Welcome to The Shack, this is your one-stop spot for a summary and my thoughts on all things revolving around the San Diego Wave Futbol Club and the National Women’s Soccer League. In this edition of The Shack, we’ll wrap up the first half of the season, travel abroad to follow members of Wave FC who went overseas to fulfill International Duty, Abby Dahlkemper picking up a worthwhile hobby, the countdown to Snapdragon Stadium, and my thoughts as I am back “Playing in the Sandbox”.
CLOUD 9: SD 1, RGN 1 (6/15/22): Closing out a stretch that saw them play three matches in one week, San Diego Wave Fútbol Club managed to bank another point with a 1-1 tie against OL Reign before 5,000 fans at Torero Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The lengthy week saw San Diego finish it 0-0-3, 3 Pts. Alex Morgan added on to her league lead in Goal scoring as she scored the opening marker in the 8th minute to give her nine on the season.
Morgan talked postgame about the long and weary week the club had: “I think it was tough on our legs coming into this game for a three-game week, but I think we started strong and then there was ebbs and flows of the game where we had to kinda dig in a little bit. But overall, I felt like we had a pretty good team performance, a really tough week, it’s nice to come out feeling good about this tie.
BULLS ON PARADE: NJ/NY 0, SD 3 (6/29/22): Heading on the road looking to snap a string of three consecutive ties, San Diego returned to the Win column with an emphatic 3-0 victory over NJ/NY Gotham FC at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. Alex Morgan continued to torture Gotham with two more goals in the match, her 10th and 11th Goals of the season which set a new career high. Morgan scored six goals in two matches against NJ/NY on the season. Makenzy Doniak opened her account as well for the Wave, scoring her first goal of the season in the 68th minute. It was also a homecoming day for Kailen Sheridan, San Diego’s goalkeeper who returned to Harrison where she spent the first part of her career.
PORTS OF CALL: Six members of Wave FC were called out to fulfill International Duty obligations with their respective National Teams. Alex Morgan, Taylor Kornieck, and Naomi Girma joined the U.S. Women’s Team.
Korneick’s debut could not have gone any better, on top of her National Team debut, Kornieck headed home a 90th-minute Goal which pushed Team USA’s lead to 3-0 over Colombia in Denver, Colorado.
Morgan, Kornieck, and Girma then ventured to Monterrey, Mexico with Team USA to compete in the 2022 CONCACAF Women’s Championship. In the Championship match, Team USA and its three Wave FC players faced off against one of their own, Kailen Sheridan, and Team Canada. With the match on the brink of Extra Time, Team USA would be awarded a Penalty Kick and they would turn to the NWSL’s leading scorer. Alex Morgan would face Sheridan from the spot and slotted a shot off her left foot into the bottom right corner of the net to give Team USA a 1-0 lead, and eventually the victory and a spot in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, France.
Emily van Egmond (Australia), and Sofia Jakobsson (Sweden) were the other three members away on International Duty for San Diego.
THAT’S THE SPIRIT!: SD 2, WAS 1 (7/3/22): The “Next Player Up” mentality was on display with the Wave on July 3rd. San Diego was missing several important pieces to the puzzle, including NWSL leading goal scorer Alex Morgan and a slew of others due to international duty, San Diego regained the top spot in the NWSL table with a 2-1 victory over the Washington Spirit before a sell-out crowd of over 6,000 fans at Torero Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Makenzy Doniak and Belle Breide provided the offense while backup goalkeeper Carly Telford earned her first start and win of the season to keep the Wave perfect at home.
BANC HOLIDAY: LA 2, SD 1 (7/9/22): The two newest members of the NWSL finally met up for the first time in the regular season on July 9th at a packed Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles. It would be Angel City FC scoring the first regular season victory in the SoCal Derby over San Diego by a 2-1 scoreline and beginning what promises to be a beautiful rivalry between the two SoCal franchises. Kristen McNabb scored the equalizer for the Wave in the 68th minute before ACFC went ahead for good in the 81st minute.
