hara and Press combined for an incredible 123 points in 2009 – O’Hara’s senior season – while leading Stanford to a national runner-up finish. Press tallied 21 goals and 16 assists while O’Hara led the way with 26 goals and 13 assists that season.
According to one report, O’Hara should be joining 2011 World Cup and Boston Breakers teammate Rachel Buehler in Atlanta next season. On the bubble U.S. midfielder Yael Averbuch also looks to be headed to Atlanta, which continues to make vast improvements in the offseason.