The Washington Spirit continued their busy offseason, signing 2021 NWSL Golden Boot winner Ashley Hatch to a contract extension. Additionally, the Spirit announced that mid-season additions Taylor Aylmer and Morgan Goff, whose previous deals ran through the end of this season, had signed new deals to keep them at the club.
Hatch, 26, is coming off of a career year. Her 10 regular season goals were a professional high, and she capped off her successful year with an extra time game-winner against North Carolina in the quarterfinals. Since coming to Washington, Hatch has lead the team in goalscoring in each of their traditional NWSL regular seasons, with her strike rate increasing each year. Across all competitions, Hatch has scored 23 goals in 79 appearances with the Spirit. Her new extension runs through the end of the 2023 season, with a club-held option year for 2024.
“We’re very excited to have Ashley as a part of the Spirit family. She is an admirable player on and off the field, and is truly only at the beginning of what will continue to be a stellar career,” said Spirit head coach Kris Ward in a team release. “We look forward to seeing her continued development as a part of this squad. Here’s to many more Golden Boot trophies in the future.”
“After the career year that Ashley had, it was only right to extend her contract,” added Spirit team president Ben Olsen. “Her work rate and ability to finish off plays was critical in our run to the cup and we are pleased she’s sticking around for a while.”
Aylmer and Goff both joined the team in early July on National Team Replacement deals as the Spirit navigated international absences during the Olympics. Both ended up signing full NWSL contracts with the team before the end of August. A two-way midfielder, Aylmer appeared in seven of the Spirit’s final 14 regular season matches, as well as all three of their playoff games (starting the win over the Courage). She scored once, but that goal — the game-winner against OL Reign on October 16 — was crucial for Washington’s late-season run of form. Once she signed, Aylmer was at least named to the substitutes’ bench for all but one game.
In a team release, Ward said “Taylor was a key piece of our midfield, especially in the second half of the 2021 season. Coming in as a national team replacement player can be very challenging, but she did an amazing job and we look forward to continuing to build this great team with her.”
Goff did not see the field for the Spirit in 2021, but is seen as solid, versatile depth at multiple positions of need. In training, the Spirit looked at Goff as an anchor midfielder as well as across the back four. Goff played in 101 games in a four-year collegiate career for the University of North Carolina, and spent 2020 playing professionally in Iceland with Þróttur Reykjavík, where she started 14 games.
“Morgan is a true professional in every sense of the word and we are excited to continue on this journey with her,” said Ward in a team release. “We look forward to what will surely be a great season in 2022 with her as a part of this squad.”
Both Aylmer and Goff signed deals that run through the 2022 season, with club-held option years for 2023. Re-signing them means the Spirit have only one contract situation to clarify, as Kelley O’Hara’s deal for 2021 was through the USWNT allocation system that is being discarded going forward.
Counting O’Hara (who is believed to be highly likely to return), that leaves the Spirit with 26 players under contract, plus five players selected in the recent NWSL College Draft who have not yet signed deals. NWSL rosters allow for a 28-player maximum, and after the Spirit traded $195,00 to obtain three draft picks, it stands to reason that more moves are coming in the near future.