DRAW THE LINE: SD 0, LOU 0 (7/15/22): The word “Chance” essentially sums up the July 15th affair between Wave FC and Racing Louisville FC before another jammed-packed crowd at Torero Stadium. In a wire-to-wire match, both teams shared points with the match ending in a 0-0 draw. Both Goalkeepers took center stage as Katie Lund and Carly Telford each made big save after big save to keep their clubs in the match, including Telford denying Savannah DeMelo on a Penalty Kick attempt in the 72nd minute.
Louisville’s offensive pressure paid off in the 72nd minute when a Penalty Kick was awarded after Alex Chidiac was taken down in the box. It would be Savannah DeMelo, who had the only goal in the first-ever meeting between the two teams back on May 18th, who stood at the penalty spot against Carly Telford and the loud, energetic Wave fans. Telford stoned DeMelo cold on the Penalty Kick attempt and Louisville sent the rebound wide, which sent the Torero Stadium faithful into a frenzy as the save kept the scoreline deadlocked, where it started is where it ended, at 0-0.
WHERE THE STAND: San Diego Wave FC finds themselves in First Place in the NWSL table with a 6-3-4 record, 22 Pts.
- SAN DIEGO: 22 Pts.
- Portland: 21 Pts.
- Chicago: 20 Pts.
- Houston: 18 Pts.
- Kansas City: 18 Pts.
- OL Reign: 17 Pts.
- Angel City: 17 Pts.
- Orlando: 13 Pts.
- NJ/NY: 12 Pts.
- Louisville: 11 Pts.
- Washington: 10 Pts.
- North Carolina: 8 Pts.
ABBY’S BRACELETS: Defender Abby Dahlkemper was the first player signed in Wave FC history. The 29-year-old UCLA alum has captained the team on the field during her time so far in San Diego. However, Abby has had to deal with quite a bit of adversity this season, suffering two injuries and COVID which had kept her away from the field for a good chunk of the first half. However, Dahlkemper has since dove into a new hobby for a great cause. Abby has begun making and selling bracelets for anyone to purchase, including selling them at recent Wave home matches at Torero Stadium.
The bracelets help benefit the Black Women’s Players Collective, which is made up of women in football who have come together to transform the game we see today for generations to come. We understand that when we play the game the world watches, and by changing the game for black women we can change the world. Through our collective power, perspectives and platforms we will shift the narrative and demand equity in a sport that was intended for all.
McNABB IS BACK: On Thursday, San Diego Wave FC announced the resigning of Kristen McNabb to a two-year extension that runs through the 2024 season. Per the Wave FC communications team, The New Jersey native has made 12 starts in 13 matches played for Wave FC this season and has proven to be versatile as a midfielder or defender. McNabb has recorded 31 clearances, 11 interceptions, and seven blocks, also winning 64.5% of her tackles. Offensively, the midfielder has created seven scoring chances, recorded nine shots, and scored one goal.
McNabb, when asked for her thoughts on the extension said “I am incredibly excited to call San Diego home for the next few years. I look forward to continuing to develop as a player and supporting the team’s success in any way I can. The Wave has built such a special environment, cultivated from the top down, and I am grateful to be a part of it.”
Head Coach Casey Stoney added “I am really pleased that Kristen has extended her stay with the club. She has been an integral part of the team in our inaugural season, and I’m excited to watch her continue to grow.”
OH SNAP!: September 17th has been a date long circled on the calendar for San Diego Wave Futbol Club. On Friday, Wave FC officially put single game tickets on sale for the club’s first home match at their new home, Snapdragon Stadium against Angel City FC. The brand new 35,000-seat stadium will be the new home for the Wave alongside the San Diego State University Aztecs and Major League Rugby’s San Diego Legion.
In an email sent out on Friday, Wave FC stated that the club intends to shatter the NWSL attendance record in the new stadium as they take on Southern California rivals at 7 p.m. PT. Sept. 17 will be a historic day for all of San Diego as Wave FC packs the house at Snapdragon Stadium for the very first time. Currently, the NWSL attendance record is held by Portland Thorns FC with 25,218 fans, set in 2019 at Providence Park in a match against North Carolina Courage.
