San Diego Wave create crowd ‘waves’


San Diego Waves with new NWSL attendance record Image: Gensler

The San Diego Wave FC (US) has smashed the single-game attendance record for the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) after a sellout crowd of 32,000 was recorded for their 1-0 win over Southern California rivals Angel City FC on September 17th.

‘ESPN’ stated that the game was the Wave’s first to be held at the new Snapdragon Stadium on the Mission Valley campus of San Diego State University.

The San Diego Wave FC is a National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) expansion team that began play in 2022. The team is based in San Diego, California, US. The team is owned by Ron Burkle.

The Angel City Football Club is a National Women’s Soccer League expansion team that began play in 2022. The team is based in Los Angeles, California, US, and was announced on July 21st, 2020.

The 22,000-capacity Banc of California Stadium is a soccer-specific stadium in the Exposition Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, US. It is the home of Major League Soccer’s (MLS’s) Los Angeles FC and the National Women’s Soccer League’s Angel City FC.

The 35,000-capacity Snapdragon Stadium, known during its planning and early construction phases as the Aztec Stadium, is an outdoor college football stadium on the West Coast of the United States in San Diego, California. It is located on the campus of the San Diego State University at SDSU Mission Valley, a 166-acre (67 ha) non-contiguous expansion parcel West of the main campus. It serves as the home digs of the San Diego Wave FC.

The San Diego State University is a public research university in San Diego, California, US. Founded in 1897 as the San Diego Normal School, it is the third-oldest university and Southernmost in the 23-member California State University system. The SDSU has a Fall 2020 student body of 35,578 and an alumni base of more than 300,000.

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) is a professional women’s soccer league at the top of the United States league system. It is owned by the teams and, until 2020, was under a management contract with the United States Soccer Federation.

‘ESPN’ further stated that the previous record for a standalone game was 25,218, set back in 2019 in a match held at the 25,218-capacity Providence Park in Portland, Oregon (US), between the NWSL teams Portland Thorns FC and the North Carolina Courage.

The San Diego Wave FC President, Jill Ellis, said when the club announced a sellout earlier this month, “This is a great reflection of the momentum we see in women’s sports. We’ve sold our entire inventory, it’s incredible. We should celebrate this but we should now expect it, big crowds for women’s professional sports.”

The Snapdragon Stadium opened last month after two years of construction. The Wave will share space at the new venue with the university’s football team, along with Major League Rugby’s (MLR’s) San Diego Legion in 2023.

The Wave, which is in their first season in the NWSL, previously played at the 6,000-capacity Torero Stadium at the University of San Diego, US.

Under Head Coach Casey Stoney, the expansion team has been enjoying an impressive first season in the NWSL and went into the game on September 17th in third place in the league standings. The top six teams in the 12-team competition will qualify for the playoffs, which are set to begin next month.

The Wave has been spearheaded by United States women’s national team great Alex Morgan, who has scored a league-leading 15 goals so far this season.

Morgan said last month when it was first revealed that the Wave had sold enough tickets to break the single-game attendance record, “I think it’s a testament to women’s soccer in the United States and the NWSL, and the San Diego Wave and what we’re building here. To see this number today (September 17th), right now, and just knowing that we’re gonna get a sellout, it’s just an incredible feeling because this club set its mind on breaking the single-match attendance in league history. They’ve done that now, but now the goals don’t stop for this club and I’m just really proud to be a part of that.”

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