Ashley Hatch has talked up the “good atmosphere” and “lots of laughs” in the USWNT camp as a positive response is offered to criticism from Carli Lloyd, who had claimed she “hated” being part of a squad more concerned with “brand” than results.
A modern-day great – one with 316 caps to her name – has suggested that the United States women’s team rather lost its way towards the end of her remarkable career, with the “worst” culture she had seen across 16 years taking hold.
Hatch has countered those comments by pointing out that there is plenty of positivity in a harmonious squad at present, with everyone involved in Vlatko Andonovski’s ranks prepared to work hard for the cause.
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What has been said?
Washington Spirit forward Hatch, who has registered three goals through six appearances for her country, has told The Guardian of being involved with the USWNT: “It’s a good atmosphere. It’s very serious, because we all take our jobs and camp and playing for the national team very seriously.
“Whenever we do have any free time, you usually hear lots of laughs.
“We’re all leaders, by the way we play.”
What did Lloyd say?
Two-time World Cup winner Lloyd recently claimed that the mood in the U.S. squad changed once they became more successful and players gained greater recognition in the global game.
She told the ‘Hope Solo Speaks’ podcast: “Even within our squad, the culture has changed.
“It was really tough and challenging to play these last several years. To be quite honest, I hated it. It wasn't fun going in. It was only for love of the game, really, for me.
“I wanted to win, and I wanted to help the team, but the culture within the team was the worst I’d ever seen it. I'm hoping that the future is bright and some things change.”
She added: “In 2015, winning a World Cup obviously put us on a really big, big stage, and endorsements started coming, and the spotlight started coming, and I just saw a shift in people’s mindsets.
“It became more about 'what can I do to build my brand off the field? What can I do to get an endorsement deal' and less about what we have to do when we step in between those lines.”
The bigger picture
While Lloyd had her issues with the USWNT ranks, Hatch claims everyone involved with the squad right now – on the back of a new collective agreement and legal case victory that will deliver equal pay across the men’s and women’s games – is pulling in the same direction ahead of another bid for World Cup glory in 2023.
She said: “Every game, from the minute the whistle blows, we want to be super overwhelming for the other team.
“Not let them have any chance on the ball. Quick regains, quick counter-attack, quick transition. Just an in-your-face style of soccer that is really fun to be a part of.”