San Diego will be home to the next NWSL expansion team, set to begin play in Spring 2022, the National Women's Soccer League announced on Tuesday. The franchise will be NWSL's 12th club and second team in the state of California after Angel City in Los Angeles was announced earlier this year.
"On behalf of the NWSL and our board of governors, I'm thrilled to welcome San Diego NWSL to our league," said NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird. "The NWSL's growth is obviously a priority for us, but we've always said that growth has to be done thoughtfully and deliberately. That's exactly what we've done here. San Diego NWSL has all the hallmarks of a successful expansion club: a committed ownership group with the resources required to invest in the success of our league and our players, in a community full of soccer players and fans, in a region that has been underrepresented in our league. I can't wait to watch it all come together."
The team is owned by Ron Burkle. who is a three-time Stanley Cup Champion as co-owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Burkle's longtime friend and business associate Matt Alvarez will lead the project on his behalf. Former USWNT head coach and two-time FIFA Women's World Cup winner Jill Ellis will serve as President of the San Diego NWSL club.
"This is a proud and historic moment for soccer in San Diego, Southern California and the United States," said Ellis. "The NWSL continues to grow immensely and bringing women's professional soccer back to San Diego, an area with a rich soccer history and passionate fanbase, will have a deep and positive impact on this community. I'm incredibly honored to lead this club forward as we prepare for play in this league next year. We aim to become a significant team globally, led by influential women, with the ability to attract the best talent throughout the world. I am eager to begin this project and look forward to leading this club as we build towards the future."
The former U.S. Women's National Team Manager (2014-2019) led the United States to eight tournament titles: the 2015 Algarve Cup, the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, the 2016 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship, the 2016 SheBelieves Cup, the 2018 SheBelieves Cup, the 2018 Tournament of Nations, the 2018 Concacaf Women's Championship and the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup. During that span, she earned honors as the FIFA World Women's Coach of the Year (2015, 2019) and the CONCACAF Women's Coach of the Year (2015).
The team will begin play in NWSL beginning in the Spring of 2022. The club's name, crest, head coach and stadium partner will be announced at a later date.