Ashley Hatch feels at home in Washington, D.C.

In March, the former BYU soccer star signed a three-year extension with a 2027 option to stay with the Washington Spirit, killing any hopes of Hatch returning to Utah to play for the Utah Royals in the near future.

What Ashley Hatch said about her contract extension

The extension means Hatch will spend nearly a decade of her career playing in the nation’s capital after being traded to the team in 2018.

“I feel like D.C. already feels like home,” she said in an interview with the Deseret News. “I’m excited to continue to be a part of this community, obviously, be a part of the Spirit, and just spend more time here. I really love D.C. and all that it has to offer, and I still feel like there’s so much more that I need to explore outside of soccer, so I’m just excited to continue to live here in D.C.”

Hatch has become a fixture of the team that has undergone several leadership changes.

In her D.C. tenure, the Spirit have had three head coaches — soon to be four when Jonatan Giráldez joins the club this summer — and four interim head coaches.

“I’m super honored that they would want me to continue here. I think it means that they value me, and I think it’s awesome to be in a place where you feel valued. I think it’s super important, and so, I’m excited to continue to learn and grow with the club because it’s going I feel like in the right direction with the leadership that we have,” she said. “It means a lot that they trust me and value me.”

Hatch could have tested the waters of free agency, something that is still fairly new to the NWSL, but she elected to sign the extension because of her love for the Spirit and the stability it would provide.

“I think I valued the Spirit and being here more and having that, like, sense of stability and security over the free agency, so that’s kind of the thought process I had. I really like being a part of the Spirit, and I love the direction they’re going,” she said. “I truly feel like this is a place that I can continue to grow and develop as a player and as a person, and so to be able to lock in something with the Spirit for another three or four years, it was something that really excited me.”

Ashley Hatch’s work in the D.C. community

Since her first year in D.C., Hatch has been heavily involved with DC SCORES, a chapter of America SCORES, a national organization that supports young poet-athletes. She joined the organization’s board in August 2022.

“I’ve really grown to love the organization and everything they do and everything they stand for and all the good work they do for the youth in our D.C. community, and I think their mission of cultivating confidence in youth players through soccer, poetry and service learning is really, really cool,” she said.

Hatch has hosted adult soccer clinics as fundraisers and even gave a spoken-word performance at the organization’s One Night One Goal fundraising event last fall.

Last year alone, she raised $15,000 for the organization, according to DC SCORES.

“I love being around the kids and doing everything I can to help them,” she said. “I feel like in the position that I am in as a professional soccer player, it’s a really cool opportunity and responsibility I feel like to help inspire these kids and show them, especially the female poet-athletes, what they can do, and it’s really cool to see them get excited to see girls play soccer in a big stadium or on TV.”

Her extension will allow her to continue her work with DC SCORES and her own charitable organization, Boots From Pros, which collects and donates soccer equipment from professional soccer players to children in the D.C. area.

“That’s another reason why I’m super excited to continue to stay here in D.C. and continue to work with DC SCORES,” she said.

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Ashley Hatch on her career, her Olympic aspirations and her faith

How Ashley Hatch’s faith led to her love of service

Hatch believes growing up in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has “definitely” contributed to her eagerness to give back and serve her community.

While participating in the church’s activity days and young women’s programs, Hatch said she always looked forward to the service activities “because I loved serving others.”

“I’ve been serving with my church ever since I was a youth,” she said. “I feel like it’s just something that is like in my DNA, so to be able to continue to do that here in the capacity that I’ve been able to has been really, really fun.”

Hatch and the Spirit face the Houston Dash Friday at 6 p.m. MDT in their fourth match of the season.