San Diego Wave FC acquires rights to World Cup winner

Sports

United States defender Abby Dahlkemper (2) plays the field during an international friendly soccer match against Paraguay, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021, in Cincinnati. The United States won 8-0. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

SAN DIEGO — The first player to join San Diego’s newest women’s professional soccer team is a World Cup winner.

San Diego Wave Fútbol Club announced Monday it has acquired the rights to 28-year-old defender and U.S. International Abby Dahlkemper following the end of the 2021 National Women’s Soccer League season from Houston Dash via a three-way trade that included North Carolina Courage.

“Abby is one of the best centerbacks in the world and a proven winner at the club and international level,” Wave FC President Jill Ellis said. “Having coached her with the USA, I know first-hand about the qualities she can bring to a team and a group. We look forward to welcoming her to San Diego and our club.”

Dahlkemper, a native of Menlo Park, California, has played with the U.S. national team since 2016 and recorded the most minutes of any U.S. player during the Americans’ victorious 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign in France.

“I’ve followed Abby’s career for a long time and always admired her qualities as a centerback,” Wave FC head coach Casey Stoney said. “She’s had a stellar career with the United States and in NWSL, and I coached against her last year when she was playing in England. She’s a top player who I feel has a lot to offer any team on the field and in the locker room. Those qualities will be of great value to our club as we build a team to be competitive in this league. I look forward to working with her on a daily basis.”

Entering the NWSL in 2015, Dahlkemper has won three championships and was named to the Best XI three times. She also earned NWSL Defender of the Year honors in 2017.

Once the trade goes through, North Carolina Courage will receive $190,000 in allocation money and San Diego’s natural first round draft selection in the 2023 NWSL Draft.

Starting in spring 2022, San Diego Wave FC will begin play at its temporary home: Torero Stadium. The club says their crest and permanent venue will be announced at a later date.

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