Ashley Hatch is focused on the NWSL, not the Olympics

Washington Spirit forward Ashley Hatch (33) claps during an NWSL soccer match, Sunday, March 17, 2024, in Seattle.
Washington Spirit forward Ashley Hatch (33) claps during an NWSL soccer match, Sunday, March 17, 2024, in Seattle. | Alika Jenner

Ashley Hatch isn’t letting her Olympic aspirations distract from her season with the National Women’s Soccer League’s Washington Spirit, she told the Deseret News Friday.

What Ashley Hatch said about her Olympic aspirations

When talking with the Deseret News in October, Hatch was hopeful about her Olympic chances after getting called up to the U.S. women’s national team’s September and October camps.

But her mindset has slightly shifted since then as she has decided to only focus on the things she can control. Making the Olympic roster is not one of those things.

“Obviously, there’s a lot in this situation with the national team that I don’t have control over, so I’m just focusing on what I can do here and now, especially with the Spirit and my role with the Spirit,” she said. “If I continue to do well, I could get invited, or I could continue to do well and still not get invited. That’s just the reality of it, and so, (I’m) focusing on the things that I can control and the things that I can actually do today.”

The former BYU Cougar would still welcome the opportunity to play for the national team at the Olympics.

“If I get invited, it would be an honor and it’d be a cherry on top, but it’s also just the reality of how soccer is that it’s not 100% up to me,” she said.

What Ashley Hatch said about previous national team rosters

Following the release of the SheBelieves Cup roster in March, national team interim head coach Twila Kilgore said “there’s nobody that’s out of the mix” in terms of the Olympics. But Hatch hasn’t given her Olympic chances much thought.

“To be honest, I haven’t thought about it a ton just because it’s something that I’m trying not to let like take away my focus and energy of being here with the Spirit,” she said. “If I get invited or if I get invited to camp, it’s something that I’ll shift my focus to, but right now, I haven’t really thought about it a ton.”

With the U.S. going with very youthful rosters recently, Hatch has been left off the last two — the inaugural W Gold Cup and this month’s SheBelieves Cup. Fellow veteran striker and a fixture of the team Alex Morgan was initially left off the Gold Cup roster but was added as an injury substitute for Mia Fishel and scored two goals in the tournament.

“I think everyone always wants the chance to get called into camp, especially when there is an opportunity in your position. Yeah, I would have liked to get invited in, but also, like I said, it’s out of my control,” Hatch said. “I’m happy for Alex that she was able to do what she did. But yeah, it does seem like they’re calling in a lot of younger players because there’s a lot of really good young talent, especially in our league, so I’m anxious to see what direction they continue to go in, especially as the Olympics gets closer.”

How Ashley Hatch deals with adversity

Hatch is coming off what she describes as a “difficult” year with the disappointment of last summer’s FIFA World Cup and the Spirit missing out on the NWSL playoffs. She was one of the notable roster snubs from the World Cup.

Hatch said she has learned to take a “zoomed out” approach and to focus more on her relationships with her husband, family and community.

“Ultimately, at the end of the day, I get to play soccer for a living, and so that’s pretty freakin cool,” she said. “I feel like I just try and make sure that my perspective is in the right place, especially when things are not going my way because it can be really easy to let the bad kind of bleed into all the other good that’s happening in your life. So I try and make sure that it doesn’t taint everything else when things aren’t going my way.”

She “100%” leans on her faith in moments of adversity, she said.

“I feel like my faith in God just really helps me put things into perspective more, and also, I feel like it frees me a little bit and just knowing that like he’s in control and whatever is supposed to happen will happen,” she said.

She also heavily relies on prayer and credits her faith for helping her get to where she’s at today.

“Just like having someone to turn to to seek guidance and inspiration (from) is really important, and I say lots and lots of prayers, especially when things are going bad (and) also when things are going good,” she said. “My faith is something that I rely on a lot, and I don’t think I would be in the position I am today if it wasn’t for my faith.”

When are the USWNT’s next games before the Olympics?

The U.S. women’s national team has five matches before the team’s first Olympic match on July 25.

On Tuesday, the U.S. faces Canada at 5 p.m. MDT in the SheBelieves Cup final.

The team will then play two friendlies against the Korea Republic in June.

In its penultimate match before the Olympics, the U.S. will play Mexico on July 13. At that game, the USWNT will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the U.S. winning the World Cup and honor the 1999 national team.

Details for the team’s Olympic send-off match have not yet been released.