Defender Kelley O'Hara plans to retire from soccer at the end of the NWSL season

NJ/NY Gotham FC defender Kelley O'Hara looks on during an NWSL soccer match against the Portland Thorns FC, March 24, 2024, in Portland, Ore. United States national team and Gotham player O'Hara announced Thursday, May 2, 2024, that she is retiring from soccer at the end of the National Women's Soccer League season. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman, File)

U.S. team and Gotham FC defender Kelley O’Hara announced Thursday that she is retiring from soccer at the end of the National Women’s Soccer League season.

O’Hara, 35, is a two-time Women’s World Cup winner, an Olympic gold medalist and a two-time National Women’s Soccer League title winner.

She made her announcement on the Just Women’s Sports platform, where she has hosted a popular players’ podcast.

“I’ve been playing soccer since I was 4 years old, and it’s been an absolute joy,” she said. “But as they say, ‘Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.’ And I know there will be a lot of tears by me and probably some of y’all, but I hope there are more smiles.”

O’Hara, who was a free-agent signing by Gotham in 2023, has played in the NWSL for 11 seasons. Gotham won the NWSL title last season. Before that, she played for the Washington Spirit, which won the league championship in 2021.

In 160 appearances with the national team, O’Hara has played in four total World Cups and three Olympics. She is one of just four U.S. players to be selected for four World Cup squads.

At the 2015 World Cup, she came off the bench to score in the 84th minute, sealing a 2-0 semifinal victory over Germany. The United States went on to win the tournament with a 5-2 win over Japan.

She won a gold medal in the London Olympics and a bronze in the Tokyo Games.

“It has been one of the greatest joys to represent my country and to wear the U.S. Soccer crest,” O’Hara said in a U.S. Soccer statement. “As I close this chapter of my life, I am filled with gratitude. Looking back on my career I am so thankful for all the things I was able to accomplish but most importantly the people I was able to accomplish them with.”

Recently dogged by injuries, O’Hara’s last match with the national team came at the World Cup last summer.

A Georgia native, O’Hara played at Stanford and won the 2009 MAC Hermann Trophy as the top college player her senior season.