As promised, here’s the second installment of our interview with Olympic bound USWNT defender Kelley O’Hara.
I don’t mean to recall bad memories, but you were involved in a defensive gaffe against New Zealand in a friendly last February. Pia Sundhage is known for her positivity. What did she say to you after that game?
That’s a glaring moment and it’s a rookie mistake. We won – thank God – because we have an amazing attack and everyone has the mentality that we’re not going to quit which says loads about the team. But in terms of after the game, I was just so upset and was so mad at myself and took complete responsibility for messing that up and causing that goal. Our assistant coach Erica Walsh and Pia both spoke to me and said, ‘Listen, it’s water under the bridge. You get more minutes, you don’t make mistakes like that. We know that you’re going to learn from it and you are being the hardest on yourself out of everyone so just move forward. It happened and remember it but don’t harp on it too much.’ It was good; I needed that. It helped me be like, ‘I’m not going to get sent home for causing this goal.’ It was nice to have them be alright.
You’ve since made tremendous progress at the position. How would you assess your performance against China a week and a half ago?
For me at least, every single time I’ve stepped on the field I’ve felt more confident. After the Brazil game [in early April] was when I felt good and confident and ready to play that position. The China game, I wouldn’t say I had an excellent game, but I felt like we were pretty solid in the back. I made a couple runs up which was pretty good. I assess my performance on if we won or lost. We won, okay good, so we did a good job defensively.
You primarily stayed on the bench at this last World Cup except for the group stage game against Sweden. You could very well be a starter at the Olympics. How much does that mean to you?
It’s huge. I’m really just taking one game at a time and we’ll see what happens in London, but it would be awesome. I would have so much fun. I’m craving a competitive tournament and environment. Those games are just so fun because we find ourselves practicing so much so it would just so much fun.
Women’s Professional Soccer has since gone under. What did you first think when you first heard that news?
We all kind of saw it coming considering the fact that it was canceled for the 2012 season. But it’s unfortunate because I think that if done properly, there’s a lot of potential to have a pro league here. But that’s a whole ‘nother story, I think. It’s unfortunate and we know that there is interest and the fans are out there and people want to play. I think there is potential for it to come back. Maybe it’ll start smaller next time around and build from there. I’m not completely convinced that’s it’s never going to come back. Who knows, I hope it does come back.
You’ve been linked with teams in Europe, including FFC Frankfurt. Are there any truth to those rumors?
No, there are no truth to those rumors. I have not talked to any teams yet. I don’t know where that come from.
Have you given any thought as to where you want to be in 2013? There obviously won’t be any major international competitions for the U.S. like there were with the World Cup last year and the Olympics this year.
I’ve thought about it a bit, but after the Olympics I think I’m going to want to take some time off because I know that once I do start back up it’ll be consistent through the World Cup and Olympics in ’15 and ’16. I would consider playing overseas and I’m definitely giving it a lot of thought. I’m just keeping my options open and hopefully what will happen will work out well.
2012 has already been eventful for you. Where do you hope to see yourself at the end of the year?
[With a] gold medal and having an enjoyable New Year’s Eve with good friends and family.