In their inaugural season, San Diego Wave FC is sitting atop the National Women’s Soccer League. That’s not how expansion franchises are supposed to work.
“We’ve kind of taken the league a little bit by surprise. I think we’ve built a strong squad from the ground up with our head coach (Casey Stoney),” said Jill Ellis, President of San Diego Wave FC. “We’re positioned, hopefully, to make a good run here and get to the playoffs.”
Everyone knows what Alex Morgan is capable of. She broke her own league scoring record in less than half a season. But players like Taylor Kornieck and Naomi Girma, who just joined Morgan on the U.S. National Team, have added to San Diego’s star power.
“These are players that I’m confident will be competing next summer for a world championship,” says Ellis, who won world titles as the National Team head coach and certainly knows what she’s talking about on this topic. “Here you get to see them right out the gate, locally. We’ve got Olympic gold medalists, world champions, and there’s nothing like seeing these players up close and personal.”
Every match at Torero Stadium has been sold out and Ellis is quick to thank USD for being a partner. But it’s the smallest venue in the NWSL, so the Wave is the 7th in the league in attendance. They’re about to flip that in a big way. On Sept. 17, the Wave will move into Snapdragon Stadium, and Mission Valley’s new facility is not just a gridiron garden.
“It’s built for soccer, as well. I mean, they took that in mind,” said Ellis. “It’s built to host FIFA matches, so that means size-wise it’s going to be perfect and there’s not a bad seat in the house. I’ve toured the facility and it gives you that feeling that you can be close and connect to the pitch and for the players it’s awesome because it’s loud and they’re going to be able to hear the fans.”
Snapdragon can seat 32,000 for soccer, making it the largest stadium in the NWSL, and Wave FC has an ambitious goal for the opener. The current single-game attendance record is 25,218, set by Portland. The Wave wants to break that record in their first match in Mission Valley.
“We can make history on this night. I mean, it’s very rare that you can say you’ve been a part of something that’s a first. That’s kind of the sales pitch here is, our fans can help us make history and they can be a part of it,” said Ellis.
With this club you don’t just get a ticket and an exciting match. If you want, you’ll probably end up with a pretty cool souvenir.
“Our athletes, our players, are incredibly giving. They want to stick around, they want to sign autographs,” said Ellis. “You can see it after our Torero games. They are so appreciative of the support and the fans that they will. They’ll stick around and sign a lot of jerseys, a lot of autographs, because they really want to give back. It’s a two-way street for the players and the fans. That lovefest is what we want to create.”
To join the potentially history-making night, which takes place against their Los Angeles rivals Angel City FC, tickets are easy to find. You can get them online here or on any of their social media channels: