Cardiff native Sierra Enge excited to debut with Wave FC this season
The San Diego Wave FC will open its season this Saturday at Snapdragon Stadium with a new addition that’s a familiar face here in San Diego.
It’s a homecoming for North County resident Sierra Enge. When she was drafted first in the second round of the 2023 National Women's Soccer League and 13th overall — it was a dream come true.
With lots of professional soccer teams showing interest in her, Enge didn’t know if she would be coming back home.
"But closer and closer to the draft, it seemed to be more and more realistic," Enge said. "And it was just so fun, especially to be there with my family and so many friends and know that I was coming home.”
The Wave FC specifically traded up in the 2023 draft to select Enge. Wave coach Casey Stoney said Enge will add much-needed depth to the team.
"She was a key target for us," Stoney said shortly after the draft in January. "So, really pleased we traded up; the importance of getting Sierra to add squad depth, quality, character."
That’s especially important since half of the Wave’s starting lineup could be gone for part of the season because of the World Cup this summer.
Growing up, sports has always been a part of Enge's life. That is not surprising, considering both her parents were athletes. Her dad, Brian, played soccer for Harvard and the Wichita Wings. Her mom, Cici, played lacrosse at Harvard and is the current middle school girl’s lacrosse coach at Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad.
"My parents really didn't care what sports I played," Enge said. "They just wanted me to be active and have fun, and so I played softball, basketball, lacrosse volleyball. I did horseback riding for a little bit — kind of threw myself into everything.”
But ultimately, soccer won out, and she fell in love with the sport.
“I think I loved the competitiveness of soccer," she said. "The way that it makes you think, the way that it challenged me every day. And I think it was something that I saw myself playing for a lot longer in the future, and so it was just what I wanted to do.”
While in high school at Pacific Ridge, Enge played club soccer for LA Galaxy San Diego and SoCal Blues and before long, she caught the attention of Stanford coach Paul Ratcliffe.
“I scouted her early on, and I saw her," he said. "She's great ability, so technical, so intelligent and the work ethic is what really sold me on her. Just such a hard worker."
While at Stanford, she contributed to the Cardinal’s 2019 NCAA College Cup title and three Pacific-12 Conference Championships.
"Being at Stanford, I was so lucky because we had so many players that were even in the national team while I was there," Enge said. "So I feel really lucky that I was surrounded by such incredible players and people at a really young age. And I think they've just helped me get to where I am in my career now.”
With San Diego being a huge soccer town, Enge said she’s looking forward to the Wave’s season opener this Saturday.
“I think it's really exciting to be able to play in a city where they want to come out and they want to support," she said. "And so, yes, we're excited that we made history with the most tickets sold for a home opener, but we want to keep making more history and sell out Snapdragon for our first game.”
Noting that the landmark Title IX legislation that guarantees equal opportunities for women in sports just celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, Enge has a message for all the little girls out there: dream big.
And her dream this season is "to lift the trophy at the end of the season with the team and then just continue to get better every day.”
The Wave FC will kick off its season on Saturday against the Chicago Red Stars. The match starts at 7 p.m. at Snapdragon Stadium.
Last year, the club was the first expansion team to reach the playoffs in its first season.