Casey Stoney is staying in San Diego, signing a multi-year contract extension with the San Diego Wave through 2027 with a mutual option year in 2028.

“When we brought Casey on board, we were confident that her exceptional leadership qualities, coupled with her extensive experience as both a player and coach at the highest levels, would make her the perfect fit for San Diego, and she has more than exceeded our high expectations,” Wave President Jill Ellis said in a team statement.

“Her commitment and passion for winning, developing our young players, and her loyalty to this club and city speaks volumes to who she is as a coach and as a person.”

The extension clearly signals Stoney’s intention to stay in the NWSL for the foreseeable future despite being in the mix for other positions in recent years. Most notably in 2024, her name had been brought up as a candidate to replace incoming USWNT manager Emma Hayes at Chelsea FC in the WSL, where Stoney most recently managed Manchester United.

She was subsequently reported as having withdrawn her name from consideration for the Chelsea job by the Sunday Times.

Now, Stoney feels she can make a statement with definitive terms that will bring stability and focus to the Wave as they kick off NWSL preseason.

“It stops the rumors, which is really important when we’re trying to recruit players,” Stoney tells Just Women’s Sports. “It enables me to be settled, obviously my family here as well, which shows the club’s commitment to me and I’m fully committed to the club.”

A settled life in San Diego has been hard-earned for the 41-year-old; it took 22 months for Stoney’s family to make the permanent move to California from England, a difficult separation that she has little desire to revisit. “I think people need to sometimes just consider all aspects,” she says.

“I’ve got three young children and a partner that are massively supportive. But to move them continents across the world to then potentially be linked with rumors going somewhere else, it’s difficult for my partner as well. But we always have very open and honest conversations, there was never any doubt about me being committed here.”

Possibilities of a coach going elsewhere can also affect a club’s ability to recruit talent, and Stoney says she wasn’t afraid to answer obvious questions by prospective signings. “I’ll always be honest with the players, like I’m naturally going to get linked to certain jobs, because I’ve either played for the club or managed the club,” she says. Stoney played for Chelsea from 2007-11, and temporarily served as player-manager in 2009 following the resignation of Steve Jones.

“When jobs open up, obviously being a female coach and being in the game you naturally get linked. My job is to stay focused on how I develop this team, develop these players and stay committed to what I believe in, which is what we’re building here.”

The Wave have allowed a league-low 43 goals across 2022 and 2023 under Stoney's leadership (Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports)

Stoney has already overseen unprecedented success for an NWSL expansion side, winning the league Shield with San Diego in the club’s second year of existence. She boasts a 21-10-13 record, and has comfortably made the NWSL playoffs in both years at the helm of the team.

She also joins Seattle Reign head coach Laura Harvey in emphasizing her desire to keep building in the NWSL despite outside interest, as clubs in the league work to remain competitive in attracting and retaining top coaching talent. That loyalty could possibly pay off for everyone, with the NWSL poised to take a tactical leap forward in 2024.

“This is the most competitive league in the world. You come here, you’re going to have a fierce competition every single week,” Stoney says. “There’s no big score-lines, it’s competitive, it’s fast, it’s athletic. What we’re trying to do is add more tactical nuance to the game, and I think with the coaches that are in the game now, I think it’s the strongest it’s been.”

She notes top coaching talent like Barcelona’s Jonatan Giráldez taking over at the Washington Spirit as an inflection point for managerial investment, as well as recent international players like Esther joining the NWSL and equating it to “Champions League football, every single week” as a testament to the league’s selling points.

“I’m fascinated to see how [Giráldez] can gel the players that he’s got into the style of play that he likes to play,” she says, noting that the NWSL’s challenges (like cross-country travel) can be unique. “It’s a very different beast here, and I’m just really interested — I know he’ll get time and hopefully patience, because he’s gonna need a few windows, I think, to build his team out with the way he wants to play.”

For Stoney however, her goals going into the 2024 season are clear: keep developing players, and keep winning. “What the future holds? Who knows,” she says. “You’re only ever as good as your last season anyways. I’m gonna work hard to stay successful here, and make sure that I make it a success.”

“I’m very aware this is a job where you don’t have a lot of security, you have to work to keep it. So my challenge is staying in this job as long as possible, developing my players, and making sure that our team is successful and this club is successful.”

