It’s official: we’ll see a NWSL San Diego team beginning play with the 2022 season, as the team originally slated for Sacramento makes the intra-state move.
Ron Burkle, who purchased the team as part of his effort to bring MLS to Sacramento, remains as owner, with Matt Alvarez leading the project. Jill Ellis, the only two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup winning manager and a former FIFA World Women’s Coach of the Year recipient, will serve as President of the NWSL San Diego team.
“This is a proud and historic moment for soccer in San Diego, Southern California and the United States,” Ellis said via press release. “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.”
Still to come: team name, technical staff, crest and home pitch.
“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 via press release. “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.”
Ellis’s resume is long and impressive. 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).
Before taking over as manager with the USWNT, Ellis served as head coach for the U.S. Women’s U-21 and U-20 sides and as an assistant and with the Senior USWNT, where she was on staff as they captured the Gold Medal during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.