San Diego Wave draft pick Marleen Schimmer recently made her NWSL Challenge Cup debut.
The ninth overall and second draft pick by Wave FC from the 2022 NWSL Draft has a lot of expectations for the present season.
A versatile attacking-minded prospect, Schimmer will be fighting for minutes on the pitch with the likes of other forwards such as Sofia Jakobsson and, of course, Alex Morgan, searching for a way to make her presence known. Down a goal, Kelsey Turnbow came off in the 70th minute, and Schimmer was brought on. It only took her 11 minutes to take her chance, and she did so brilliantly by delivering a picturesque corner, finding the body of defender Kaleigh Riehl who tucked it away to secure an incredibly vital first point in their inaugural match. You can feel the emergence and the rumblings of a potentially tense and bitter rivalry between the Wave and their SoCal counterparts up the 5 freeway with Angel City FC.
We spoke with Marleen in an exclusive interview with EVT recently, before she made her debut against Angel City. Marleen spoke highly about this potential rivalry, “I’m obviously really excited about playing against Angel City FC. It’s a big California-like game…I can already feel the tension there,” Schimmer said.
Her impact for this team and this rivalry can’t be understated, highlighted by her stellar performance off the bench, punctuated with her producing the corner that produced the goal that avoided defeat for the Wave. For coming off the bench, an assist in your debut will hopefully be enough to keep her in the starting eleven. When asked about her positional strengths, Schimmer said, “I can play multiple positions, midfield, forward, on the wing, basically everything … left-wing and right-wing, yeah that is my strongest position, I would say.”
It will be interesting to see if Schimmer continues to be the woman taking corners for Casey Stoney’s squad in the future. Schimmer has gotten a good first impression of Stoney, “As a player, having her as a coach, you’re just so comfortable, you know where you’re at…even in the first two or three weeks I’ve learned so much under her”. Stoney has the attention and respect of the players, highlighted by Schimmer: “(Casey Stoney is) on the field she’s constantly coaching, trying to make us better, she’s also focusing on youth players a lot, to develop them, and that’s like a really good advantage for me.”
The Mainz, Germany native grew up not only representing her home nation of Deutschland at the international youth level, but she reached the 2. Bundesliga, the 2nd highest professional women’s soccer league in Germany. She began her soccer career playing for a men’s club team in her hometown due to the lack of available options. She was able to earn the respect of her male teammates to the level that she was playing against adult women for TSV Schott Mainz during the ages of 14-17, before shipping out to Arizona State University, Grand Canyon University, and getting drafted by San Diego.
Schimmer is excited to make a home here in the 619, and she will hopefully be scoring screamers at SnapDragon Stadium for years to come. She probably first learned about San Diego from the ‘Zonies’ who would travel from Arizona to San Diego to avoid the ungodly heat, as 75 and Sunny weather in SD is a welcome distraction in comparison to the state in which Marleen played her college ball. “I’m really excited to be here. San Diego is a beautiful city. It’s always been a dream to live here. Coming from Arizona, I knew about it, but I had never been here. Yeah, I’m just so excited to represent San Diego on the field and off the field”, Schimmer exclaimed. “First year for me is all about being myself, focusing on my strengths, and play my game.” If this what to expect from Marleen Schimmer, the Wave are going to have a great young star with potential on their hands.
When asked about the presence of Alex Morgan, it was evident that Morgan’s influence on the team should not be understated. Marleen hopes to learn from her, “Before I came to San Diego, everyone was like ‘Woah, no way you’re playing with Alex Morgan’…I’m excited to get to know her as a person, she’s so experienced, I could learn so much from her”, as well as be that veteran with prior professional experience that a new franchise like the Wave so desperately needs. There is such a high quantity of quality forwards and not a lot of playing time between them, as the fight for minutes will be intense. “The soccer is actually really different here in the States…my biggest advantage is knowledge I get from European soccer, it’s more about tactics, soccer IQ, technical based, and in America, it’s more athletic, physical, high intensity”, Schimmer said.
As someone with German influence myself, I am overjoyed to have a player like Marleen on my squad. There is a HUGE German soccer following in the greater San Diego area. I relayed the story of watching world cup winner Mario Götze’s angelic volley that sent the hordes of fans watching at the FanFest into a frenzy at North Park on the corner of University and 30th, in which her face lit up. “Obviously being German, hopefully (I get) to know the German community, just like you said as well because I am not really connected with that.”
To quote the incomparable Dani Rojas, “Futbol is Life” for players like Schimmer in Germany and all throughout German culture. Her inclusion in the opening-day match squad through her assist and direct impact on the pace and result of play is just a taste of the style she brings to the team. The skills learned from playing in the 2. Bundesliga cannot be understated, as a player with experience in a European country with a top 5 league brings great depth and understanding to this young roster. Her previous experiences, combined with her proven immediate impact, shows us that San Diego Wave Futbol Club is lucky to have her as she continues her career in professional soccer.