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Aleah Kelley

University of California Irvine
Special Education
Aleah Kelley


Aleah Kelley is an education major focusing on helping children with special needs, while minoring in Spanish. She is a constant source of assistance and tutoring in the academic center for fellow student-athletes. Kelley earned Dean’s List status in 9 of 12 quarters while at UC Irvine and was named to the Big West All-Academic team. She is interested in joining the police force (focusing on the SWAT team) as a career moving forward in addition to bilingual behavioral therapy. In conjunction with her interest in joining the police force, Kelley has taken part in numerous ride-alongs with police units from Irvine, Newport Beach and Beverly Hills to understand the job more and gain firsthand experience.


Kelley has been the team captain since midway through her freshman year in 2015. Even through her medical redshirt season, she remained the captain and has led the team ever since. She can be a fiery, vocal leader when needed, but is typically a calm, focused individual who finds strength within herself. She works a full-time job at a yoga studio, practices yoga daily and is training to be a certified yoga instructor. She’s led multiple classes with UC Irvine Athletics staff in yoga sessions at the studio.

Kelley has also been a voice of strength in the battle against breast cancer. Her mom is a survivor, and she’s helped her with her fight every step of the way through faith, positivity, strength and poise all while still attending her matches. Kelley used the experience and the same qualities in her recovery from her injury when she was told she likely would not play soccer again.


Kelley and her team have contributed to a number of charitable events, including notable talks to second-graders at Rae Elementary School in each of the last three years about leadership qualities and tools to be successful. She mentioned it being an opportunity to give the kids a chance to ask questions about their journey and the qualities that helped her and her teammates get to where they are now.

Kelley is an annual volunteer at UCI Athletics’ Scott Brooks Golf Invitational, conversing with department supporters or donors to thank them and get to know them. She participated in UC Walks, an event that connected student-athletes with faculty and staff on campus while walking about the campus park and supporting the message about staying active and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. She’s volunteered as a runner for the UC Irvine Police Department Special Olympics torch run the last two years, which is a chance for student-athletes to connect with the officers on campus and show support for the children participating in the Special Olympics.


Kelley has played in 58 career matches, starting 46. She has started every match in the last two-plus seasons. Primarily a defender for the ‘Eaters who also has been used as a forward, she earned All-Big West First Team honors in 2018. She scored her first career goal as a junior, opening the scoring in a 2-1 home over LMU. She has two career assists, one as a junior and one so far in her senior season. Coming up on 5,000 career minutes played, she has led the team in minutes played in two different seasons.

Kelley did not play the entire 2016 season after injuring her leg just before the season started. She rehabbed through the entire year to make a full recovery and continue her captaincy. Since her return from injury, UC Irvine has reached the Big West Tournament, which included a regular season title in 2017, the third in the program’s history.