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Ashley Hatch of the USA celebrates her team’s first goal during the US-Australia international football match at Australia Stadium in Sydney, Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Mark Baker, Associated Press)

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SANDY. Former BYU football star Ashley Hatch’s career, both professionally and on the US women’s team, has taken her on a world tour, from Australia to her current mid-Atlantic stop on the Washington Spirit.

But there is something special about her next national team appearance.

Hatch was one of 23 players. selected by head coach Vlatko Andonovski to USA squad for the upcoming CONCACAF W Championship in Mexico, an eight-team tournament that includes qualification packages for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“Every collection is important. But this is probably the biggest gathering I’ve been invited to in my entire national team career,” Hatch told KSL.com after Monday’s call.

The camp also includes a pair of high-altitude pre-tournament friendlies against Colombia starting Saturday, June 25th at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado and running through Tuesday, June 28th at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy. .

An important camp and friendly meeting at her home away from home, in the state where the Arizona native’s All-American career began as a standout hitter at BYU and where she earned her first international game in college high school.

It’s also the state where she met her husband Jeff Van Buren, lived off-season while pursuing her family studies degree, and got her coaching license as a coach. Volunteer Assistant at Utah Valley University.

So yes, the call to the national team is important for Hatch. But that’s what they call in the Hive State.

Ashley Hatch of the USA celebrates her team's first goal during an international football match between the USA and Australia at the Australia Stadium in Sydney, Saturday, November 27, 2021.
Ashley Hatch of the USA celebrates her team’s first goal during the US-Australia international football game at Australia Stadium in Sydney, Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo: Mark Baker, Associated Press)

“Going to Utah and playing a friendly there is great,” she said. “I’m thrilled to be back in Utah and playing in front of more friends and family than usual while living here on the East Coast.”

As part of a friendly in Utah, Hatch’s friends and family are hosting a benefit party with Cameron Treu of Bam Bam’s BBQ in Orem to raise funds for Journey of HopeUtah-based non-profit organization that improves the lives of women, girls, and members of the LGBTQ+ community through case management, mentorship, and social advocacy.

Clearly, Hatch won’t be standing at the door as she prepares to face Columbia. But the former BYU star will launch social media campaign spread the word about the cause and plans to work closely with the fundraiser and the proceeds will go to the organization.

“Our two goals are to raise money for their cause and raise awareness for women who can look for a place to get help if they face any issues, trauma or domestic violence,” she said. “Everything matched perfectly and I’m very excited.”

The inclusion of Hatch in the national team camp is more than a charity or an attempt to sell more local tickets, although such cases abound. More than 10,000 tickets have already been sold for Tuesday Night’s (8:00 pm MDT, ESPN) game, which is approaching the same number of fans of 14,336 who saw Hatch make her first appearance for Team USA in a 1-0 victory over Switzerland back in 2016.

Since then, her career has taken off. Reigning NWSL Golden Boot winner became the Spirit’s top scorer with her 26th career goal in April, and she’s not slowing down.

This extends to her national team uniform, where Hatch has scored four goals in eight matches, each in the past two years.

The 5-foot-9 striker is developing a habit of playing a major role in American football, scoring goals in six minutes of her performance in three consecutive wins over Australia and New Zealand, including a first-minute goal during a 3-0 victory over Matilda 11 November 2021

Her club form helps, but Hatch makes the most of every chance she gets, including at international level.

“She’s just a natural goalscorer, no matter how she sometimes plays,” Andonowski said. “She just finds a way to score a goal. We saw it very early on when she started joining the team in Australia on a steady basis; she immediately scored the first goal. It just explains what kind of player Ashley Hatch is. opportunity to make big changes.

“We are delighted with her form, her ability to score goals and the fact that she is in the team.”

That’s high praise from a national team that has no shortage of attacking players, including the newly resurrected Alex Morgan, Mallory Pugh and rising NWSL standout Trinity Rodman, among others.

“It’s not easy being a US forward right now,” Andonowski said. “The competition is getting bigger and bigger.”

Hopefully, Hatch adds, this uniform will continue on June 28 in a crowded stadium filled with friends, family and former BYU supporters in Sandy. Support from the Hive staff is still high for Hatch, and she wants to repay some of that support when she returns.

“Utah is my home away from home,” she said. “I found the love to keep playing at a high level and there are so many memories from there. It’s definitely a special place.”

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A proud graduate of Syracuse University, Sean Walker has been covering BYU for KSL.com since 2015, as well as prep sports, education, and everything else his editors assign him to do.

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