Soccer News: KELLEY O’HARA RECOVERS WITH CHOCOLATE MILK
Kelley O’Hara, known for her stellar leadership both on and off the soccer field, is an American soccer gold medalist. O’Hara grew up playing a variety of sports, but soccer was her passion throughout high school, which lead her to become a star player during college at Stanford University. As a senior, she had one of the best seasons in Division I history. O’Hara is now one of the 23 selected to represent the U.S. at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.
Soccer players run more during a single competition than athletes in any other mainstream sport – averaging at least 7 miles – and the long matches, expansive fields and constant movement require the world’s best soccer players to be in outstanding shape.
As O’Hara gets ready to defend the soccer field for the U.S. Women’s National Team, she credits her success to hard work and a focus on recovery, which incorporates a surprising beverage: the childhood favorite so many grown ups give up — chocolate milk. Here is what she told Diane Scavuzzo:
SoccerToday spoke with O’Hara about her love for chocolate milk and the upcoming Women’s World Cup:
Diane Scavuzzo: Why Chocolate Milk?
Kelley O’Hara: Being an athlete, it’s important what I do when I step off the field. Chocolate milk is backed by science as having just the right blend of protein and carbs that allows me to replenish immediately after a workout. This is very important when I need to do the same training the next day.
Diane Scavuzzo: How would you describe yourself?
Kelley O’Hara: There are two different sides of Kelly; when I am not on the field playing with my team I am a very easy-going person who loves to laugh, be silly and joke around. When I step on the field, I switch into a completely different mentally. I am fully focused on the task at hand.
Diane Scavuzzo: How are you and the team feeling as the countdown to the FIFA Women’s World Cup continues?
Kelley O’Hara: I can’t believe the World Cup is right around the corner. Days away. We have an expectation to win and I think we have a very good shot of doing that.
Diane Scavuzzo: How has Coach Jill Ellis prepared you to win?
Kelley O’Hara: Jill Ellis has given us all of the tools that we need. She implemented a new style — which is exciting to play. Our game has progressed.
Jill Ellis has done a good job at looking at how the world plays and figured out the weakness of our competition. She is going to have us peak just at the right time which is exactly what we wanted.
Diane Scavuzzo: What do you think about the blend of your team — with such a wide age range of players?
Kelley O’Hara: I think it’s great. This is the deepest roster we have ever had. It’s really important to have the older, more experienced players who know what it takes to win in addition to our younger players who contribute their talent in different ways. It’s really exciting to watch our team work together.
Diane Scavuzzo: How do you prepare mentally?
Kelley O’Hara: By remembering I made it here for a reason and that I have done it before. I have everything it takes to perform and get the job done on the field.
Diane Scavuzzo: Who is going to be your toughest competition in the world cup?
Kelley O’Hara: Sweden will be the hardest game of our group. Australia and Nigeria are very good as well.
Diane Scavuzzo: What was it like to win a gold medal?
Kelley O’Hara: To know that you accomplished what you set out to do, it’s a really incredible feeling. Winning the gold medal was a relief but was also just pure joy. We worked so hard — training for so many hours, days and months.
Diane Scavuzzo: While the U.S. Women’s National Team succeeded to win the first tune-up friendly before the 2015 Women’s World Cup against rival Mexico on May 17th, the game had a bit of a slow start. What did head Coach Jill Ellis say during halftime to you and your teammates?
Kelley O’Hara: We were up 1-0 and then Mexico equalized just before half-time and Jill told us in the locker room that she was really proud of the way we were playing. Jill told us to keep doing what we were doing and the goals would come, and they did. The Final Score was US 5 to Mexico 1.
Diane Scavuzzo: What advice would you give a young soccer player looking to follow in your foot steps?
Kelley O’Hara: Practice, Practice, Practice. Nothing will replace the amount of time you spent with the ball at your feet. Physically, we all progress at different times, but if you have the technical skills, you will above your peers.
Here is the Scoop on Chocolate Milk!
“What you do on the field can only be a positive if you take care of what you need to off the field and that means recovery and refueling,” said O’Hara. “I first started drinking chocolate milk to refuel in college when one of my assistant coaches said there were studies that proved that lowfat chocolate milk was great for recovery, so after practice we would get out two big gallons and drink it together as a team.”
O’Hara will star in the national BUILT WITH CHOCOLATE MILK television, print and digital campaign debuting at the end of this month. Fans will catch an exclusive glimpse of the defender’s skills and learn the secret to her post-exercise recovery that started with her college coach who shared with her team the benefits of recovering with chocolate milk. Backed by more than 20 scientific studies, lowfat chocolate milk has high-quality protein to build lean muscle and nutrients to help muscles recover after strenuous physical activity such as soccer.
“There’s a specific window of time after strenuous practices that’s key to replenishing the body with what it’s lost,” said Jay Cooney, Kelley O’Hara’s former college assistant coach. “For Kelley and other athletes that I’ve coached over the years, chocolate milk’s a great recovery choice as it has high quality protein and nutrients, and it’s backed by science. No one needed to be asked twice to drink it because everyone loves chocolate milk!”
O’Hara joins a team of elite athletes who make chocolate milk their recovery drink of choice, including professional basketball player Kevin Love and IRONMAN® Triathlon Champions Mirinda Carfrae, Craig Alexander and Luke McKenzie.
“An unwavering passion for her sport, a winning attitude and her determination make Kelley an incredible role model,” said Miranda Abney, Marketing Director at the Milk Processor Education Program. “Much like Kelley inspires those around her, she also inspires us and we’re excited to celebrate her story. The new campaign showcases her training and recovery that is BUILT WITH CHOCOLATE MILK, also going a step further to give soccer fans an inside glimpse into who Kelley is both on and off the field.”
Chocolate Milk: Built With Science
More than 20 scientific studies including athletes from sports spanning soccer, basketball, running, cycling and swimming support the benefits of recovering after strenuous exercise with the high-quality protein and nutrients found in lowfat chocolate milk. As part of a regular recovery routine, it’s an ideal way to help athletes rebuild and reshape with high quality protein scientifically shown to help repair muscles. In fact, according to a study of 13 male college soccer players, post-exercise consumption of lowfat chocolate milk was found to provide equal or possibly superior muscle recovery compared to a high-carbohydrate recovery beverage with the same amount of calories following a four-day period of intensified soccer training.