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NWSL, San Diego Wave FC condemn racist incident at Snapdragon Stadium opener

Abuse and assault mar rivalry clash.

NWSL: Angel City FC at San Diego Wave FC Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

San Diego Wave FC opened their new permanent home, Snapdragon Stadium, on Saturday with a rivalry clash against Angel City FC and set an NWSL attendance record with 32,000 present.

While in many respects it was a triumphant night for Wave FC and the league, with the home side winning 1-0, the evening was marred by at least one racist outburst and physical attack in the stands.

Angel City fan Martín Macías Jr. posted his account of what happened during and immediately after the match, which has been corroborated by other fans in the vicinity.

Wave FC responded to Martín’s tweets on Sunday:

Subsequently, NWSL released an official statement on the matter on Monday:

The hateful and racist conduct that has been reported from this past weekend’s match in San Diego has no place in soccer, sport or society. We will assist and support the investigation that is underway and hold accountable anyone deemed responsible. Saturday’s match was a celebration for the progress our league has made, but this is a reminder that we must remain vigilant, especially in providing safe places for everyone associated with the NWSL to work, play and be entertained. We will also take this opportunity to review league policies and protocols to ensure they reflect the positive, safe and inclusive environment we expect at all our events.

Then San Diego Wave FC released their own statement, condemning racism and saying an investigation is ongoing on the matter:

It’s unfortunate that this incident marred the experience, most notably for the people targeted, and condemnations in public by the club and league is a good step. But obviously racist behavior and physical assaults have no place in our sport, period. Hopefully the person responsible is banned for life and the nascent culture around San Diego Wave FC and this rivalry will not tolerate any behavior like this in the future.

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