Let’s recognize Fayette’s women’s soccer superstar Kelley O’Hara


Fayette County has had a proud tradition of excellence in the sport of soccer. The official records do not lie, and we can claim a significant number of state championships and national recognition.

We have had many phenomenal players who went on to play at both the collegiate and professional levels. I would like to see our one ultra-elite player recognized.

Almost two decades ago, I was coaching girls’ soccer in Peachtree City. My teams would win despite having me as their coach.

Once, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution called and wanted to profile me and my family while I was mayor. They said a reporter and photographer were coming the following Saturday. I told them to meet me at the local soccer fields because I was “going to be there all day.”

I still treasure the newspaper photo of my wife and me, gear in hand, and our two young girls in their soccer uniforms. The interview was conducted on folding lawn chairs between games.

We are not just providing soccer instruction on those grassy fields. Intrinsically, we are imparting a series of life lessons to our young men and women on cooperation, training toward a goal, etiquette, and overcoming obstacles to achieve.

Trademark win

Fayette County landed the U.S. Soccer Federation (U.S. Soccer) headquarters and their first-of-its-kind national training center (NTC). The project is a good one in many ways, creating 440 new jobs through a $228 million investment.

These types of trademark projects bring a lot of name recognition to our community which aids in attracting other corporate headquarters projects. The facility should also boost our hotel tax revenue as well.

Our Fayette County ultra-elite player

As the U.S. Soccer Federation announcement was coming online, I immediately thought that the road leading into the complex ought to be named “Kelley O’Hara Drive.”

Kelley O’Hara signs her letter of intent to attend Stanford University, from The Citizen, February 2006
Kelley O’Hara signs her letter of intent to attend Stanford University, from The Citizen, February 2006.

Of all the excellent soccer players Fayette County has produced (and we have had many), none stand taller than 5-foot, 5-inch Kelley O’Hara. The former Starr’s Mill High School superstar has spent her life befuddling goalkeepers all over Georgia, the United States, and the world.

Placing the word “drive” behind O’Hara’s name is a no-brainer. She has a reputation as an extremely physical and aggressive player, achieving success in multiple positions on the field.

The state high school title was just the beginning. She was named Parade All-American, All-League, All-County, and All-State all four years. She also won the Gatorade Georgia State Player of the Year and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Player of the Year awards in 2006.

O’Hara scored an amazing 57 goals in four years at Stanford University with All-American honors all four years.

It was no surprise when O’Hara won the Hermann Trophy as the nation’s top collegiate player. But wait, while she was the driving force of NCAA soccer, she also managed 24 goals in 35 caps while also playing on the United States U-20 national team.

Through concussions and reconstructive ankle surgeries, O’Hara has never given up playing professional soccer while also collecting an Olympic Gold Medal and two World Cup championships.

After all her successes, Kelley O’Hara has never forgotten where she came from. She appreciates her local fan base and encourages all the young girls in soccer leagues and high schools to succeed.

I do not think Dan and Karen O’Hara minded as we watched Kelley in international competition representing us on our televisions, cheering, “That’s our girl!” Our Fayette County hearts swelled with pride.

That little freckled-faced girl who graced our local soccer fields and embodied what every other little girl who followed could be was the forerunner for the great relationship our community will have with the U.S. Soccer Federation.

Perhaps U.S. Soccer President Cindy Parlow Cone will consider naming the entrance road from our soccer community to the new headquarters and training facility “Kelley O’Hara Drive” after our girl. I cannot think of a more symbolic gesture.

Here’s to all of our future Kelley O’Hara’s who are only a short drive from our recreation and club teams to the national team.

I wish our newest residents at U.S. Soccer all the best.

[Brown is a former mayor of Peachtree City and served two terms on the Fayette County Board of Commissioners. You can read all his columns by clicking on his photo below.]

Kelley O’Hara responds to questions during promotional interview.
Kelley O’Hara responds to questions during promotional interview.


  1. I agree with Mr. Brown. Ms. O’Hara deserves the many accolades she has received already and is very worthy of honor here in her home county. We are all proud of her.

