Former USWNT stars aim to bring women’s pro soccer back to the Bay Area
The South Bay group bidding for a spot in the National Women’s Soccer League expansion includes faces familiar to Bay Area soccer fans — and those across the country as well.
Brandi Chastain, Leslie Osborn, Danielle Slaton and Aly Wagner are involved in the effort after on-court careers that included college football at Santa Clara and caps with the United States on the international stage.
The group viewed Angel City FC, in its inaugural season in Los Angeles, as a model of investing and building a fan base before even playing a game. Angel City brought in big-name owners like Natalie Portman and Serena Williams, which helped spark interest early in its expansion process.
NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman, who was named to the role this spring, recently told media that she and the league plan to revamp the expansion process following the debut of Angel City and the San Diego Wave. FC, which was born from an offer initially centered on Sacrament.
The Sacramento exchange leaves Northern California wide open to those interested in property, like the Chastain-Osborn-Slaton-Wagner group.
Osborne said in March that the ownership group, which also includes some tech companies, had raised $10 million to bid for a potential franchise, according to journalist Elisabeth Schendel.
Given the success of Santa Clara and Stanford on the college field, and the number of women the Bay Area has sent to the U.S. national team, the region seems a natural choice if and when the league continues to expand further. beyond its current 12-team model.
Berman did not give a timeline for further expansion as she reshapes the strategy.
“We don’t really know the timeline,” Slaton told The Athletic. “So we’re just trying to control what we can control and really start to let our community know and try to get as much support as possible and learn about our community.”
Four women with ties to the SF Bay Area join forces to help bring #nwsltothebay. They’ve transformed the women’s game before and are looking to do it again. Rejoin @brandichastain @leslieosborne12 @daniellevslaton @alywagner and support the movement. ⚽
— NWSL at the bay (@nwsltothebay) June 21, 2022