San Diego: Everything you need to know about the new NWSL expansion team

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A twelfth team will soon be playing in the NWSL. San Diego will join the league alongside LA-based Angel City FC in 2022.

The club will play its home games at the 6,000-seat Torero Stadium. Other details, such as the official name, crest and head coach, will be announced at a later date.

GiveMeSport Women runs through what we do know so far.

What’s the background of the NWSL expansion team?

A 12th NWSL expansion team has been in the works for a long time, but it was originally tipped to be formed in Sacramento.

US businessman Ron Burkle was a member of the Sacramento bid for an MLS franchise that also had an ambition for an NWSL team. That bid dissipated, however, and Burkle pulled out. He then turned his attention to San Diego, which has proved to be more successful.

According to The Athletic, Burkle and the ownership group of a planned expansion team gained enough support from the NWSL Board to change its territory rights last month. The addition of San Diego to the league has now been announced.

Who’s involved with San Diego?

San Diego owner Burkle, a managing partner of private investment firm The Yucaipa Companies, is already involved in the sporting world. He is a part-owner of the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins. Burkle’s longtime friend and business associate Matt Alvarez will lead the project on his behalf.

Former US women’s national team manager Jill Ellis has been brought in to take on the role of San Diego President. She is relocating from Florida to California for her new position.

Ellis, who guided the US to World Cup victories in 2015 and 2019, sounded excited to be taking up a different role in football. "This presented an opportunity to stay connected to something I absolutely love, but also influence the game in a different way and perhaps in a more significant way in terms of the hires I can make,” she said.

It has been reported that former Manchester United manager Casey Stoney will be hired as San Diego’s first head coach. Although this is yet to be confirmed, Ellis pledged to appoint a woman in the head coach role.

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What has the reaction been?

NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird revealed she was confident San Diego would be a success. “We’ve always said that growth has to be done thoughtfully and deliberately,” she said. “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.”

San Diego has also been welcomed by its future rivals on Twitter, including North Carolina Courage, Washington Spirit and Gotham FC.

Some fans are disappointed the expansion team is not in Sacramento, however. One social media user posted: “Sorry.. But this team should be in Sacramento! Where it was originally awarded!!!”

Despite the mixed reaction, women’s football fans are sure to be eagerly waiting for more details about the NWSL’s newest expansion team.

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