NWSL coaches Laura Harvey and Casey Stoney are reportedly the two leading candidates for the Chelsea women’s job, with current manager Emma Hayes set to take over the USWNT.

According to The Times, senior players on the team want a female to be Hayes’ successor. The Chelsea coach is set to take over as manager of the USWNT after Chelsea’s season concludes.

While other names are being considered, The Times reports that the NWSL’s Laura Harvey and Casey Stoney are the leading candidates for Hayes’ replacement. Harvey currently coaches the Seattle Reign while Stoney leads San Diego Wave FC.

Both coaches have previous experience in the WSL, and are proven winners in the US. Stoney, who joined San Diego from Manchester United, led the team to the NWSL Shield in 2023. Harvey, meanwhile, is a three-time Shield winner and was the manager at Arsenal before joining the NWSL.

Harvey’s name has appeared on a number of coaching shortlists, including on the list for USWNT coach, having previously been an assistant for the national team. In August, she noted that her “priority” was her NWSL club.

“I’m very mindful that this is my priority – this job is my priority,” she said. “I love it here, that’s no secret. I’ve committed to the future of this club. … I actually give our team and player credit if my name is anywhere near anything, because that just shows the performances that our group’s been putting in.”

Several NWSL head coaches have spoken out against the expansion draft.

Sean Nahas of the North Carolina Courage, Laura Harvey of OL Reign and Casey Stoney of the San Diego Wave all condemned the draft for the lack of control it creates for players and existing teams.

All three coaches had multiple players selected from their squads in Friday’s expansion draft for Bay FC and Utah Royals FC, both of which will join the league in 2024.

“I don’t think people actually realize the damage that is created by this process and what it does to players, clubs and those relationships. We should be protecting the league and not 9 players per roster. There needs to be another way,” Nahas wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Before the draft, North Carolina and San Diego engaged in trades with the new teams to try and limit their losses in the draft and to maintain more control over the future of their lineups. OL Reign did not make any trades with either Bay FC or Utah Royals FC.

Yet all three teams lost two players to the new clubs. And coaches and players aren’t happy with the lives being uprooted.

“I’d just like to make it official. I dislike the expansion draft. I also dislike that I chose to be in England whilst it was on, so now it’s 1.30am and I’m wired. Thanks very much!” Harvey wrote on X.

Many NWSL fans seem to be in agreement with coaches and players about disliking the expansion draft. Some have proposed earlier free agency, so teams can sign all of their own talent with more control from existing teams and players. None of the coaches who spoke out offered specific solutions — but they believe a new way could be found.

“We have to find a different way!!!! It can be done because I have done it!!!!!!” Stoney said on X.

The U.S. women’s national team has been on the hunt for its next head coach.

From OL Reign’s Laura Harvey to Australia’s Tony Gustavsson, the rumor mill has been buzzing with names. But after a three-month search, Chelsea head coach Emma Hayes seems primed to take the job.

Just Women’s Sports has been keeping track of the conversations surrounding the search for Vlatko Andonovski’s replacement. Check back here for the latest.

Nov. 4: Chelsea’s Emma Hayes in line for USWNT opening

Emma Hayes is set to become the next head coach of the U.S. women’s national team, according to multiple reports.

The 47-year-old from England is stepping down as Chelsea head coach at the end of the Women’s Super League season. While the Women’s Super League season does not end until May 2024, Hayes could join the USWNT during international breaks over the next seven months before stepping into the role full-time at the conclusion of the season, Backheeled reported.

Hayes joined Chelsea as head coach in 2012. In her 11 seasons with the club, not including the 2023-24 season, she has won six league titles, five FA Cups, two FA League Cups and one Community Shield.

Oct. 27: OL Reign’s Harvey, Australia’s Gustavsson and Juventus’ Montemurro top shortlist

U.S. Soccer has whittled down its candidate pool, with three names atop the shortlist, The Athletic reported Friday.

OL Reign head coach Laura Harvey, Australia head coach Tony Gustavsson and Juventus women’s head coach Joe Montemurro are the leading contenders, though each comes with pros and cons.

Oct. 23: Becky Sauerbrunn: USWNT is ‘getting closer’ to hire

The 38-year-old defender spoke with reporters about the coaching search ahead of the USWNT’s October friendlies.

