Washington Spirit forward Ashley Hatch has recalled the disbelief around her first U.S. women’s national team call-up, admitting that she didn’t even think then-head coach Jill Ellis had any idea who she was before she was brought into camp.
The 26-year-old made her debut for her country six years ago, and got another appearance under her belt in 2018, but her third would not come until late in 2021, after she finished as the top goalscorer in the NWSL and helped fire the Spirit to an unlikely Championship.
Hatch also revealed the mystery around the Golden Boot from her tremendous season, which ended with her scoring her first goal for the US just 24 seconds into her first start.
What has Hatch said about her USWNT debut?
Speaking to GOAL on the latest episode of All of US: The US Women’s Soccer ShowHatch discussed the different feelings she experienced on her debut in 2016 and then on her return to the national team after several years away in 2021, which saw her score after less than a minute against Australia.
“My first cap, I didn’t even know I was even on the US national team’s radar,” she said. “When Jill Ellis called my coach, I was, like, ‘I didn’t even know Jill Ellis knew who I was!’
“Then to be able to have my debut in Utah, where I went to school, and have my family and team-mates there was a really unique experience and one that I couldn’t have written better myself.
“But then the Australia experience, being able to have my first start, first goal, that was just like a lot of hard work finally paying off. It was very rewarding.
“So I feel like it’s hard to compare those two but if I had to rank them, I feel like getting my first start, first goal, is a little bit higher.”
“My NWSL Golden Boot? I should probably ask about that!”
Hatch also reflected on a crazy 2021 season for the Washington Spirit. Head coach Richie Burke was “terminated for cause” after an NWSL investigation in September, while a public battle for control of the club was also going on.
However, the team managed to overcome these obstacles to produce something truly special on the pitch, charging all the way to NWSL Championship glory in November.
Hatch’s contributions were crucial, as she scored 11 goals in 23 games to win the NWSL Golden Boot. When GOAL asked where her accolade was though, the striker said: “That’s a great question – I wish I had it in here and I could just get it and show it to you.
“I had it at the Championship game. They had my Golden Boot and Aubrey [Kingsbury’s] Golden Glove. We celebrated with it and took pictures and stuff, and then the NWSL took it away from me because they said they’re going to put my name on it and I haven’t seen it since, so I should probably actually inquire about that and be like, ‘Where’s my Golden Boot ?!’ So I’ve only actually seen it twice! ”
How to listen to All of US: The US Women’s Soccer Show
You can find All of US simply by searching for it on your preferred podcast platform, be that Spotify, Apple, or something else.
As well as the latest episode, listeners can go back and catch plenty of exclusive interviews from previous weeks.
Many of Hatch’s USWNT team-mates have also been guests on the show, including OL Reign defender Alana Cook, the San Diego Wave’s rising star Naomi Girma and Catarina Macario, the Brazil-born forward who signed for seven-time European champions Lyon last year .