Kelley O'Hara

Kelley O'Hara has established herself as one of the world's greatest soccer players. She is a FIFA Women's World Cup champion and an Olympic gold medalist, but O'Hara would not have achieved any of those accolades if she had followed through on a decision she made when she was 13.

"I wanted to quit," O'Hara says. "But then I noticed that all of my friends played soccer, so if I was not at practice, I wouldn't have anyone to hang out with, because they would all be at practice. So I decided to keep playing."

But if she had decided to toss in her cleats for good, O'Hara says her parents would have been supportive.

Kelley O'Hara

"They said, 'OK, do whatever you want to do, whatever makes you happy. You're playing soccer because you want to, not because we want you to,'" O'Hara says. "I just wasn't told that soccer was my favorite thing to do and I think I wanted to do other things or didn't want to dedicate as much time as I was to it."

While O'Hara knew early on that she wanted to compete at the highest athletic level, she was not convinced soccer was the sport she would do it in.

"I remember watching the '96 Olympics," O'Hara said. "For some reason, I was like 'Oh yeah, I'm going to go to the Olympics some day.' At that time as a kid, I did not know for what sport or really anything."

Fast-forward 14 years later, and O'Hara is still on the soccer field, but now on a much bigger stage as she prepares with Team USA for the 2016 Olympic games. Coming off a World Cup championship in 2015, the team has a chance to make history.

"No women's soccer team has ever won a World Cup and then turned around the next year and won an Olympic gold medal," O'Hara says. "It would be really exciting to do that."

Kelley O'Hara

O'Hara helped the U.S. win gold at the 2012 Olympics in London. Since the 2015 World Cup, the team dynamics have changed quite a bit. Forward Abby Wambach has retired. Sydney Leroux is starting a family with her husband, Dom Dwyer. Though Leroux and Wambach were integral parts to the team, O'Hara says the departures have brought a new challenge to the younger women.

"It is really exciting because we have had people retire and people become pregnant and so we have had a lot of younger girls stepping up to fill these big roles and fill their shoes," O'Hara says. "They are doing a great job, and it is fun to see the team grow and evolve. It has been fun to be a part of."

Though O'Hara is most notably recognized for her what she does on the soccer field, when she is not playing soccer, you can find the Coppertone spokesperson riding some waves.

"Surfing was something I always wanted to do," O'Hara says. "The summer before my senior year of college I would surf every single morning and I got better and loved it. For me, it is nice to get away from the soccer field and have these other things to clear your mind. You don't have to be good at it, you just do it and enjoy it. It is nice to have that balance and I need that balance in my life."

More USWNT:
-- Christen Press Talks Olympics, Equal Pay And Deep-Dish Pizza
-- Why Brandi Chastain's Brain Donation For Concussion Research Means More
-- Sydney Leroux Says 'Surprise!' ... Will Miss Rio Olympics

Follow Megan O'Brien on Twitter @Megan_OBrien21.

U.S. Women's World Cup Hometown Craft Beers

 

Shannon Boxx

Shannon Boxx, M, Redondo Beach, Calif. Absolution Brewing Co. in Torrance is barely a year old. It also produces root beer and cream soda in addition to its alcoholic brew, which all carry religious monikers. Cardinal Sin Crimson Ale, Purgatory Hefeweizen and Sinner Stout are just the beginning.

 

Morgan Brian

Morgan Brian, M, St. Simon's Island, Ga. There isn't a single brewery in St. Simon’s Island, and there aren't many near it. But head north to Savannah, Georgia, and you'll find Moon River Brewing Company, a brewery that claims its building is haunted. Watch out for "Toby."

 

Lori Chalupny

Lori Chalupny, D, St. Louis It's almost impossible to pick just one brewery that represents the St. Louis area. The leader in St. Louis' craft beer movement, however, is almost certainly Schlafly -- the guys and girls at Schlafly market the company as "The Saint. Louis Brewery" with no (visible) apology to Anheuser-Busch. The company took a major step last October when it expanded sales the Chicago area.

 

Whitney Engen

Whitney Engen, D, Rolling Hills Estates, Calif. Strand Brewing Co. resides in Torrance, five miles from Engen's hometown. The six-year-old brewery recently earned the 2015 Small Business of the Year Award for the 66th assembly district. Strand hasn't brewed many super adventurous beers, but judging by its success, it doesn't really need one.

 

Ashlyn Harris

Ashlyn Harris, GK, Satellite Beach, Fla. Approximately six miles from Harris' hometown and on the opposite side of the Indian River sits the Intracoastal Brewing Co. It features Shellfish Warning Saison!, a stout brewed with Florida panhandle oysters, and Black and Blue Porter, a blueberry porter. According to Florida Today, more than 1,000 patrons at its 2013 opening consumed 212 total gallons. Don't worry about doing the math -- it's more than 2,261 12-ounce servings.

 

Tobin Heath

Tobin Heath, M, Basking Ridge, N.J. Trap Rock Restaurant and Brewery in Berkeley Heights is approximately eight miles from Heath's hometown. Unfortunately, part of the building was damaged in April after a brewing tank ruptured. This place is certainly one of the more upscale craft breweries and restaurants in New Jersey.

 

Lauren Holiday

Lauren Holiday, M, Indianapolis Sun King Brewing Co., located in downtown Indianapolis, has produced at least 185 beers, according to its beer list. Its Lonesome Dove and Barrel Aged Batch 666: Sympathy for the Devil earned gold and silver medals respectively at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival.

 

Julie Johnston

Julie Johnston, D, Mesa, Ariz. Desert Eagle Brewing Co. is yet another young brewery on our list. Founded in 2011, Desert Eagle resides on Main Street in Mesa and boasts weekly live music and a handful of beers with bird references in their monikers. No birds were harmed in the making of the beer.

