Utah Royals send star defender Kelley O’Hara to Washington Spirit

Utah Royals FC started play in 2018 with three players from the U.S. Women’s National Team. Now, the club is down to none.



Kelley O'Hara holding a football ball: (Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune)  Utah Royals vs. Washington Spirit, soccer at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Saturday May 5, 2018. Utah Royals FC defender Kelley O'Hara (5) scores a goal. Defending is Washington Spirit midfielder Taylor Smith (7).


© Trent Nelson
(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Royals vs. Washington Spirit, soccer at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Saturday May 5, 2018. Utah Royals FC defender Kelley O’Hara (5) scores a goal. Defending is Washington Spirit midfielder Taylor Smith (7).

The Royals traded defender Kelley O’Hara to the Washington Spirit, The Salt Lake Tribune confirmed. The Washington Post first reported the trade Tuesday.

O’Hara was reportedly on her way to the Spirit over the summer, but the move was never announced, indicating a potential snag in the talks. But now O’Hara will move to Washington, where she lives in the offseason.

O’Hara is the latest USWNT player to leave the Royals. Defender Becky Sauerbrunn was traded to Portland before the 2020 started, and Christen Press signed with Manchester United before getting picked up by Louisville in the expansion draft earlier this month.

The Royals protected O’Hara in the expansion draft.

O’Hara had an injury-riddled tenure with the Royals. has been injured for much of the last two seasons. She appeared in two games during the National Women’s Soccer League Challenge Cup and played only 64 minutes.

In all, O’Hara played 14 games (10 starts) with Utah and contributed 16 clearances, four blocks and 15 interceptions. She also added one goal and one assist.

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