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Jacob Aere
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KPBS
A man walks by San Diego Wave FC scarves at the team store, Sept. 16, 2022.

San Diego Wave FC set to break women’s soccer league attendance record

The San Diego Wave are ready to pack the house for its first-ever game at Snapdragon Stadium this Saturday.

The newest National Women's Soccer League club anticipates a sellout that will shatter the league's previous single-game attendance record of just over 25,000.

It’s a Southern California match-up; they’re playing Angel City FC out of Los Angeles.

“I'm excited that 32,000 people are going to be here for the first game at Snapdragon Stadium,” season ticket holder Frank DeLuca said.

Snapdragon Stadium configured for a San Diego Wave FC match Sep. 16, 2022.
Jacob Aere
/
KPBS
Snapdragon Stadium configured for a San Diego Wave FC match Sep. 16, 2022.

He was at the stadium's team store on Friday to buy newly released merchandise ahead of the game.

“I think it's great for the players because the San Diego community is showing their love,” he said.

The Wave are in a tight race for the playoffs. As of Friday, they’re third in the standings.

There are twelve total teams in the NWSL but only the top six seeded teams will earn playoff spots.

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Jacob Aere
A San Diego Wave FC employee organizes soccer jerseys at the team store, Sept. 16, 2022.

The Wave’s first season coincides with the 50th anniversary of Title IX, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or any other education program that receives funding from the federal government.

The federal civil rights law helped to close the gender gap for athletics participation in the U.S.

Women's sports advocate and teacher Allison Weatherford said more still needs to be done to promote gender equality in athletics, but things are changing for the better.

“We’re breaking records every day in different sports with attendance and with media views, so that is the biggest part of growth for women in sports during these times right now,” Weatherford said.

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Jacob Aere
A soccer net and ball is set up on the pitch at Snapdragon Stadium, Sept. 16, 2022.

The Wave club started the year by playing its home games at the University of San Diego’s Torero Stadium.

The team now shares Snapdragon Stadium with San Diego State football and Major League Rugby’s San Diego Legion.

Jerry Jimenez works for the soccer club. He said fans have many reasons to come out this weekend beyond watching worldwide superstar Alex Morgan and the rest of the team.

“We have a Fanfest happening, and that will start three hours before match time," Jimenez said. "We're going to have food trucks, there will be a beer garden, there’s going to be all sorts of activations all throughout the stadium as well. This is just the place to be on a Saturday.”

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Jacob Aere
Fans look at new San Diego Wave FC merchandise at the team store, Sept. 16, 2022.

The Wave will play at Snapdragon Stadium again for their regular-season finale against the North Carolina Courage on Sept. 30.

Tickets are still available for that game, but if fans want to attend this Saturday's match against Angel City, the Wave recommends looking on resale sites.

I report on City Heights and communities south of the Interstate 8 freeway. My beat covers housing, transportation, census and immigration policy, and a number of other issues important to these neighborhoods. No matter the topic, I seek the overlooked voices of these diverse communities to tell their stories.
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