U.S. national team soccer star Ashley Hatch plays Washington D.C. Temple tour host for club teammates

These are busy times for Latter-day Saint pro soccer star and prolific goal-scorer Ashley Hatch.

In a few days, Hatch and her Washington Spirit teammates begin their defense of their National Women’s Soccer League title, in the squad’s 2022 season opener. And in June, she hopes to be on the roster for the Stars and Stripes when the United States national team takes on Colombia.

But on Tuesday, April 26, the Brigham Young University product relished the opportunity to join several of her Spirit teammates and friends on a tour of the Washington D.C. Temple. Their tour was conducted by Elder W. Mark Bassett, a General Authority Seventy, and his wife, Sister Angela Bassett.

Playing host at the temple for many in her professional soccer circle was an unforgettable memory and honor.

“It was just a really neat experience,” Hatch told the Church News. “My teammates didn’t really know what to expect, but they understood [touring the temple] would be a unique opportunity.”

Prior to the tour, Hatch emailed her teammates and others in the Spirit organization some background information and “fun facts” about the temple to help them prepare for their visit.

“I just loved being able to share a huge part of my life with them,” she said.

Read more: What those who visit are saying at the Washington D.C. Temple

The Spirit players, she added, enjoyed walking through the temple’s many rooms and learning more about the purposes of such sacred edifices.

“They all had a lot of questions about the temple and the temple dedication,” said Hatch. “They also asked about other temples around the world. When we went into one of the sealing rooms, I was able to tell them about my own temple marriage [to husband Jeff Van Buren] in the Gilbert Arizona Temple.”

The star striker is entirely comfortable kicking soccer balls into the back of nets — but she admits that sharing her convictions about the temple and the gospel with teammates was a little frightening.

“I didn’t realize how vulnerable I would feel bringing my teammates to the temple … but I really enjoyed it,” she said. “They were all so great to come and support me.”

A few even said they would like to return to the temple to walk around the grounds and again experience its peace and beauty.

Latter-day Saint soccer player Ashley Hatch, right, joined teammates and friends from her Washington Spirit professional team on a tour of the Washington D.C. Temple on April 26, 2022.
Latter-day Saint soccer player Ashley Hatch, right, joined teammates and friends from her Washington Spirit professional team on a tour of the Washington D.C. Temple on April 26, 2022. Credit: Provided by Ashley Hatch

Hatch utilized her Instagram, Twitter and Facebook social media pages to share her experience of being at the temple with her Spirit teammates — and to encourage others to visit the Washington temple during the public open house. She has been serving on the temple open house’s sports and culture committee — using her platform as a local athlete to get the word out about the public temple tours.

“It was such a wonderful experience to be able to share such a huge part of my life with others,” she wrote on her Instagram page. “I’d love to encourage all who live in the [Washington metropolitan] area to visit the temple open house if you have the opportunity. 

“Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints brings me so much joy and is a huge blessing in my life.”

Hatch’s experience Tuesday at the Washington D.C. Temple is the latest highlight in a year that has been rich in highlights for the Gilbert, Arizona, native.

Besides playing a key role in the Spirit’s successful 2021 title run, she was awarded the league’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 was also called into national team action last November. In the first of two U.S. matches against Australia, she scored her first international goal just 24 seconds into the game.

While living in the Washington area, Hatch has established close ties with her local congregations. In a former ward, she served as a Young Women leader. Now living in Fairfax, Virginia, she and Van Buren serve as Church communications specialists and help maintain the ward website.

The public open house for the temple runs April 28 through June 11, 2022, except for Sundays. The open house will highlight the iconic temple, the grounds and the temple visitors’ center. Open house ticket information is available at dctemple.org.

Read more coverage of the Washington D.C. Temple