San Diego Wave FC

Former San Diego Wave FC employees make allegations of unhealthy work environment

The club responded to the initial accusations, calling them inaccurate and defamatory.

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Four former Wave FC employees have posted accusations on social media alleging poor treatment during their time with the franchise. Each said the experience was detrimental to their mental health, with one placing specific blame on club President Jill Ellis.

Wednesday morning, former Wave FC videographer Brittany Alvarado posted a lengthy message in which she said, "On behalf of myself and my former colleagues, the treatment we endured under club President Jill Ellis has been nothing short of life-altering and devastating to our mental health."

Alvarado added that "abusive behaviors among (Ellis') subordinates are allowed to flourish."

Her post also alleges that the organization "often perpetuated discrimination against women and demonstrated a complete disregard for their long-term mental health."

An additional post included an email she says came from a senior leadership member, calling Alvarado "the most pathetic person I've ever met."

Alvarado called for the National Women's Soccer League to remove Ellis from the Wave and the league as a whole.

The Wave responded to the claims:

"San Diego Wave FC has been made aware of a recent social media post by a former employee that contains inaccurate and defamatory statements about the club. Not only does the post contain a fabricated email, but the claims made therein are categorically false, including the ones directed at our President Jill Ellis. San Diego Wave currently is reviewing this situation and it intends to pursue all legal avenues available to appropriately address this matter."

Two other former employees followed Alvarado's post with accounts of their own.

Jenny Chuang is a freelance photographer who said she was placed on suicide watch while working with the Wave in 2022. She said she begged for help, but was pressured to resign.

Bernadette O'Donnell, the club's former senior communications manager, shared her experience Wednesday evening.

"After opening up to my boss about my mental health as well as the unhealthy work environment, plus alerting her to an ongoing investigation at the time, I was put on forced leave the next day "to address my personal issues & work performance." I was terminated from my job three days later."

Alex Morgan expressed her disappointment about the allegations.

"It’s important to me that we are creating that environment for both players AND staff throughout the entire organization. Equity in the workplace is something I have and will continue to advocate for. I want to be proud of what we are building at the Wave but it is clear that there is so much work to be done."

A fourth former employee - Abigail Lozano, who served as community relations coordinator - posted Wednesday evening, "After experiencing the toxic work environment enabled by leadership, my mental health quickly deteriorated. This resulted in my resignation, to protect myself."

Ellis coached Morgan with the United States Women's National Team. Together the two won back-to-back World Cups in 2015 and 2019.

Ellis was named the franchise's original president when the club was formed in 2021.

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