Kealia (pronounced Kay-ah-LEE-uh) was born to Ben and Cindy Ohai and raised in Draper, Utah. Her sister, Megan, is a former youth national team member who played soccer at USC where she won the 2007 NCAA championship. Her father, who was born in Hawaii, named her after Kealia Beach on the island of Kauai.
Ohai, who graduated from Alta High School in June 2010, was a four-year varsity soccer player at the school. She led the team to four straight state soccer championships from 2006-2009. She was a two-time Gatorade state player of the year, three-time first-team high school All-America, three-time All-State selection, three-time 5A soccer MVP, and the 2010 NSCAA National High School Player of the year. In June 2010, she earned Parade All-American honors.
As a youth, Ohai also played club soccer for the Utah Avalanche. With the team, she won state title four times.
A four-year starter with the Tar Heels from 2010 to 2013, Ohai was a member of the 2012 championship-winning team. She was named the tournament's most outstanding offensive player after scoring the game-winning goal during overtime in the semi-final and the first goal of the final in the second minute of the match.
Following her freshman year playing for the Tar Heels, Ohai was named to the First-Team All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and ACC All-Freshman Team. She led the team in scoring with 14 goals and started 22 of the team's 24 games. During her sophomore year, she started in all 20 games in which she played. She scored six goals, including a team high of 3 game-winning goals and served six assists. In her third year with the Tar Heels, Ohai led the team in points (23) and goals (9).
Ohai was selected as the second overall pick in the 2014 NWSL College Draft by the Houston Dash as the expansion team's very first college draft pick. Of her draft selection, Dash head coach Randy Waldrum said, "I couldn't have asked for things to fall into place so well. It was an amazing day for the Dash. Starting with the selection of Kealia Ohai, we got one of the nation’s best forwards. She has great pace, is extremely athletic, and can really stretch defenses with her speed."
She became the club's captain midway through the 2016 season, which coincided with a scoring streak which saw her net 11 goals in 10 games and make a late bid for the golden boot. She was beaten on an assist tie-break by Lynn Williams.
A member of the U.S. youth national programs from the age of 13, Ohai has played with the under-15, under-17, under-18, under-20, and the under-23 teams. As a member of the 2012 US U-20 Women's National Team, she won the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup and scored the game-winning goal in the 44th minute of the final to lead the U.S. to victory over Germany.
Ohai made her international debut for the senior team on October 23, 2016 against Switzerland in a friendly match in Minneapolis. She scored 48 seconds after entering the match as a substitute in the 81st minute, setting a record for the fastest goal in a US women's national team debut.
Ohai's brother-in-law, Brian Cushing, plays for the NFL's Houston Texans. Ohai is legally blind in her right eye. She's currently dating J. J. Watt of the NFL's Houston Texans and a teammate of her brother-in-law Brian Cushing.