Washington Spirit and Utah Royals FC made a trade on Wednesday. Utah have sent defender Kelley O'Hara to the Washington Spirit in exchange for $75,000 in Allocation Money, as well as the team's natural first-round draft pick for the 2022 NWSL Draft, should certain performance stipulations be met.
Questions around performance conditions for O'Hara within the trade likely stem from the defenders time with Utah. She's been with Utah Royals FC since its inaugural season in 2018, but missed time both because of national team duty during USWNT's 2019 World Cup run and injuries that kept her out of lineups and on the sidelines.
O'Hara appeared in 12 matches over three seasons with Utah notching one goal and one assist. The two-time FIFA World Cup winner made two game appearances during the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup this summer.
"As I move on to the next chapter in my NWSL career I want to thank the Utah Royals organization for providing a top class professional experience," O'Hara said via release. "To the fans, I know that my time on the field in Utah did not meet a lot of people's expectations, including my own. Please know that I gave all I had to the Royals during my three years and to those that stuck by me and the team through the good and the bad, I am forever grateful."
O'Hara was initially acquired as part of trade with Sky Blue FC that sent the USWNT defender to Utah along with Taylor Lytle and the No. 25 overall pick in the 2018 NWSL College Draft from Sky Blue in exchange for forward Shea Groom and midfielder/defender Christina Gibbons.
The trade also sent the No. 4 overall pick in the 2018 draft to Sky Blue. The pick was eventually used to draft Michaela Abam, who made only 4 appearances for SBFC before getting released mid-season to play overseas in France.
O'Hara now joins a young Spirit side that is looking for the right pieces after an impressive Challenge Cup run and an offseason that saw them trade the player rights to USWNT superstar Rose Lavelle.
"We have added some valuable experience. More importantly, we've added another player who has a winning mentality, and someone who will contribute enormously to our team environment," said Spirit head coach Richie Burke.
"I'm excited to get started with Kelley as soon as possible and can't wait to integrate her into our club."