Haley Hatcher, a sophomore mass communications major, is one of the new starters on the Ouachita women’s soccer team.
Hatcher is starting as forward this year, where she is expected to be the first player to have a chance to score.
“My goal as a forward,” Hatcher said, “is to get the ball is the net. We are the furthest up on offense and are expected to score when we get the chance.”
Hatcher started playing soccer when she 3 years old. Her father, Greg Hatcher, founded the Bluebird Soccer Club team and she became one of the premier players on the team. As she grew up learning how to play and love soccer, she found success in it.
“There were tough times, but I began to really love soccer and understand why it was important to my life,” she said.
Hatcher said there were long nights and early mornings learning the fundamentals of soccer, but she doesn’t regret a single one of them.
With the Bluebirds, Hatcher won 20 straight tournaments, a number-one U12 ranking and 6 state championships.
The Bluebirds are well known in the state of Arkansas for developing talented soccer players early on in their careers. With the Bluebirds, Hatcher thrived and gained significant experience against some of the best soccer players in the southeastern United States.
She said her experience with the Bluebirds gave her a competive edge over many of her competitors and challeged her to become an even better player each day she practiced.
From the Bluebirds, Hatcher joined her high school soccer team at Central Arkansas Christian Academy.
There she led the Mustangs to a state championship her senior season. As well as soccer, Hatcher also starred at CAC in basketball.
Hatcher gained All-State honors in both basketball and soccer three consecutive years with the Mustangs.
Following her senior season at CAC, Hatcher decided to try and play at Arkansas.
“It was a tough decision,” Hatcher said. “I was given the chance to play for the Razorbacks and didn’t want to regret not giving that opportunity a chance.”
There, she played in 14 games her first season. She scored her first goal against Missouri State and it was also the game-winning goal.
While Hatcher said she did enjoy the ability to play at the University of Arkansas, she said it wasn’t what she wanted out of the college experience.
“I’m glad I gave Arkansas a chance. It has given me a greater appreciation for Ouachita and how much I love it here.”
Hatcher said she also enjoys the ability to balance her soccer with her social life and grades.
“I love at Ouachita how connected athletes are to everyone else,” Hatcher said. “I love being able to play soccer but also have a social life and be able to balance grades with all of that.”
On this season, Hatcher says that she wants to work as hard as she can to make the team better.
“I want to play the hardest I can and do whatever the team needs me to do,” she said. “I want to be a team player and make the team the best it can be. Above all, I want to give glory to our team, our coaches, and most importantly, God.”
By playing her hardest, Hatcher believes that example will be the best form of leadership. She also said she wants to be even more of an encourager this year.
After college Hatcher said she wants to move on to something besides soccer. Hatcher is currently studying mass communications and said after college, it would be difficult for her to try something other than soccer.
“Soccer has always been a part of my life,” she said. “It will be challenging to move on, but I’m excited to try some new things.”
When asked, Hatcher said she is still considering coaching on the side.
“I definitely wouldn’t rule it out,” she said.