Ashley Hatch is using her 2023 World Cup snub as motivation to make an even bigger comeback to the U.S. women’s national team.
Despite her steady presence on the squad for the last two years, Hatch did not make the cut for the 23-player tournament roster. The 28-year-old forward made her snub look even more surprising during the NWSL Challenge Cup, where she thrived with the Washington Spirit.
On the latest episode of the “Snacks” podcast, Hatch said her snub is “definitely” pushing her to return to the USWNT better than ever. But she also acknowledged the difficulty of navigating the emotions that came with the snub — especially since she never got a detailed explanation as to why she did not make the team from former head coach Vlatko Andonovski or his coaching staff.
“The hard part for me is, I didn’t get a ton of closure or [a] specific reason of why I didn’t make it,” she said. “And so I feel like that’s hard to grasp onto this one thing that I know I need to do better to be able to make it.”
As a forward, “you need to score goals,” Hatch knows. So that is an area she’s continuing “to try and be be better at” – and succeeding. She has nine in the NWSL regular season, second in the league behind Sophia Smith.
Even before the World Cup, though, she could count herself as one of the few USWNT forwards that had scored a goal in 2023. Overall, she has five international goals through 19 appearances.
“Snacks” co-host Lynn Williams, who found herself in a similar position to Hatch ahead of the 2019 World Cup, offered up some advice as Hatch looks to put her snub in perspective.
“I had to take a step back and recognize that it’s a subjective opinion and it’s always going to be subjective,” Williams said. “That doesn’t reflect me as a player. I could be the best Lynn Williams I can possibly be, scoring a billion goals, and if a coach doesn’t see me in the group, I just can’t change that.
“It’s not overnight because you’re still devastated, but I’m just going to be the best Lynn Williams I can be. You can only be the best Ashley Hatch you can possibly be and if the coach doesn’t see that then the coach doesn’t see that.”
As Hatch processes her emotions, she is immersing herself in the Spirit’s playoff hunt, but she still feels the sting.
“It is hard when you feel like you did everything you were asked to do and then you still don’t make it,” Hatch conceded. “So I feel like I’m still going through the process of [that] becoming a motivator. Right now, in the spot that I’m at right now, it still hurts a lot.”