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San Diego Wave FC announce Abby Dahlkemper as first signing

USWNT defender set to anchor expansion team’s backline.

Soccer: U.S. Women’s National Team Summer Series-USA at Portugal Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

2022 NWSL expansion team San Diego Wave FC announced on Monday their first player acquisition ahead of their debut campaign is for defender Abby Dahlkemper. Her rights were acquired in a three-team trade involving the Houston Dash and North Carolina Courage, with San Diego sending North Carolina $190,000 in allocation money and San Diego’s natural first round draft pick in 2023.

The 28-year-old, who was raised in Southern California and played NCAA soccer at UCLA, most recently played the last half-season with the Houston Dash. She also played about a half-season with Manchester City, and before that, spent five seasons with the Western New York Flash/North Carolina Courage organization, where she really made her name. A three-time NWSL Best XI selection, she was also NWSL Defender of the Year in 2017.

A regular with the U.S. Women’s National Team, Dahlkemper was a fixture on the backline in the 2019 World Cup triumph, and also featured in the squad that picked up the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics this past summer.

“I’ve followed Abby’s career for a long time and always admired her qualities as a centerback,” said Wave FC head coach Casey Stoney in a team statement. “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.”

I think this is a really intriguing first signing for Stoney’s first squad. Dahlkemper has been one of the best American center backs the past five years, but admittedly, 2021 seemed to be an off year for her in some ways on the field. Hopefully, a change of scenery and being the defensive anchor that the team can build around can help get the most out of her, and if that happens, then San Diego should be in good shape right away.

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