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  • Writer's pictureWomen's Sports Exchange

A look into San Diego Wave FC

Who are they?

San Diego Wave FC is one of two new teams joining the NWSL for the upcoming season. Their mission statement, directly from their website, states, “San Diego has long been one of America’s great footballing cities, with a rich history in the sport, from its youth through professional ranks. Wave FC is honored to build on this strong foundation and bring San Diego soccer to the world stage. Our goal on the field — to consistently compete for championships — will be matched by our desire to unite and serve San Diego. We are committed to positively impact the sport of soccer, empower women, and build community through this beautiful game”

The team's colors are Blue, Pink, and Orange which are all represented in the crest showing a soccer ball over the ocean, something directly tied to San Diego.

Feature graphic courtesy @SanDiegoWaveFC / Twitter

They are led by Head Coach Casey Stoney. Stoney is a former football player who played for Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool.She also had over 100 appearances for England’s Women's National Team and had a number of coaching jobs with the most recent being Manchester United. While Coaching Manchester United, Stoney led them to win the FA Women’s Championship in the 20018-2019 season.

They have a solid group of technical staff to work alongside Casey Stoney. first assistant coach Rich Gunny, who joined from Portland Thorns, and second assistant Victoria Boardman. Louis Hunt takes over as goalkeeper coach. Michael Poma, head of analytics, Lorna Harkins, mental wellbeing and performance coach, Buddy Huttanus, head of sport science, Bailey Torrez, head of medical, Alex Bosse, head of equipment and Lizzy Rivas, team administrator. Everyone on staff is dedicated to making San Diego even more of a soccer city, and a womens soccer city at that.

The president of the club, Jill Ellis, also has a history of coaching, having led the USWNT to two back to back world cup wins. Ellis has spoken about wanting to have more women in positions that have traditionally not been aligned for them.

San Diego Wave has a soccer city backing them, an incredible team of staff, and a lot of potential going into this NWSL season.

Meet the Players

San Diego Wave currently has 34 players on their preseason roster. They have a lot of experience in players like goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan who recently won gold with Canada at the Olympics. Sheridan was drafted from Clemson in 2017 and played her entire career with Gotham FC being an integral part of their defense.

Carly Telford, another goalkeeper, who isn’t in camp yet but is a valuable asset from playing with Chelsea, and well as the Lionesses.

Along with solid goalkeepers, they are building a reliable backline with Abby Dahlkemper who recently played in the UWCL with Manchester City before coming back to the NWSL where she played at North Carolina, Houston Dash, and will now be a leading factor for San Diego.

Emily van Egmond, a midfielder, has a lot of experience playing for both club and internationally. Throughout her senior career she has played on nineteen different teams, some of them being Orlando Pride, Wolfsburg, Frankfurt, Seattle Reign, Chicago Red Stars, and Newcastle Jets. She won the WPSL championship with Western New York in 201, and the championship with Melbourne City in their 2019-2020 season.

Jodie Taylor, a forward, has played for 17 different teams some of them including Tranmere Rovers where she scored 29 goals in 30 appearances, Ottawa Fury where she scored 17 goals in 16 appearances, as well as Portland, Arsenal, OL Reign, Lyon, and most recently Orlando. Taylor also won the UWCL with Lyon and was named UEFA women’s Championship Golden Boot winner in 2017.

Sofia Jakobsson has played for a lot of big teams like Chelsea, Montpellier where she had 91 appearances and 50 goals, Real Madrid, and most recently Bayern Munich. She also has 134 appearances for the Swedish national team. She got two third place finishes in the 2011 and 2019 World Cup with Sweden, and won a silver medal in the Rio and Tokyo Olympics.

San Diego also has a number of young players and rookies like Naomi Girma who was the overall first round pick in the 2022 college draft. She had a stellar career at Stanford where she captained the team from 2019-2021. Girma is also a two time Mac Hermann Trophy semifinalist, an NCAA champion, and has received two call ups to the USWNT full team.

Another notable name on the roster who is listed as a Non Roster Invitee is Mana Shim. Shim recently came out alongside Sinead Farrelly about abuse they faced in the NWSL. Shim retired from professional soccer in 2019 where she had 8 appearances with the Houston Dash. She is currently in law school but according to Alex Morgan, who San Diego acquired in a trade with Orlando, “she has unfinished business”.

Tegan McGrady who recently won the NWSL Championship with the Washington Spirit was a huge off season trade for the Spirit. McGrady, a San Jose native, is excited to be heading home to California and will be key to the San Diego backline.

Kaleigh Riehl, Taylor Kornieck, Katie Johnson, and Makenzy Doniak were all acquired in trades from their prior teams, Riehl being Louisville, Kornieck from Orlando, and Johnson and Doniak big pieces in a trade from Chicago.

Alongside them, there is Kelsey Turnbow and Amirah Ali, who were both drafted in 2021 but opted to take their 5th year for college. Ali was traded to San Diego from Portland during the draft for immunity for their current roster. Sydney Pulver and Belle Briede were 2022 draftees who are excited to begin their professional career with this fresh team.

Feature graphic courtesy @SanDiegoWaveFC / Twitter

What do I want to see?

San Diego’s veteran players will have to step up for the team to do well and be successful in their first season. San Diego has a lot of talent and experience on their inaugural roster which sets them up to do well, however, they have a new coach who has never coached in the NWSL and has tactics that may not work in the league. Along with that, it is a very young roster so there will be heavy reliance on rookies to step up big.

To see a player like Mana Shim come back and control the midfield as a leader would be incredible to see for longterm NWSL fans. Amirah Ali has a wonderful season with Rutgers, helping lead them to the final four of the College Cup so to see her lead the front line alongside a player like Katie Johnson who has grown into herself a lot more would be a sight to see. A backline featuring Naomi Girma and Tegan McGrady is one to look out for because they would be a very good duo.

A lot of people have questioned the midfield that head coach Stoney is building since her traditional style of play is much more defensive, but San Diego acquired a set of solid young midfielders in the draft. Ultimately, from the look of things, some people may end up playing out of position but at the end of the day Stoney is building a reliable team.

Full Preseason Roster:

2022 San Diego Wave FC Preseason Roster:

GOALKEEPERS (4): Kailen Sheridan, Carly Telford (NYR), Melissa Lowder (NRI), Emory Wegener (NRI)

DEFENDERS (10): Abby Dahlkemper, Naomi Girma (NDP), Kaleigh Riehl (EDP), Kristen McNabb (EDP), Christen Westphal, Tegan McGrady, Mia Gyau, Kayla Bruster (NDP), Megan Reid (NRI), Taylor Hansen (NRI)

MIDFIELDERS (10): Taylor Kornieck, Kelsey Turnbow, Emily van Egmond (NYR), Marleen Schimmer (NDP), Sydney Pulver (NDP), Belle Briede (NDP), Meleana Shim (NRI), Sydney Zandi (NRI), Taylor Porter (NRI)

FORWARDS (10): Alex Morgan, Jodie Taylor, Sofia Jakobsson (NYR), Amirah Ali, Katie Johnson, Makenzy Doniak, Ru Machera (NRI), Sarah Sodoma (NRI), Emerson Layne (NRI)


NRI: Non-Roster Invitee

NDP: ‘22 NWSL Draft Pick

EDP: Expansion Draft Pick

NYR: Not Yet Reported


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