NWSL offseason: 4 biggest questions that need to be answered

The page has been turned. Say goodbye to a 12-team league. 14 here we come. Before the offseason goes full steam ahead in December, here are four lingering questions.

2023 NWSL Championship - Media Day
2023 NWSL Championship - Media Day / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages
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3. Is Ashley Hatch the Royals next move via trade despite her contract in Washington?

As of the time of writing, Kelly Cousin's Utah Royals have locked up five players for the upcoming campaign. Two of which have played at Brigham Young University. Now, this is purely speculation, but Washington Spirit forward Ashley Hatch could be on the Royals' radar.

Given its location, it makes a whole lot of sense that the club is targeting players who once called the state home at some point. Utah is frankly not a very attractive market. While bringing in Mikayla Cluff, and Kaleigh Riehl are impactful moves in their own right, dealing for a former NWSL Golden Boot winner would represent that official, "Utah is back" moment.

Hatch has spoke about the return of the Royals ahead of the USWNT friendly against Colombia.

"“I think it’s huge. I think Utah is a great state for soccer, especially for youth soccer. I think it’s really important for the youth, specifically the female soccer players, to be able to come and watch a professional team in their state, and so I’m really excited to have the Utah Royals back.”"

Ashley Hatch

There has been no connection with the new expansion side to the 28-year-old due to Washington Spirit exercising its the 2024 option on the forward. The ex-No. 2 overall selection in the 2017 College Draft looks to be all-in on helping the Spirit bounce back. Why wouldn't she be? Trinity Rodman and Ashley Sanchez are a duo that make her job that much easier.

Football is a business though. If Utah was interested, I don't think there would much of a hesitation from Hatch. With two players already moving back to the state in which they competed collegiately, it is worth asking if there is the potential of another to be added to that list.