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Doug Robinson: The charmed life of Kealia Ohai

Published: Tuesday, March 25 2014 5:13 p.m. MDT

When the Dash debut on April 12 in Houston, they will be the second game of a doubleheader, immediately following the men’s game. The women players will attend the men’s game and vice versa, making themselves available for fans and autographs.

If nothing else, the league will give the country's top female players an opportunity to play in their homeland and to be scouted by national-team coaches.

“I didn’t really want to go overseas,” says Ohai. “If you’re trying to make the national team and you’re overseas, the national team coaches never see you. You don’t get exposure. All the girls on the national team who play overseas have been asked to come back and play in the NWSL.”

Ohai will not only try to help the league and her team win fans and games, she will be trying to earn a spot on the national team with hopes of playing in the Olympics. Anyone who saw Ohai perform last fall in the FIFA U-20 world championships would be surprised to learn she hasn’t already been called up to the team. She was the star of the tournament. About half of the players from that team have already been called up, including players who didn’t see much action in the tournament.

“They keep telling me they have a lot of young forwards, and they do,” says Ohai, who plays on the U-23 national team. “They told me to play my first season in the pros, and I’ll get my chance. It’s frustrating. I’m just waiting.”

It’s about the only thing that hasn’t gone her way during her dazzling soccer career.

Doug Robinson's columns run on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Email: drob@deseretnews.com

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