Story By: Erin Zollars
Photos By: Sol Tucker
They say good things come to those who are willing to wait, well tonight, for the Washington Spirit, their celebration was twice… one with a 2-1 victory over the OL Reign and the second was a 2021 NWSL Championship celebration. Rings, music and a banner, what could be better than the twofer to kick off the season with 10,177 fans in attendance.
The Spirit got things going early and recorded a total of goals in the game, one from Ashley Sanchez in the first half and Ashley Hatch in the second half, while Aubrey Kingsbury saved a penalty kick for the second straight week.
“We definitely have been looking forward to celebrating with the community,” forward Anna Heilferty said. “We didn’t really get that chance last year. This is what we love — to play in front of a big crowd and celebrate with the fans.”
After the 2-1 victory each of the members of the 2021 squad had the chance to get their Championship rings for the first time as well as the unveiling of the 2021 Champions Banner and then a post-game concert by Ella Mai.
Before the rings D.C Mayor presented the Spirit with a City Proclamation, deeming November 20th, Washington Spirt day in the city. She was greeted by a few boos from the crowd as she spoke about the importance of women’s soccer in the city and being a soccer mom herself how much it meant to her to finally celebrate the achievements of the Spirit in D.C
“It was excitement, everyone feeling like they finally get to celebrate this — and celebrate this with the fans,” Coach Kris Ward said. “Going down and talking to the fans afterward, I told them, ‘Look, we’re here for you guys.’ … That’s a bond we’re continuing to build and grow with our community of wanting to be the very best representatives we can.”