San Diego Wave FC announced on Tuesday they have signed forward Melanie Barcenas. The 15-year-old is the league’s youngest-ever signing, beating out newly inked Washington Spirit youngster Chloe Ricketts, signed in the offseason.
Barcenas is a native of Claremont and came through the San Diego Surf academy system. She has repeatedly been called up to various U.S. youth international teams.
“We are very happy that Melanie and her family have decided to entrust her hometown club as the place for her to begin her professional career,” said San Diego Wave FC head coach Casey Stoney in a team statement. “The coaches at San Diego Surf have been instrumental in helping her develop as a person and as a player for her entire youth career. We’re excited to maximize her potential through the coming years, while being patient and deliberate in advancing her development while ensuring she retains some routine and normalcy of being a teenager.”
"I even hope to represent Wave FC one day..."— San Diego Wave FC (@sandiegowavefc) March 21, 2023
History made in her own hometown. pic.twitter.com/R1AoMXFDYE
Barcenas is the second U-18 signing made by San Diego, joining Jaedyn Shaw. Shaw signed during the 2022 season, and while she is not a San Diego County local, she took to the NWSL right away and was very successful on the field, with Stoney appearing to give her both earned playing time but also shielding her from the brightest lights of the pro game. One expects a similar approach for Barcenas, perhaps with her progression coming a bit slower considering she’s a couple years younger than Shaw at this point.
“I’m very excited to sign my first professional contract with my hometown team, San Diego Wave,” said Barcenas. “It’s been a dream of mine to not just play in the NWSL but to have the opportunity to represent this city since the announcement of the Wave last year. I know I am young, but the team and coaching staff have been amazing, and I look forward to learning from them every day as I continue to develop.”
What do you think? Leave a comment below.