Senior forward Kelley O’Hara became the first Stanford player in history to the win the MAC 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, who hails from Fayetteville, Ga., shattered Stanford season records for goals (26) and points (65) this season while leading the nation in both categories. She also dished out 13 assists in 2009, the third-best mark in school history. The senior captain led Stanford to its first NCAA championship final and its’ best-ever record (25-1).
O’Hara earned Pac-10 Conference Player of the Year and NSCAA first-team All-America honors. She also excelled in the classroom, earning Academic All-America honors.
O’Hara completed her collegiate career with 57 goals and 156 points, No. 2 in Cardinal history in both categories. O’Hara is the first player in Stanford history to claim the MAC Hermann Trophy. Last month, she was one of 24 players named to a December training camp for the full U.S. national team. O’Hara has played internationally from the under-17 to the under-23 age groups.
O’Hara 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.
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 (questionable?) 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 third winner from a Bay Area school: Mani Hernandez of San Jose State won the men’s award in 1968 and Santa Clara’s Aly Wagner won the women’s in 2002.
Click here to read the Missouri Athletic Club press release.