Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Logo for The Western Front

Asia Hardin plays most minutes by WWU position player since 1998

Hardin led the Vikings in minutes each of her first two seasons

Western Washington University’s Asia Hardin hugs Gracen Cosby after her goal against Central Washington University on Oct. 21, 2023 in Ellensburg, Wash. The Vikings won the game 4-0. // Photo courtesy of Jacob Thompson/CWU

In just two years, Western Washington University’s Asia Hardin has become a leader on the women’s soccer team.

Hardin, a sophomore from West Linn, Oregon, started in all 21 games this season, playing a team-leading 1,875 minutes. 

Last year as a true freshman, Hardin started in all but one game, playing every minute of those 24 games. That put her at 2,160 minutes played, leading the team and achieving the most minutes played by a Western position player during the NCAA era since 1998.

“I honestly don't really think about the number of minutes too much, it's more of just helping my team be successful and contributing to that,” Hardin said. “Obviously, I play center back and it's a really special position in the way that I can play a full 90 minutes every game.”


Western Washington University’s Asia Hardin poses for a picture at media day on Aug. 17, 2023. Hardin is a center back starter for the women’s soccer team. // Photo courtesy of Radley Muller Photography/WWU Athletics

Playing center back allowed Hardin to create a special bond with senior goalie Claire Henninger. Hardin is part of the last line of defense protecting Henninger from the other team putting a shot in the goal.

“She is a disciplined defender who is constantly reading the game and making adjustments,” Henninger said. “When she's on the ball I can relax a bit knowing that she'll take good care of it.”

Hardin has played defense for her high school, club and now collegiate teams. When the center back position opened up, Western Head Coach Travis Connell gave her a chance — an opportunity she took full advantage of. 

“One of the reasons I was so successful these first two seasons is because of Katie Watt, who is my center back partner, and the best center back I've ever played with,” Hardin said. “When I came in my freshman year, she helped me adapt to our team, and she's the reason why I can do what I do.”

Watt, a senior, has played with Hardin these past two years and enjoyed every second of it. 

“I have been fortunate enough to play next to someone who I can always trust and rely on,” Watt said. “She has been one of my favorite people to work with on the field, as we just understand and get one another.”

Leading the team in minutes in her first two seasons, Hardin has demonstrated her leadership in many ways.

“I think a lot of the things that Asia naturally does – her work ethic, focus and the way she communicates – make her someone whom others naturally look to as an example,” Henninger said. “When Asia came onto the team, she took everything seriously from the beginning and had no problem instructing players four years older than her.”


Western Washington University’s Asia Hardin on Sept. 9, 2023 against Cal State University Los Angeles at Robert S. Harrington Field in Bellingham, Wash. The Vikings won the game 1-0. // Photo courtesy of WWU Athletics

Hardin uses every minute of every game to learn and adapt to become a better player. She wants to improve every game, not just for herself, but for her teammates too.

“Sports teammates are basically forced best friends, and I couldn't be more grateful because there's no friendship you can compare to a teammate,” Hardin said. “My goal is that one day I can be a captain for the WWU women's soccer team.”

Hardin’s work on the field has resulted in several achievements including starting on the 2022 DII NCAA championship team, a 2022 Honorable Mention All-GNAC selection and being named a 2023 First Team All-GNAC defender.

While Hardin just completed her second year with the Vikings, she has already accomplished a lot. Fans can expect consistent play as well as even greater leadership as Hardin develops as a veteran on the team.

Madi Tessem

Madi Tessem is a sports reporter for The Front this quarter. She is a PR major and communications minor. In her free time she likes to read, watch sports and hangout with her cat. You can reach her at 

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Western Front