Vice President, Analytics and Basketball Development, Miami Heat; 2012 & 2013 NBA Champion, Miami Heat
- Inspiring Lives
- Gender Equality
Audience & Industry
- Colleges and Universities
- Women's Events
Kelley O’Hara brings an authentic, real-life perspective on leadership, motivation, and versatility — drawn from her ultimate ascension as one of the best and most versatile players in the history of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team.
Kelly O’Hara knows what it takes to become a champion.
O’Hara’s gritty tenacity and drive to win ushered her toward team sports from a young age. But she grew into one of the most dynamic players on the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team through her hard work and commitment to improvement. She knows how much time and effort go into reaching champion status.
“If you believe in something and you think about it enough and you manifest it in your mind, it has the potential to come through."
O’Hara’s inherent competitive nature gave her an edge over others, and it has stuck with her. “It's the reason that I've been able to be so successful later in life, because I've always had that desire, drive, and emotional pull towards winning,” she says.
Her rise began in her small town of Georgia, playing on her high school and club teams. O’Hara’s talent for the sport became apparent early on – she won two Player of the Year accolades and led her high school team to win the state title. After traveling the world playing soccer on youth teams, she ended up signing with Stanford, where she also pursued an education in science and technology. In 2009, she was awarded the Hermann Trophy for being the top collegiate female soccer player.
In her storied career, O'Hara inked her name in the history books becoming one of 36 women to earn 100 caps – appearances in a game at the international level. A lifelong forward, she had to pivot her position in 2012 to fill in for an injured teammate as an outside back. Even though it was out of her comfort zone, she rose to the challenge. She went on to play every minute as outside back for the U.S. at the 2012 Olympic games in London, and was one of three players on the field every minute of their journey to the gold medal.
O’Hara was also instrumental in the U.S.’s 2015 World Cup victory. She scored the game-clinching goal against Germany, advancing the U.S. to the finals where they won their third World Cup title. O’Hara established herself as the starting right back heading into the 2019 World Cup and embraced her role as an emotional leader of the team both on and off the field. She was an integral asset in the 2019 World Cup, helping the team to successfully defend their 2015 title and secure their record-breaking fourth win with a 2-0 victory over the Netherlands in the final.
"I fully believe in manifestation mindset,” says O’Hara. “If you believe in something and you think about it enough and you manifest it in your mind, it has the potential to come through." She's done that through her own journey, marking major milestones and accomplishments along the way.
But success hasn’t been easy. O'Hara has encountered many obstacles along the way, including a career-changing injury, heartbreak at the 2016 Olympics, and a challenging dispute demanding equal pay for equal play.
She’s used her rejections as fuel to drive her to the heights of her soaring soccer career. "Rejection is the best way to take steps forward. When you are rejected, you have to evaluate why,” she says. And you have to determine if you have the desire to do what it takes to get to where you want to be, she adds.
Regardless of the challenge, O'Hara approaches every situation with heart and humor. Whether sharing stories of her successes or adversity along the way, she engages audiences with an intellectual yet down-to-earth sensibility, giving a glimpse of what it takes to be a professional athlete – a life on the road and in the headlines.
Grounded by her penchant for facing adversity with perseverance and positivity, O’Hara sheds light on the core qualities of professional athletes that we can all adopt in life and at work. Her bright and captivating personality empowers audiences, reminding them that teamwork and humility are the keys to success.
O’Hara measures success in more than just accolades, possessing a competitive will that drives her to win. By writing down her goals, she willed them into being. She holds herself to high standards and expectations, drawing on her inner strength to put in the work needed to succeed. If you put your mind to something and are true to yourself and don't make excuses, O’Hara says, then the sky is the limit.
O’Hara is the embodiment of a team player. She knows that being a member of a team means doing what’s best for your people – no matter what. As a soccer player who has excelled in many positions, she understands the value of versatility.
The gender pay gap is a serious issue in the sports world, despite some women having a much longer track record of success. O’Hara is an outspoken advocate and supporter of equal pay for equal work – and play – for women everywhere, in every industry.
A Conversation with Kelley O'Hara
Kelley brings an authentic and real-life perspective on leadership, motivation, adversity, teamwork, success and perseverance, drawn from her journey from a small town in Georgia to Stanford University and her ultimate ascension as one of the best and most versatile players in the history of the USWNT. Kelley inspires audiences of all ages, groups and profession. Whether sharing stories of her successes or adversity she’s faced along the way, she engages audiences with an intellectual yet down to earth sensibility giving a glimpse of what it takes to be a professional athlete – a life on the road and in the headlines. Soccer has taken Kelley all over the world and she has had tremendous success at every level, culminating with World Cup Titles in 2019 and 2015 and an Olympic gold medal in 2012. She is a great personality to motivate teams at your next event.
The Social Athlete
As the first generation of professional athletes with social media, Kelley provides insight into life in the limelight where her every move is recorded, tweeted, snapped, instagrammed and discussed. In this candid conversation, Kelley shares how she deals with trolls, bullying, and trying to maintain privacy in a very public world.