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Ashley Sanchez ‘shocked and heartbroken’ by Washington Spirit trade

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Oct 6, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington Spirit forward Ashley Sanchez (10) dribbles the ball against OL Reign at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports

The most surprising trade of NWSL Draft night saw Washington Spirit midfielder Ashley Sanchez get sent to the North Carolina Courage in exchange for the No. 5 pick and $250,000 in allocation money.

The trade came less than three hours after the Spirit swapped defender Sam Staab for the third overall pick from the Chicago Red Stars.

Sanchez had been with the Spirit ever since they drafted her in 2020. This past summer, she was named to the USWNT’s 2023 World Cup roster.

The Spirit drafted defensive midfielder Hal Hershfelt from Clemson with the 5th pick, and midfielder Croix Bethune from Georgia with the third.

In a post on social media, Sanchez wrote that she was “shocked and heartbroken” to be leaving the Spirit.

“Shocked and heartbroken to be leaving such a special place,” she wrote. “D.C. will always feel like home to me. Thank you to the fans and my teammates for the best years of my life. Truly don’t have the words to describe the gratitude I have, thank you a million.

“@thenccourage thank you for this opportunity, excited to get started”

Sanchez was especially close with Spirit and USWNT teammate Trinity Rodman, who took to social media to say that the trade “hits the soul.”

“Me and u became friends so quick it was the easiest friendship of my life,” Rodman wrote. “Together and separately we’ve gone thru the ups and downs of family, friends, and soccer. Don’t get me started on us both going thru our ‘depressed wrecks’ faze while using each others shoulder to cry on and climb on to still perform everyday for club, country, and ourselves.

“Anyway this probably seems very dramatic but when u spend every second of everyday w one human u realize how much they’ve changed ur life. … I’m gonna miss u like crazy, but i know god has set u up for the best thing he has instore.”

In response, Sanchez wrote “there is no me without you.”

“This is going to hurt for a long time,” she continued. “I love you forever best friend, wouldn’t change our friendship for the world.”