The National Women’s Soccer League expansion team is the first women’s professional soccer team in our city since 2003 (miss you, San Diego Spirit). The team kicks off its inaugural season later this month. For now, let’s hit the pitch + get to know our new home team.
💪 The powerhouse players
OK, admittedly starstruck (I know, keep it cool) because this Wave FC roster (as of March 15) is unreal:
⚽ Forwards: Two-time World Cup Champion + Olympic gold medalist Alex Morgan; Amirah Ali; Jodie Taylor; Katie Johnson; Makenzy Doniak; Marleen Schimmer; Sofia Jakobsson.
⚽ Defenders: US international + World Cup winner Abby Dahlkemper; 2021 NWSL champ Tegan McGrady; Christen Westphal; Kaleigh Riehl; Kayla Bruster; Mia Gyau; 2022 NWSL No. 1 draft pick Naomi Girma; Taylor Hansen.
⚽ Midfielders: Belle Briede; Emily van Egmond; Kelsey Turnbow; Kristen McNabb; Sydney Pulver; Taylor Kornieck; Taylor Porter.
⚽ Goalkeepers: Kailen Sheridan; Melissa Lowder; Carly Telford.
The team trains under head coach Casey Stoney (former Manchester United Women’s manager), assistant coaches Rich Gunney + Victoria Boardman, and goalkeeper coach Louis Hunt. It’s owned by businessman Ron Burkle and managed by former US women’s national coach Jill Ellis.
🌇 The team’s connection to San Diego
The Wave’s mission: “Build a world class home for players and fans that will be loved locally and respected globally.”
We can certainly get behind that.
🥅 When + where can I watch the Wave?
University of San Diego’s Torero Stadium is the club’s temporary home through August. The first home matches are during the NWSL Challenge Cup on Sat., March 26, Sat., April 2, and Sat. April 23. Tickets are on sale now.
In September, they’ll begin playing at their permanent home — the brand-new, soon-to-be-completed, 35,000-seat Snapdragon Stadium in Mission Valley.
📣 What the players + coaches are saying:
When the Wave unveiled its city-centric crest in December, Alex Morgan was quick to build up her team and set high expectations, saying: “I think we want to win a championship.”
After the club’s first training session last month, Morgan said the “energy was really high and positive.”
“It was a historic day for our club. It was incredible to have the players in the building and meeting our staff,” head coach Casey Stoney said after that first session. “It has been months of preparation, but the best part was getting out on the grass and working with the players, seeing the energy, the positivity and sending the message that we are going to create something very special here.”
Defender Naomi Girma said being part of the expansion team “feels like the start of something incredible.”
“You can feel the excitement from everyone, the staff and players, and you know everyone feels like they’re part of something special,” Girma added.
“We’re all here from one common goal and that’s to be the best team in the league and I think it shows on the field,” said forward Amirah Ali.
BTW: The team’s first NWSL Challenge Cup match is an away game on Sat., March 19, against Angel City FC. The teams will play at 6 p.m. at Titan Stadium at California State Fullerton. Here’s the full Challenge Cup schedule.