USWNT great Kelley O’Hara thinks that fellow national teamer Ashley Sanchez has a bright future ahead of her.
While Sanchez first joined the senior national team in a camp in 2016, she has long been a part of the USWNT system. She spent time on the U14, U15, U17 and U20 teams before finally being called up for the first time in 2021.
She says that the first camp she experienced in 2016 was a wake-up call.
“When I got there and I realized I was nowhere near ready to be there, I think it instilled in me that I needed to work harder,” Sanchez said on the latest episode of “The Journey.”
Since then, she’s had 17 caps for the senior team, notching three goals in that time.
The skills training that her parents forced her to go to as a kid has only helped as she’s navigated her professional and international careers.
“It’s very apparent now, because she’s very comfortable with the ball at her foot, very confident,” says fellow Washington Spirit and USWNT teammate O’Hara.
“You could tell quickly that she was a good player, but obviously still had a ways to go to be at the senior level,” she continues. “But again, I could have never walked into a camp at that age.
“Looking back, knowing that’s the first time that I met her and played with her, fast forward six years and now I’ve played on the national team with her, I’ve won an NWSL championship with her, and she’s a player that I think has a really bright future and has already done some big things.”
Sanchez also attributes her time with the Spirit as helping in the development of her game.
“When I went professional and was on the Spirit and there was a lot of good players around me,” she says. “I realized how much faster it was and I think that’s been the biggest growth I’ve had in the past couple of years.”
“Seeing Sanchez grow in her dedication to being a professional, I think is a big reason that she’s been able to go from wanting to make the national team to getting called in, to getting her first cap, her first goal,” says O’Hara. “As a player, you’ve gotta decide, like, who do I want to be, what do I want to become. And I think that’s something that she’s doing right now.”