Did you hear that?
It’s millions of hearts breaking across the nation.
J.J. Watt has a girlfriend, confirmed by the source herself. Houston Dash and USWNT forward Kealia Ohai was asked about rumors regarding her and the Texans defensive end on the 2 Up Front podcast, and she didn’t take the usual route and sidestep the question.
“The rumors are true, we are dating,” she told hosts Baxter Colburn and Simon Provan. “I’ve known J.J. for a really long time and we’ve always been great friends.” She also added that it’s been “pretty crazy” regarding the rumor mill that is Watt’s personal life.
Here’s what you need to know about Ohai:
1. She’s Coming Off The Best Professional Season of Her Career
Ohai is a forward for the Houston Dash, and had her best professional season in 2016. The NWSL lost a decent amount of players to the Rio Olympics, but Ohai stepped up her game in the absence.
Ohai was a high draft pick for expansion Houston, but didn’t light up the scoresheet in his first two seasons in Houston. Ohai scored four goals in 19 games in 2015, and was determined to improve that performance this year. She responded with a monster season, finishing 11 goals, tied for the highest total in the league. Ohai, who is also the Dash’s captain, averaged a goal or assist every 69 minutes. That performance not only put her in the NWSL MVP conversation, it attracted the attention of USWNT head coach Jill Ellis.
2. Ohai Was Recently Called Up to The US Senior National Team
Ohai has plenty of national team experience, but it’s not at the senior level. She has experience with the U18 and U20 teams, and she scored the game-winning goal for the U20 team at the Women’s World Cup in Japan.
Jill Ellis is looking to shake up her senior squad, and has made a point to include the top NWSL players. That means Ohai got the callup for the team’s recent round of friendlies, and she did not waste the opportunity. Ohai came on as a substitute against Switzerland and scored in 48 seconds, setting a record for fastest goal in a USWNT debut.
Ohai will compete with the likes of Christen Press, Crystal Dunn and Alex Morgan for playing time up front.
3. Her Sister is Married to Brian Cushing
There’s a link between Ohai and Watt, and it’s not just the Houston professional sports scene.
The couple have known each other for years through Brian Cushing, who has spent the last 8 seasons as the anchor in the Texans defense. Cushing is married to Ohai’s sister, Megan, and the sisters are close friends. Megan gave birth to the couple’s second son in 2014.
Kealia may be a standout for the Dash, but Megan could ball out back in the day. She was a four-year starter at USC, and even had aspirations to play professionally. When Houston Dash management expressed their interest in Kealia, there was also interest in signing Megan as a package deal. That deal fell through when Megan was pregnant with her second child.
4. She Won Four State Championships at Utah’s Alta High
Ohai grew up in Utah, where she was a dominant athlete at Alta High. In soccer she led her team to four straight state championships, and on the track she ran the 100-meter dash and 4×100-meter relay.
As the best soccer player in Utah, Ohai received her share of accolades. She was Gatorade Player of the Year for Utah twice, was named Utah Ms. Soccer in 2008 and 2009, and was the 2010 NSCAA National High School Player of the Year.
5. Ohai Is Blind In Her Right Eye
Ohai has defied critics by earning a callup to the national team, but she’s been overcoming adversity her entire life.
When she was six years old, Ohai was diagnosed with severe astigmatism in her right eye. The left eye had become dominant, and Ohai and had been favoring her left eye throughout childhood. By the time the parents Cindy and Ben Ohai realized what Kealia was going through, she was mostly blind in her right eye. She wore a patch over the “good” eye for a year in an attempt to regain strength, but her and her family eventually conceded to the fact that the right eye would never regain full strength.
Ohai didn’t keep her condition a secret, but didn’t tell the world, either. It wasn’t until an interview during her junior year at UNC that she told a reporter about her blindness.
Ohai said that while most people would be devastated with losing an eye, it doesn’t affect her much. She credits this to it being a lifelong affliction, so she’s never really had full functionality in both eyes. Ohai added that it doesn’t really affect her game, but the lack of depth perception comes into play on long balls and crosses.