To accommodate the historic first match along with their final regular season home match on September 30th against North Carolina, the NWSL and Wave shifted the game times from 6:30pm to 7pm. Furthermore, San Diego Wave FC aims to become the new standard for women’s professional sports. The legendary opening night will be filled with entertainment, community, and a free one-of-a-kind So-Cal-themed Fan Fest outside Snapdragon Stadium, starting at 3:30 PT and featuring local food, music, art installations, games, prizes, and more. Wave FC welcomes supporters from all over Southern California and beyond to experience world-class soccer and a vibrant fan community in San Diego.
San Diego is also hosting a Battle of the Club ticket drive. This allows any local club in the area a chance to compete by selling tickets to the Sept. 17 match. The organization with the most tickets sold will win a trophy presented by Jill Ellis and an exclusive training session with the club coaching staff at the San Diego Wave FC training fields.
Alex Morgan said, “Our fans here in San Diego have been incredible this season, and we can’t wait to play for them in our new stadium on September 17, We’re building something special here, and this is just the beginning!”
Wave FC President Jill Ellis said in part “We have an incredible opportunity on our hands to not only beat our local LA rivals but to break a league-wide attendance record in our new home, We’re calling all San Diegans, soccer fans or not, to show up big for their hometown team, cheer us on for this historic night and see first-hand the amazing experiences Wave FC has to offer. September 17th is such an important night for our city, our club, and our team, and I hope you’ll join us as we open up Snapdragon Stadium in style.”
PLAYING IN SANDBOX (Callan’s Thoughts): On Friday evening, I will be attending what’s being dubbed The State of the Wave Address at Mujeres Brew House in Logan Heights which will include an appearance from Jill Ellis. From a perspective of both a huge Women’s Sports aficionado and a writer who just begun truly following the NWSL this season, I’d say the state of San Diego Wave Futbol Club could not be any better than where it is at right now
While winning is a perfect remedy for everything along with being on top of the league table, I have been absolutely blown away by both the attendance that has come to Torero Stadium on the campus of the University of San Diego on a consistent basis and more than anything else, I’ve been blown away by the Wave’s community outreach over the course of this season and how they have gotten the word out to the San Diego Sports community to come out and support the club.
Earlier in the season, in keeping with their ties and relationships built with the two other professional Soccer clubs in town, the Wave welcomed and honored the San Diego Sockers of the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) in a pregame ceremony, who captured their 16th Indoor Championship and finished of a Back to Back title run.
On June 8th, the Wave hosted their inaugural Pride Night match against the Portland Thorns. Not only was the crowd of 6,100 entertained by a come-from-behind effort by San Diego who rallied from 2-0 down to earn a 2-2 tie. Colin Martin from the San Diego Loyal of the United Soccer League (USL) was also on hand for the evening. Martin came out in 2018 and was a special dignitary at the match.
As anyone would know, no city does Military Appreciation better than San Diego. Leading up to their July 3rd match against Washington, Ellis spent part of the weekend visiting the U.S. Marine Corps Flight Unit at Camp Pendleton. Wave FC also welcomed the U.S. Marine Corps band to play a pregame concert in the Fan Plaza along with a Halftime show on the field. In addition, the club welcomed Sarah Bettencourt, Lera Doederlein, and Liv Stone, three members of the Challenged Athletes Foundation to be honored at the match as well.
Along with Abby Dahlkemper selling her custom-made bracelets on July 15th, Wave FC recognized and commemorated the 50th Anniversary of Title IX. Tennis great Billie Jean King narrated a short monologue about the importance of Title IX and the work that needs to continue to be done for the betterment of Women and Women’s Sports. Special dignitaries were also on hand to celebrate the occasion.
With the anticipation being ratcheted up for the first ever match at Snapdragon Stadium on September 17th to go along with a fan base that has turned out for every home match to go along with a winning record and a first place hold on the top spot in the NWSL table, I don’t think the state of the Wave could be any better than where it is at right now.