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The Washington Spirit are 2021 NWSL champions, but even with Trinity Rodman running things back, predicting a repeat in 2022 won’t be so easy. The league will look a lot different as Southern California welcomes not one, but two new NWSL franchises to the fold: Angel City FC & San Diego Wave FC.
Here’s what you need to know about the clubs ready to rattle America’s most competitive women’s soccer league:
The Los Angeles club made a Hollywood-style splash (literally) with a majority female ownership team featuring Natalie Portman, Jennifer Garner, America Ferrera, Eva Longoria and Jessica Chastain, along with plenty of sports experience in their offices including Serena Williams, Candace Parker, Mia Hamm and Cobi Jones
USWNT striker Christen Press was announced as the team’s first player
The franchise announced a revenue-sharing agreement to boost NWSL player salaries where 1% of ticket revenue from all regular-season home games will be shared equally among Angel City players at the end of the year
The logo is a shield containing an angel with 12 feathers, representing the 11 players on the pitch + the fans & club workers.
The slick black-and-patterned kit is super fresh and clean, including custom shades, “Sol Rosa” and “Armor.” The mostly black jerseys have fan-shaped patterns that match the zig-zags on the city’s flag
The name is inspired by the city’s “pristine and powerful coastline and diverse cultural heritage”
Three-time NWSL champion and 2019 World Cup winner Abby Dahlkemper will return home as the club’s first player via three-way trade
Former Manchester United manager Casey Stoney was announced as head coach in July
The club will play its home matches at the University of San Diego’s Torero Stadium while looking for a permanent home for the 2023 season
One of the USWNT’s most successful coach, Jill Ellis, is president with the goal to create an all-female executive and coaching staff – a league first
Wave FC’s crest and colors have not yet been released
With a regular draft, an expansion draft, and free agency to go, both California clubs are longshots to win the 2022 Championship title at +8000 (bet $100 → $8000), but keep an eye on Angel City. With a star-studded ownership cast and star Christen Press, expect the franchise to put themselves on the map next season.