The Houston Dash and forward Kealia Ohai have agreed to a new contract, the club announced today.
“Kealia is one of our key players and unfortunately she got injured last year. We will make sure that she returns to the field at her best level,” said Dash head coach Vera Pauw. “We are excited to keep her with the squad because she will play an important role on various fronts. She has been here from the beginning and we will do everything we can to make sure she is playing at the high level we know she can and help her raise the bar.”
Ohai will join the team after recovering from a torn ACL suffered in Orlando last season on June 24. Prior to the injury, Ohai scored the game-winning goal in Houston’s 1-0 victory over the Washington Spirit on April 29 and Houston’s first goal of the season in a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Red Stars on April 15.
The forward holds the club record for appearances (72), goals (12) and assists (12). Ohai scored a club-record 11 goals and added four assists to finish second in the Golden Boot race in 2016, her last full season with the club. Ohai was also named the NWSL Player of the Week twice in 2016, first in Week 15 after she scored two goals to help the Dash earn a 3-3 draw against the Western New York Flash and in Week 17 after a four-goal performance over two games.
Ohai’s overall performance during the 2016 regular season earned a call-up to the senior U.S. Women’s National Team and her first cap on Oct. 23, where she scored the fastest debut goal in program history. Ohai also scored the game-winning goal in the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Japan.
The University of North Carolina product was selected with the first draft pick in franchise history and the no. 2 overall selection in the 2014 NWSL College Draft. The forward is currently the only active player on the roster from the inaugural Houston Dash team.