SALT LAKE CITY – The United States Women’s National Team is on its way to Utah for a second straight friendly match against Columbia this Tuesday, June 28.
One member of the traveling band is more excited than the others to set foot on the Rio Tinto Stadium in front of fans she’s played in front of before. Ashley Hatch, 27, is hoping to play in her 10th game for the national team just down the road from where her college years were spent.
“I love Utah, as soon as we landed I felt like home so I’m really excited to be here,” Hatch told the media Monday afternoon at Rio Tinto Stadium before the final session. practice before the match.
Between 2013 and 2016, Hatch was a member of the BYU Cougars where she played in 75 games and scored 47 goals along the way. The 5ft 9in striker has a nose for goal and is entering her prime as she continues to fight for a permanent role at the top of the national team.
“It’s a dream come true, especially to be able to come back, especially since that’s where I received my first cap and to see how far I’ve come since then, I’m really very happy to be back” , Hatch said.
At club level, Hatch plays for the Washington Spirit after stints with Melbourne City and North Carolina Courage. She has been with Washington since 2018 and has amassed 28 goals in 82 appearances.
Ahead of the game against Columbia at Rio Tinto Stadium, Hatch hosted a tailgate that will feed up to 400 people with the help of a local barbecue restaurant. Hatch hopes to receive donations that will provide Journey of Hope, a local Utah organization that further improves the lives of girls, women, and LGBTQ+ members through case management, mentorship, and social advocacy. Family members and friends of Hatch will be in attendance at the tailgate and fans attending the game are also welcome.
The game against Columbia will mark the second game in four days between the two countries. On Saturday night, the United States dismantled Columbia 3-0 allowing the visitors just one shot the entire game. Fortunately, many USWNT players are accustomed to playing several games a week at the club level.
“A lot of us played in the NWSL where you play a lot of very close games,” Hatch said. “I think we’re really well prepared considering the number of movie sessions and meetings we’ve had.”
The USWNT and Columbia will kick off Rio Tinto Stadium on Tuesday, June 28 at 8 p.m.
The game will be available to stream via ESPN.