SANDY, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – The U.S. Women’s National Team returns to Rio Tinto Stadium to take on Colombia in an international friendly in two weeks, and former BYU star Ashley Hatch can’t wait.

“Honestly, I’m so excited,” Hatch said. “I dreamt of a day when I get to come back with the National Team and play at Rio Tinto. It’s a really special place. That’s where I got my first cap ever. So, it’s kind of cool to see things come full circle.”

While she was at BYU in 2016, Hatch did get invited to training camp and did a chance to play with the national team. But this time is different. Now a star with the Washington Spirit of the National Women’s Soccer League, Hatch won the Golden Boot award in 2021, leading the entire NWSL in goals with 11. She already has scored four times in eight appearances with the National Team, and hopes to become a mainstay on the team.

“I think it’s every little girl’s dream to play for the U.S. Women’s National Team,” she said. “So yes, it’s definitely been a dream of mine. I didn’t necessarily know how to get there. Obviously I want to continue to score goals, help the team in the attack, and show that I can execute a lot of things that they’ve been asking me to execute.”

Hatch grew up watching players like Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Becky Sauerbrunn win World Cup titles for the USWNT. Now, she gets to play with them.

“Like you said, I’ve watch these players growing up,” Hatch said. “I idolized them. I really enjoyed cheering them on. Now I’m going to be able to step on the field with them. So it’s going to be a really unique experience and I’m really excited for it.”

Hatch scored 47 goals at BYU from 2013-2016, and said her time in Provo really helped her get ready for soccer at the next level.

“It was a small glimpse into the professional world was like with a stadium packed with fans,” said Hatch, who was the second overall pick in the 2017 NWSL Draft. “And then also just playing on a competitive soccer team and developing as a player. So it helped me a ton.”

Hatch is also using her return to Utah to help. She’s hosting a tailgate party the date of the game with Journey of Hope, an organization that empowers women who have suffered abuse.

“I just decided it would be a good opportunity to raise awareness for women in the area who may be suffering from domestic violence or abuse,” Hatch said. “Journey of Hope helps a lot of women from all walks of life. I think it’s really important to create awareness for women out there to know that there are resources for them to reach out to if they’re struggling with anything or need help with anything.”

The United States and Colombia will play at 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, June 28th at Rio Tinto Stadium.