Lately, the Washington Spirit have grabbed every headline. From positive things that are associated with the organization, to the tumultuous time the team has endured as of late. In September, the Spirit dismissed their long-time coach Richie Burke due to inappropriate behavior that resulted in harassment and abuse towards the players. To make matters worse, the owner of the Washington Spirit was also involved in showing nepotism and retaliatory behavior, causing him to put the team for sale as of October 14.
Despite all this controversy, the team has risen from the ashes thanks to the players who continued to persevere despite the toxic environment that they were surrounded with. The reason for that resilience can be attributed to their leader Ashley Hatch who is having an amazing season. Not only is she the emotional and vocal leader of the team but also her leadership on the pitch has the Spirit in contention to win the NWSL Playoffs. This year an outcome that may have seemed impossible with the circumstances they have faced. Hatch leads her team with 11 goals this year as well as the game-winning goal in extra time in minute 113 versus NWSL powerhouse the North Carolina Courage.
Hatch is not the only player that is turning in great performances each week; the Spirit also touts 19-year-old Trinity Rodman the talented youngster and daughter of NBA legend Dennis Rodman. Rodman’s electric runs and energy on the pitch are only matched by her clinical finishing. This team is a reminder to neutral fans and Spirit fans alike and whoever watches them just how much is possible when you cast your differences aside, and play for the love of the game; no one expected this team to be in contention except maybe the players themselves. Hatch, Rodman, and the Spirit face the OL Reign in their semi-final matchup on the 14, and if their team plays so far is any indication of how the result might sway it is safe to assume that this team would be a worthy champion.