    Mr. O’Hara’s politics, religion, or philosophy (or lack of these influences) is immaterial to her athletic achievements, and I hope these will not even be considered in honoring her demonstrated skills on the soccer field.

  2. Kelley O’Hara’s soccer achievements are amazing and worthy of this honor. And in a sport that is infected with woke politics (looking at you, Rapinoe), O’Hara stands out as someone young women and girls should look up to.

    O’Hara was one of two who had the love of our country and courage to stand hand-over-heart for our national anthem in international play, while most of her teammates chose to trash the US on the world stage by kneeling.

    We need to honor and celebrate athletes who excel in sports and as a role model. O’Hara is a winner at both. Let’s hope US Soccer agrees.

    • If “infected with woke politics” means those who support and assist others who are less fortunate due to inequality, oppression and/or discrimination on account of one’s race, religion, or sexual orientation, then more power to them. Thanks for the reminder that many if not all within the USWNT, along with many, many others in this country … and those around the globe support those same ideals as well.

      • Doon….woke is a mental disorder and anyone with a sense of decency and some common sense knows it! Anyone who thinks it is okay for a man to just decide he is declaring himself a woman just so he can compete against girls and women has a mental disorder, and so does those who think it is normal or reasonable!

        • Fayetteboy, actually “woke” in the context as slang is an adjective derived from African-American vernacular. It’s been used for many decades to describe being alert or wise to any racial prejudice and discrimination. Of course, lately its meaning has been hijacked and then misused in some colloquial speech. However, in its original version it means to be informed and educated. So with that, good luck with your continued personal education AND understanding on those issues that appear to be near and dear to your heart.

          • Doon – please don’t bring facts to this discussion. Fox News defines words for their viewers. It is so much simpler that way, and no reading is required.

            Truth is stranger than fiction.

          • Stranger, thanks for the heads up that facts are sometimes optional for submission, especially if it conflicts with varying news source’s agendas. But you have to admit, it is refreshing to read (and hear) these days.

      • A frog placed in a pot and then boiled does not recognize its changed circumstances. So too are those who claim not to know “woke” and woke culture’s rotting away of America.

        “Woke is the progressive left forcefully inflicting social, economic, and cultural change on the American people without consideration of facts, laws, or the desires of the people impacted.” American Thinker March 21, 2023

        Some markers – out of control political correctness, censorship and cancel culture, insistence on “my pronouns” for 50+ genders, absence of Truth, seeing only oppressors and oppressed vs individuals, “diversity” meaning not straight white males, focus on equity vs equality, hard work and merit, men can be women and invade their private spaces, being mentally soft and easily offended (need safe spaces), disparaging our country and its traditions, embracing socialism and Big Government, anti-religion, OK with indoctrinating and “transing” children…

        I could go on, but if you don’t already see the problem, you’re the boiling frog.

        • Hi Penny, and happy new year to you.

          I was surprised that you quoted the ironically named “American Thinker” that publishes the most partisan conservative drivel. You are brighter than this and can do much better.

          If one is allowed to arbitrarily lump any disliked characteristics under a single rubric – regardless of its historical development and clear meaning – finding fault is merely child’s play. It’s is done constantly on both ends of the political spectrum and convinces no one except the already convinced.

          If I submitted a list of Nazi beliefs and then characterized these as the conservative agenda for America, I’m guessing that you won’t think me a brilliant political observer. Your list of “markers” is no less unrepresentative of the large majority of progressive-leaning voters, even if the right’s eternally aggrieved and victimized new sources portray it as such.

          What the vast majority of Americans want for our society is much more homogeneous than politicians and media bullies on either side want us to believe. Let’s not take their bait.

          • American Thinker did put out a variety of reckless articles claiming fraud after the 2020 presidential election. When faced with litigation (by Dominion) they quickly acknowledged in a retraction that the statements made on election fraud were “completely false and have no basis in fact.” Yeah doesn’t sound like a good source to be quoting from at all and I agree. But then with some, it’s whatever boils your toad I guess.

          • Doon – It’s safe to say that political ideologues (from either end of the spectrum) don’t exactly wear out their library cards.