Kealia Ohai might be known to many as J.J. Watt’s new girlfriend, but the 24-year-old actually has quite an amazing sports story of her own.
Ohai has been making headlines this week after she and the Houston Texans star went public with their romance after weeks of rumors that they had been dating. Celebrity news sites reported on the new relationship, sharing pictures of Kealia Ohai and sharing a bit of her amazing story.
Kealia and J.J. Watt have actually known each other for a long time. Kealia’s sister, Megan, is married to Watt’s defensive teammate, Texans linebacker Brian Cushing.
And for those who may not have heard of her before, it turns out that Ohai is just as big of a jock as her new boyfriend. Ohai has been a member of U.S. youth national soccer programs since she was 13, playing on the U.S. under-15, under-17, under-18, under-20, and under-23 teams.
Last week, she made her debut with the U.S. women’s national team in a match against Switzerland — scoring just 48 seconds after she was substituted into the match. It set a record for the fastest goal ever scored in a debut with the women’s national team.
And as ESPN noted, Kealia Ohai overcame a childhood disability to reach the world. The Utah native has been nearly blind in her right eye since childhood, but managed to overcome a condition that likely would have ended the soccer career of a lesser player.
Ohai said she learned not to listen to critics or naysayers.
“I can feel they didn’t think I would ever get called in, or it’s probably not going to happen for me,” she told ESPN. “That [the window of opportunity] has passed. But it has never really bothered me. I knew from my whole career that I would get a chance with the national team if I just kept going.
“Now it’s up to me to make the team.”
Kealia Ohai made the women’s national team after being passed over two other times, but her sister said Kealia was ready to make the most of it when she finally got the chance.
“She would get really, really down about it,” Megan Cushing told ESPN. “We just felt like when is this going to come? But the coolest part about all of it is now I feel like she’s at a point where she’s really ready for it. It could have happened earlier and she might not have been ready. And sometimes if you get called in and don’t perform, that was your one shot. Now I feel like she is really at a point in her career where she is peaking.”
It was actually her soccer prowess that helped allow Kealia Ohai to live in the same city and eventually start dating J.J. Watt. In 2014, she became the first player ever drafted by the Houston Dash of the NWSL, and she made it worth it for the expansion team. Ohai led the league with 11 goals and added four assists, which ESPN noted made her directly responsible for half of her team’s goals.
So while she may have been known inside women’s soccer circles, Kealia Ohai just got introduced to a much bigger audience when she confirmed this week that she and J.J. Watt are indeed dating.
“The rumors are true. We are dating,” Ohai said, via the New York Post. “I’ve known J.J. for a really long time, and we’ve always been really great friends, and yeah, I’m really proud of him for everything he’s been going through, but it’s been pretty crazy with all the rumors.”
There had actually been plenty of rumors about J.J. Watt’s love life before he went public with his new girlfriend. As NESN noted, he popped up frequently on Kate Hudson’s Snapchat, leading to speculation that the two might be dating.
J.J. Watt will have plenty of time to spend with his new girlfriend, Keali Ohai. The NFL All-Pro is sidelined for the rest of the 2016 season with a back injury.
[Featured Image by Eric Christian Smith/AP Images]