Home Womens boots San Diego Wave FC looking to make NWSL history; Alex Morgan delighted with inaugural season returns

San Diego Wave FC looking to make NWSL history; Alex Morgan delighted with inaugural season returns

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The San Diego Wave FC is in the home stretch of its inaugural season and is continuing the story along the way. The 2022 National Women’s Soccer League regular season is just five weeks away, and the California expansion team could make history as the first team to make the playoffs in its inaugural season.

San Diego’s arrival in the NWSL came just over a year ago when the league and franchise announced their expansion in June 2021. The organization, owned by Ron Burkle, introduced Jill Ellis, two a time FIFA Women’s World Cup winner and former head coach of the United States Women’s National Team. club president.

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With less than a year to prepare for his first season, Ellis quickly got to work building the club’s front office, hiring former USWNT team administrator Molly Downtain as general manager and former England women’s national team player Casey Stoney as head coach.

A quick start in the life of NWSL

The club built its roster through off-season trades, the expansion draft, the 2022 NWSL Draft, and player acquisition. One of the biggest player signings was the arrival of USWNT forward Alex Morgan. For Morgan, San Diego is his third NWSL club in the league’s decade-long existence, and it’s another occasion where Morgan has been part of the club that built its identity from the ground up.

“Honestly, it’s really exciting and it brings back a lot of youthful energy. [for] me,” Morgan told CBS Sports.

“As, [our] the success on the pitch and just seeing the ambitions of this club makes me want to represent this club and the city so proudly. It was really fun to build something from scratch and see what the Wave does in such a short time. It just makes me really excited for the future – in the second, third and fourth year, etc. – if that’s what we can accomplish in the first year. »

The Wave caused a stir at the start of this year, going on an incredible run, losing just two games in their first ten games of the season. Morgan helped the team off to a strong start, scoring 11 goals before leaving to take part in the World Cup qualifiers in July. She is still leading for the 2022 NWSL Golden Boot with 13 goals.

USWNT forward Sophia Smith and rookie Diana Ordoñez are both trailing Morgan in the Golden Boot race with 11 goals apiece. If Morgan can maintain his scoring pace and win the individual award, it would be the first NWSL golden boot of his career. She scored her 13th goal in a recent win over Portland Thorns, and Stoney believes the 33-year-old striker is improving with age.

“She’s happy. It’s the most consistent she’s played at a club. When you gain consistency and momentum, it helps your performance. She’s settled, her family is in San Diego, she has support around She’s not treated any differently than any other player in our environment, and I believe in that,” Stoney told the media after Saturday’s 2-0 win over the Portland Thorns, with Morgan finding the net. .

“She was exceptional, on and off the pitch. Her leadership in and around the environment, the way she carried herself on the pitch are some of the best I’ve seen in her league career. It just keeps getting better. It’s a bit of good wine right now, isn’t it?”

Morgan’s current league form propelled her to the national team earlier this year and helped the USWNT win the Concacaf W Championship in July, converting the winning penalty against Canada. The national team clinched their place in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2024 Olympics with the tournament victory. Morgan has also been named to the USWNT roster for the upcoming September friendlies against Nigeria.

Morgan has been a marquee player since the founding of the NWSL in 2012 and was previously part of longtime clubs Portland Thorns and Orlando Pride. Now on his third team in the league and with his biggest scoring season yet in the NWSL, Morgan is looking forward to making more history with the wave as they prepare to move from the University’s Torero Stadium. from San Diego to their new facility, Snapdragon Stadium.

“Some of the challenges of any expansion team, like, you have limited resources when it comes to gathering players for the team, and figuring that out as you go,” Morgan said of the challenges of play at a new club.

“We played at Torero Stadium which is great. He held 6,000 [fans], but we shared it. We shared a field with a lot of teams… But you know, it’s just by trying to speed things up that 10-year-old teams have an advantage over us in the NWSL in less than a year. So I’m very proud to be part of a club that tries to do the maximum in the first year, and that’s why I think September 17 is going to be really exciting for us, and I feel like this club does it well. .”

History on the horizon

San Diego Wave FC will likely break the NWSL’s all-time attendance record for a regular season game after selling more than 27,000 tickets for their game against Angel City FC on September 17 at Snapdragon Stadium. The venue is scheduled to open on September 3 and is located on San Diego State University’s Mission Valley campus.

The franchise is set to sell the new stadium for 32,000 and would break the previous record of 25,218 set by Portland Thorns FC against North Carolina Courage at Providence Park. It will be a massive benchmark for the franchise which still establishes its roots in the NWSL.

Connection with the SD community

In its early days, the organization brought together a female-led franchise that tried to emphasize player well-being and a desire to build bridges within the greater San Diego community. As the club unveiled its new name and crest, it announced the full name of the San Diego Wave Fútbol Club, in honor of the community’s large Hispanic population.

The team hosted themed nights at their games in an effort to connect with the San Diego community, starting with their Pride Night, through to their most recent event, a Hispanic Heritage Night, honoring the influential Hispanic leaders in the San Diego community and presenting public speeches. in Spanish and English.

We just had a Hispanic Heritage night, and being part of those themed nights is always great because it taps into the community in a way that not only we should but need as a club representing San Diego . If we represent the city, we have to represent everything the city offers,” Morgan said.

The club also had live Mariachi music throughout, which Morgan said needs to be played at more “one thousand percent” NWSL matches. Attending the wave’s first-ever Hispanic Heritage Night was special for Morgan, who has a family of Mexican descent through her husband Servando Carrasco. The couple have been married since 2014. They have a daughter, Charlie Elena Carrasco.

“We’re so close to Mexico, my husband grew up in Tijuana and my daughter is half-Mexican. So to be around a lot of my family from Mexico, it’s great to be able to honor each other. night at the game. Seeing even little things, like an all-female mariachi band, is really cool. Like, I love seeing that. So, we need to continue to honor the great people of San Diego and the diversity that this city has.”

The franchise continues to chase history in multiple ways, whether in on-field results or community ties. The Wave are currently in first place in the league standings with 31 points and are firmly in the NWSL Shield race with just four games remaining on their schedule. The team will face Washington Spirit on the road at Audi Field in Washington, DC on September 10.