In a trade that sent shockwaves throughout the NWSL today, the Utah Royals FC have strengthened their roster by adding another U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team star, trading for Kelley O’Hara. The versatile footballer and Stanford alum has spent the past five seasons with Sky Blue FC. The Royals also acquired NWSL veteran midfielder Taylor Lytle and the 25th pick in next month’s college draft. In return, Utah sends forward Shea Groom and DF Christina Gibbons and the 4th overall pick to the New Jersey-based club.
O’Hara has 102 caps and two career goals for the National Team, and in the last five seasons with Sky Blue, O’Hara scored 15 goals in 75 games. The Georgia native is a FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion, scoring a crucial goal in the semifinal game against Germany, her first-ever international goal. O’Hara has also won an Olympic gold medal in the 2012 London Games where she converted to an outside back position after spending her career as a forward. It was as a forward at Stanford University where O’Hara was recognized as the NCAA’s top player, receiving the Mac Hermann Trophy for her 26 goals and 13 assists as a senior in 2009. She led the Cardinals to back-to-back College Cup appearances.
Lytle, a Texas Tech University alum, served as team captain for the Red Raiders, finishing as the school’s all-time career assist leader with 27. She was honored with an All-Big 12 first-team selection in 2009 as a sophomore and earned All-Big 12 first-team selections in 2008 and 2011. The 28-year-old hails from Las Cruces, New Mexico.
In hopes of playing an attacking-oriented combination and possession-based style of play, O’Hara and Lytle were acquired with that goal in mind.
The Royals are set to begin the 2018 season with a commitment from another U.S. National Team star Becky Sauerbrunn and further roster moves in preparation for the new NWSL season.