A women’s professional soccer club will soon arrive in the Bay Area thanks to four of soccer’s most illustrious figures.
The 14th National Women’s Soccer League franchise hopes to continue the Bay Area’s winning traditions as it joins an area that has produced champions and elite professional sports teams.
“The Bay is where champions come to play,” Club Co-founder Brandi Chastain said. “That is our call to action and that is what we will do.”
As the team debuted in 2024, it is still unknown where they will play or what they will be called, but the organization that will support them is already in place.
The founding football four of the NWSL Bay Area are Brandi Chastain, Leslie Osborne, Aly Wagner, and Danielle Slaton. They are all international soccer legends with ties to the area.
The women claim they are eager to dominate soccer. They are partnered with Sixth Street, a worldwide investment organization with offices in San Francisco that has invested in groups like Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, and the San Antonio Spurs.
“To have us four with our soccer DNA and IQ, and teaming up with Sixth Street, we feel that we are going to be game changers,” Osborne said.
“Honestly, it feels a lot like playing in a World Cup Final, playing in an Olympic Final,” Slaton said. “It’s nerve-wracking and it’s exciting and that pressure is a privilege. And we’re excited about that privilege.”
“We want to create something that really is a beacon in the Bay Area that sets a new standard in terms of how people see the game, how they experience the game and something that really unites the over 101 different communities that we have,” Wagner said.
Alan Waxman, CEO of Sixth Street, asserted that supporting women’s sports is profitable.
“Now people can put on their iPhone or iPad and they can basically watch the NWSL like my daughter does, like a lot of the girls on her team do. That didn’t exist five years ago, didn’t exist 50 years ago. And that’s a structural change,” Waxman said. “Everyone’s like Why is this all happening now?’ It’s not a coincidence. It’s that the accessibility has structurally changed. And as a result of that, when you think about 99% of those dollars historically have gone to only men, the barriers have now been broken down and that’s going to change. That’s what we’re investing behind. “
Waxman will be a member of the board of governors for the NWSL. In the 2013 book “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” author Sheryl Sandberg, a former Facebook executive, joins the group as a board member and strategic investor.
Like Brianna Russell, soccer enthusiasts in the Bay Area are already becoming increasingly excited.
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She established the regional nonprofit Girls Leading Girls, which uses soccer to impart teachings about female empowerment.
Russell predicts many people will find inspiration in this new professional women’s team.
“Sports in general, it’s a vehicle,” Russell said. “It’s a vehicle for change, it’s a vehicle for so much opportunity, equality and equity. So, it’s a wonderful opportunity and motivator for our players and our coaches to have that new team in the Bay Area.”
The Founding Four assert that they are prepared for their squad to serve as an example both on and off the field for people in the Bay Area and beyond.
“I think our breadth and our width of our impact can be not just in the nine counties, along the nine bridges, but really globally,” Chastain said.
“This is just the beginning; it sometimes feels like we’ve run a marathon already just to get to this point,” Slaton said. “But, we’re prepared. We all know that girls who play become women who lead and we are about being a part of that pipeline.”
The 11th season of the NWSL, with 12 teams, recently began. Last year, the San Diego Wave and the Angel City of Los Angeles joined the league.
The league announced last month that the Utah Royals would return and begin to play in 2024.
The original Royals, who competed in the NWSL from 2018 to 2020, were sold to Kansas City when Real Salt Lake’s owner, embroiled in a scandal, withdrew his team support. The new owners of RSL kept the rights to a potential female team.
Plans for the league include the addition of a 15th franchise in the Boston region.
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For almost 4 years, Jason Martin has been a freelance writer for newspapers, journals, blogs, books, and online material. He covers the most recent news as well as many other topics.