Pairs of sisters compete at home and on BYU soccer field

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Forward Ashley Hatch takes a shot against Utah State on Sept. 10. Ashley and her sister Brianna play together on the BYU women’s soccer team. (Ari Davis)

Some sisters bond by sharing clothes or doing each other’s hair. Others go shopping or have chick flick marathons. And some play sports together. Two sister duos continue the family tradition of BYU women’s soccer.

Ashley and Brianna Hatch play together on the top 10 collegiate soccer team while Stephanie Ringwood follows in the footsteps of her older sister, Jessica Ringwood Apo.

Hatching a dynamic chemistry

The Hatch sisters took dance lessons as young girls, but Ashley was the first to switch to soccer. She claims her sister had more talent as a dancer and stuck with it longer, but Brianna said she just wanted to be like her older sister. Brianna is two years younger and has spent most of her life playing on Ashley’s team.

They spent most days practicing drills and competing one-on-one at the park across the street from their home growing up.

“(We were) super competitive with each other when we would practice together by ourselves,” Ashley said. “And sometimes we’d have to stop because we’d get mad.”

Brianna said they always tried to show off to their dad who was better.

The sisterly competition became motivation to improve as the duo created a dynamic chemistry. Whenever the girls played coed indoor soccer and captains picked teams, the Hatches claimed to be a “package deal.”

Both sisters are quick to praise each other when one succeeds, as well as encourage when one is disappointed. Whenever Brianna scored, Ashley would respond with, “And she’s two years younger.”

Likewise, Brianna recalled saying, “That’s my sister. I’m related to her.”

To which Ashley would respond with friendly banter, “(She’s) trying to take the glory.”

Ashley left for BYU in 2013 and the girls have picked up where they left off now that Brianna has joined the team. They roomed together during the preseason this summer.

“We’ve been separated for two years and now that we’ve gotten back together we’ve bonded back quickly,” Brianna said. “And every minute, we just get closer. It’s fun.”

The Hatch sisters are excited to wear the same jersey again after Ashley left to play for BYU in 2013. (Photo courtesy of Chris Watkins)
The Hatch sisters pose with their jerseys in the BYU soccer field. They said they are excited to wear the same jersey again after Ashley came to play for BYU in 2013. (Chris Watkins)

Ashley said her favorite thing about playing college soccer with her sister was showing Brianna around and introducing her to some of the team benefits, such as receiving new cleats. Brianna said she has enjoyed following Ashley’s lead because she paved the way for her.

“One of the best moments so far was at picture day, having her wear the same jersey and being able to take a picture together was pretty special,” Ashley said.

In addition to the great things that come with playing in her career at BYU so far, forward Ashley holds the record for career starts with 49 straight starts, 26 career goals and 14 career assists, and has been named a Hermann Trophy candidate.

“We’re both different players, we both have different strengths and weaknesses,” Ashley said.

Ringwoods living the dream

BYU defender Stephanie follows in the footsteps of her older sister Jessica, who played from 2009 to 2012. During her senior year at BYU, Jessica was named to the 2012 National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-America Second Team.

Jessica now lives in Orem with her husband, but remains connected to the program through her sister. She comes to all of the home games and reminisces about her senior year — BYU was ranked as high as No. 2 in 2012 and ended the season at No. 5.

Growing up, Stephanie and Jessica didn’t typically play on the same team because Jessica is five years older. The sisters often played indoor soccer together or pick-up soccer in their yard, sometimes with their brothers as well. Stephanie loved playing against Jessica’s high level of play.

Stephanie was 12 years old when Jessica committed to BYU. The two of them shared their first summer BYU soccer camp experience as roommates. It was then Stephanie knew she wanted play college soccer at BYU.

“I call it my childhood dream,” Stephanie said.

Stephanie observed her sister’s love of playing for BYU and the fun she had, increasing her desire to do the same.

Jessica Ringwood Apo prepares to kick the ball in BYU's 5-1 victory over Cal Poly on Sept. 3, 2012. Ringwood Apo's younger sister Stephanie now plays for BYU. (Universe Archive)
Jessica Ringwood Apo prepares to kick the ball in BYU’s 5-1 victory over Cal Poly on Sept. 3, 2012. Ringwood Apo’s younger sister Stephanie now plays for BYU. (Universe Archive)

She also saw the realities of college soccer while still playing high school ball. Stephanie modeled her goals and decisions off her sister’s example.

“People think it’s this dream that you get to live,” Stephanie said. “They never see the difficult part of it. For me, I was able to see both sides — the thrill of it and also how much dedication it actually takes.”

Because Jessica was playing for BYU, Stephanie thought her chances of also playing were slim.

Stephanie said she remembers receiving a phone call from Head Coach Jennifer Rockwood about coming to play for BYU.

For Stephanie, the connection she and Jessica share as BYU soccer players will live on.

“We both got to live our dream of playing college soccer,” Stephanie said. “It’s cool to me that we both got to experience that and we’ll always have that memory of it.”

Both Jessica and Stephanie came to BYU playing one position but switched to another — Jessica played forward but became a midfielder while Stephanie played midfield and became a center back defender. Jessica said she enjoys watching Stephanie succeed at her new position this season.

“We’re both pretty versatile,” Jessica said. “We both kind of have similar styles of play, just playing more simple and trying to connect.”

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