 

Meghan Klingenberg

Meghan Klingenberg, D, Gibsonia, Pa. Gibsonia is just 16 miles from Pittsburgh, and the Steel City is home to Church Brew Works, a brewery literally housed in a former church. Church won the Great American Beer Festival's 2012 Large Brewpub of the Year Award. No word on if the holy nature of its operation had any effect on the judges.

 

Ali Krieger

Ali Krieger, D, Dumfries, Va. Voted 2015 Best Local Brewery in the D.C. area by the Washington City Paper, Port City Brewing Company is 27 miles from Krieger's hometown. The brewery and Pacers Running, an East Coast-based shoe store, host a "Joggers and Lagers" event most Mondays throughout the summer, where attendees can jog a pre-determined route and subsequently feel less guilty about consuming craft beer.

 

Sydney Leroux

Sydney Leroux, F, Phoenix Phoenix is loaded with craft breweries, and Sun Up Brewing Co. is one of the best. Uwe Boer is the head brewmaster at Sun Up and was touted as the "olliest man in brewing" by the Phoenix New Times in 2012. Hefty praise, sure, but if there's one word you'd want the man brewing your beer to be described as, it might as well be jolly.

 

Carli Lloyd

Carli Lloyd, M, Delran, N.J. Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant is six miles from Lloyd’s hometown, but has 11 total locations in the northeastern United States. Despite being a chain, its beers frequently earn medals at both the World Beer Cup and the Great American Beer Festival. Its Russian Imperial Stout has won six combined gold medals between both events.

 

Alex Morgan

Alex Morgan, F, Diamond Bar, Calif. Sanctum Brewing Co. in Ponoma has a number of interesting beers on top. Newtonian was brewed with honey and fiji apples. Leftovers was brewed with leftover grains, wheat and cranberries. But the most adventurous of all their brews is Hamish the Red, an imperial red ale brewed with turnips. Turnips.

 

Alyssa Naeher

Alyssa Naeher, GK, Bridgeport, Conn. – Two Roads Brewing lies only four miles from Naeher’s home of Bridgeport. Two Roads boasts some pretty memorable beer labels, the most impressive of which is the barrel-aged version of their Route of All Evil Black Ale. The menacing looking chili pepper on the label boasts that the beer was aged with hot peppers, which is surprisingly not a rare occurrence in the craft beer world.

 

Kelley O'Hara

Kelley O'Hara, D, Fayetteville, Ga. Approximately 14 miles from Fayetteville sits Jailhouse Brewing Co., a brewery housed in an old jail. The names of the beers are exactly what you'd expect: Misdemeanor Ale, Mugshot IPA, Breakout Stout, Conjugal Visit Imperial Red Ale.

 

Heather O’Reilly

Heather O’Reilly, M, East Brunswick, N.J. Triumph Brewing Co. in Princeton is one of two of the brewery's locations. It features an Oatmeal Cream Porter, which sounds like an incredibly good beer to cap a meal with. Plus, it's pouring $3 pints during an U.S. Women's matches!

 

Christen Press

Christen Press, F, Palos Verdes Estates, Calif. The Dudes Brewing Co. in Torrance, like any good craft brewery, has a number of unique beers on tap. Grandma's Pecan, an English style, is brewed with pecans, as you might expect. Juicebox Series, which features an orange having a jolly good time on its label, is brewed with cocoa nibs vanilla beans and blood oranges. Odd combo.

 

Christie Rampone

Christie Rampone, D, Point Pleasant, N.J. Rinn Duin Brewery of Toms River officially opened in 2014. The brewery is named after an Irish castle, and has numerous Irish- and English-inspired beers. All of the beers on the menu are described as either Irish, English or Scottish style, and can only be found in New Jersey.

 

Megan Rapinoe

Megan Rapinoe, M, Redding, Calif. Wildcard Brewing Co. was founded by husband and wife Jeff and Jenny Hansen. Many of their beers have luck or gambling-themed names, like Double Down, Dumb Luck, Liar’s Dice and Shot in the Dark. It's fitting considering the brewery's name and the amount of risk the Hansens took in opening a brewery in the first place.

 

Amy Rodriguez

Amy Rodriguez, F, Lake Forest, Calif. California boasts the most natives on the roster. Luckily for us, California is home to approximately more than 550 craft breweries. Tustin Brewing Co. in nearby Tustin opened in 1996. It brews fairly basic beer, but its Golden Spike Light Ale and Blimp Hangar Porters are former medalists at the Great American Beer Festival.

 

Becky Sauerbrunn

Becky Sauerbrunn, D, St. Louis, Mo. Good thing the team has more than one player from St. Louis, because the home of the Cardinals has so, so many breweries worth mentioning. 4 Hands Brewing Co. is only four years old, yet its beer list is stacked. One of the more interesting brews is Ca$h Mony, an Imperial IPA brewed with what Four Hands calls a "wasteful" amount of hops.

 

Hope Solo

Hope Solo, GK, Richland, Wash. Founded in 2010, White Bluffs Brewery in Richland doesn't really have an "out there" beer. However, itsRed Alt took home a Great American Beer Award in 2014. In fact, Red Alt has earned a number of awards, and is a two-time champion of the German Hybrid Beers Division of the Washington Beer Awards.

 

Abby Wambach

Abby Wambach, F, Rochester, N.Y. Rohrbach Brewing Co. is a 24-year-old company in Wambach's hometown. The long-time New York brewery has donated more than $500,000 to Rochester charities over its lifetime. Recently, Rohrbach rolled out the first beer in its Neoteric Series, an India Pale Lager with orange and grapefruit.

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