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Abby Dahlkemper becomes first player to sign with San Diego Wave FC

Brad Smith/ISI Photos

Abby Dahlkemper is headed to San Diego.

The defender became the first player to sign with the San Diego Wave on Monday, confirming reports that she would be departing North Carolina upon conclusion of the season for one of the league’s two expansion teams.

Dahlkemper spent the final three months of the season on loan to the Houston Dash. Her rights returned to the Courage at the end of the season, with whom she was expected to part ways.

“Abby is one of the best centerbacks in the world and a proven winner at the club and international level,” said Wave FC President Jill Ellis in a release. “Having coached her with the USA, I know first-hand about the qualities she can bring to a team and a group. We look forward to welcoming her to San Diego and our club.”

In return for Dahlkemper, the Courage will receive $190,000 in allocation money as well as San Diego’s first round pick in the 2023 NWSL Draft.

Dahlkemper is a member of the USWNT, with whom she won the 2019 Women’s World Cup. She has ample experience in the NWSL as well, having won three NWSL Championships and being named to the Best XI three times.

“I’ve followed Abby’s career for a long time and always admired her qualities as a centerback,” said Wave FC head coach Casey Stoney. “She’s had a stellar career with the United States and in NWSL, and I coached against her last year when she was playing in England. She’s a top player who I feel has a lot to offer any team on the field and in the locker room. Those qualities will be of great value to our club as we build a team to be competitive in this league. I look forward to working with her on a daily basis.”

San Diego has been active in recent weeks, unveiling in early November that they would be known as San Diego Wave FC.

The 2022 NWSL Expansion Draft is set to take place on Thursday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. ET.