The young women from Virginia’s Ashburn Ward have another reason to celebrate.
On Saturday, Nov. 20, their Young Women adviser and friend, Ashley Hatch, helped her team, the Washington Spirit, win the National Women’s Soccer League championship with a 2-1 extra time victory over the Chicago Red Stars.
Saturday’s title winning game marked a fitting end to an unforgettable season for Hatch, an Arizona native and former Brigham Young University star.
She was awarded the NWSL’s 2021 Golden Boot after leading the league — one of the world’s best — with 10 goals. Hatch later finished fourth in the voting for league Most Valuable Player honors and was named to the 2021 Best XI First Team. She also scored the game-winner in the 1-0 quarterfinal playoff victory over the North Carolina Courage on Nov. 7.
Two days later Hatch learned she had been called into the U.S. Women’s National Team training camp. The national team is preparing for a two-match trip to Australia later this month.
Saturday’s title-winning game, “was the perfect ending to our season,” Hatch reported to the Church News. It was the first league championship for the Spirit, following a tumultuous season after coronavirus issues and mid-season coaching changes.
“I don’t think I could have written the story of our season any better than the way it all played out,” said Hatch. “I’m so happy we finished the season on top and I couldn’t be more proud of my team and our support staff for making it all possible by never giving up and believing in each other.”
Following the Thanksgiving holiday, Hatch will turn her attention to national team duties. She’s no stranger to representing the United States’ team. She played her first game with the national team in 2016 against Switzerland when she was still playing for BYU. She also played against Mexico in 2018.
Hatch recently spoke to the Church News about the rare opportunity to represent her country in international competition. “It’s every girl’s dream to make an impact on the national team, so I’ll continue to prepare myself for any opportunities,” she said.
Latter-day Saint soccer fans first witnessed Hatch’s goal-scoring prowess during her time as a Cougar, where she was an All-American and a finalist for the 2016 Hermann Trophy Award, recognizing the top player in women’s college soccer.
She and her husband, Jeff Van Buren, were married in the Gilbert Arizona Temple in 2019.