Jan. 8, 2010
ST. LOUIS - Senior forward Kelley O'Hara became the first Stanford player in history to the win the Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy, college soccer's highest honor.
O'Hara was one of three finalists - North Carolina midfielder Tobin Heath and UCLA forward Lauren Cheney were the others -- invited to Friday's ceremony, with the award decided by a vote of coaches. O'Hara received the women's honor and Akron's Teal Bunbury received the men's.
"It's a great way to end the college season," O'Hara said. "I'm so thankful, and blessed. But the reason I was able to get the award was because of my teammates. I couldn't have done it without them."
O'Hara, a native of Fayetteville, Ga., led Stanford (25-1) to its best record and to its first NCAA championship final, shattering school scoring records along the way and leading the nation in goals and points.
O'Hara (26 goals, 13 assists, 65 points) had been nominated three times for the award, but had never been a finalist until this year, joining Julie Foudy (1991 and '92) as the only finalists in Stanford history.
O'Hara said she wasn't nervous, and never felt as if she was destined to win.
"I'm sitting next to Tobin Heath and Lauren Cheney, and they both have Olympic gold medals," she said. "I had a good season, but I don't know if I could have expected it."
Stanford and O'Hara had a fairy-tale season that included a Pac-10 title and a perfect record heading into the College Cup final, which ended with a disappointing 1-0 loss to North Carolina and a red card for O'Hara in her final collegiate match.
"This is a great honor," O'Hara said. "But I would give it up to win a national championship. That's not to downplay the trophy. To be honored like this is incredible. I'm so excited."
A 2009 NSCAA first-team All-America, O'Hara was the Pacific-10 Conference's Player of the Year and an ESPN The Magazine first-team Academic All-American.
The Hermann Trophy has been awarded since 1967 to men, and since 1988 to women. Michelle Akers was the first women's winner, and Mia Hamm won it twice. O'Hara becomes just the fourth winner from a Bay Area school: Mani Hernandez of San Jose State won the men's award in 1968, Santa Clara's Mandy Clemens won the women's in 1999 and teammate Aly Wagner won in 2002.
Click here to read the Missouri Athletic Club press release.