The San Diego Wave Fútbol Club recently signed forward Katie Johnson. The new National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) team is set to begin play in 2022 at Torero Stadium before moving on to Snapdragon Stadium once it officially opens.
The 27-year-old Southern California native not only built up quite a resume domestically, as she has played for Seattle Reign FC, Sky Blue FC, and, most recently, the Chicago Red Stars, Johnson also represented the women’s national team in Mexico. Johnson made her debut with El Tri femenil in December of 2015, scoring eight goals in 23 matches, with three of her goals coming at the 2018 Central American and Caribbean Games, helping Mexico win the gold medal.
“Soccer has such strong roots within the Mexican community,” Johnson said in an exclusive interview with the East Village Times.
“Being close to Mexico has me super excited and bring able to drive over and eat good food and experience the culture. Just experiencing a new city, I would only go for surf cup when I was younger, so having a different community to grow with as well makes me super excited.”
San Diego Wave Fútbol Club acquired the rights to Johnson in a trade with the Chicago Red Stars. In exchange, Chicago received roster protection in the 2022 NWSL Expansion Draft along with allocation money.
“I’ve been really impressed with the way she adapts within games,” San Diego Wave head coach Casey Stoney mentioned. “I like her athleticism and her ability to score goals. She’s hardworking, and if you play on my teams, that’s non-negotiable.”
Johnson is a native of Monrovia and played for the University of Southern California before being drafted into the NWSL in 2017 by Seattle Reign FC as the 16th overall pick. As her current team finalizes the roster, she already knows the type of talent that will surround her, including big names like Alex Morgan and Abby Dahlkemper, as the San Diego Wave hope to make a big splash in their inaugural season.
“I played against (Alex Morgan) a few times in Olympic qualifiers and world cup qualifiers and obviously in the NWSL teams,” Johnson added. “It’s going to be nice to have her as a teammate. Hopefully, I can help her score some goals, and I think I will do a good job with that.”
Even before announcing that Johnson would be playing, the Wave was already in the process of building a strong connection only with the Mexican-American fanbase. This included reach out efforts in both Spanish and English to get their input on what the team name, colors, and crest would look like. If the support among the community that the San Diego Loyal has garnered over the last two seasons is any indicator, then her teammates and coaches should expect nothing but open arms from game one.
“I think it’s going to be a really good turnout especially having big-name players,” Johnson stated. “I think it’s going to be a really good environment. San Diego has always needed a women’s soccer team.”