“I have been involved a little bit, but just kind of updated periodically about where they are in the process,” Sauerbrunn said. “I don’t know names of candidates or anything like that, but I was aware of when candidates were being flown in for interviews and that sort of thing.

“We’re getting close and I think that they’ve got a few candidates that they’re very excited about. But for the most part, it’s just been process and knowing where we are in the process.”

Sept. 29: Lorne Donaldson parts ways with Jamaica

Donaldson, who led Jamaica to the knockout round for the first time at the 2023 World Cup, is parting ways with the team, the Jamaica Football Federation announced Friday.

“After an extended discussion, both parties came to an agreement that the contract would not be renewed,” the JFF wrote on social media. Donaldson’s contract is set to expire on Sept. 30.

While Donaldson has not been linked to the USWNT opening, his name has popped up as an intriguing candidate. He coached USWNT star forwards Sophia Smith and Mallory Swanson during their youth careers in Colorado.

Sept. 24: U.S. Soccer has ‘unbelievably diverse pool’ of candidates

U.S. Soccer has gathered “an unbelievably diversity pool exciting candidates” for the USWNT head coaching position, sporting director Matt Crocker said. He also reaffirmed that the federation is “on track — comfortably on track — to be in a position to have the head coach in place and ready to support the team from that early December camp.”

The diversity in the candidate pool extends to gender, ethnicity and experience levels, which puts the USWNT in position to find the best person for the job, Crocker said.

“I feel really excited about the coaches that we have that are interested in the role, which I think is a great indication of how highly this role is considered across the world game,” he said. “My job has been from the start: Go and find us the best candidate in the world.”

Crocker also is having discussions with USWNT players about what they want to see in the next head coach. He has talked to roughly half of the team so far, and he plans to speak with “every single player,” he said.

Sept. 12: U.S. Soccer lays out timeline for hire

U.S. Soccer is hoping to hire the next head coach of the USWNT by December, sporting director Matt Crocker told TNT.

Interim head coach Twila Kilgore will remain in her position for the team’s September friendlies against South Africa and its October friendlies against Colombia.

“Twila will pick up the September and the October camps with the staff,” he said. “And you know, in an ideal world, we’d like to be in a position for the December camp to have the new head coach in place.”

For Crocker, the ability to make tactical changes on the fly is an important attribute for the next coach. He also wants the USWNT head coach to be a hands-on presence within U.S. Soccer, including at its Chicago headquarters.

Sept. 6: Mia Hamm offers decisive ‘no’ on USWNT job

The USWNT legend shut down any discussion of her name in connection with the opening, saying she does not have the “bandwidth” or “patience” for the job.

“I’m not the coaching type,” she told when asked if she would want to lead the team. Hamm joins several other players in turning the conversation toward more experienced coaching candidates.

Aug. 21: Carli Lloyd calls herself ‘definite no’ for USWNT opening

Several former USWNT players weighed in on their own credentials for the USWNT head coaching job.

Lloyd called herself “a definite no” given her lack of coaching licenses and experience. Brandi Chastain also said she is “not ready” this time around, but she said she would “love to lead this national team some time in the future.”

Former goalkeeper Briana Scurry did not throw her hat into the ring as a head coaching candidate. But when asked if she would be up for a position with U.S. Soccer, Scurry did not say no. “I would definitely consider it,” she told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

All of the above players also offered their take on what they want to see in the next head coach, as have current USWNT players, including Christen Press, Tobin Heath and Andi Sullivan.

“You need somebody, a leader, with a keen understanding of the system that is going to be played, how to implement the system, and which players are best for the system,” Heath said. “That doesn’t mean: Who are the best players? Who’s scoring the most goals? Who’s everyone talking about? It’s not that at all.”

Aug. 19: Casey Stoney remains ‘very happy’ with San Diego Wave

The San Diego Wave head coach joked about being floated as a candidate because of her gender amid a debate over whether the next USWNT head coach should be a woman. But she didn’t offer much beyond that, only saying that she is happy in her current role with the Wave.

“I think there’s people that will go into that role and do very well,” she said. “I’m very happy where I am. I’m at a club that’s building something very special. I’m invested in my players and I will stay invested in my players.”

Aug. 19: Australia’s Tony Gustavsson downplays rumors

A former USWNT assistant under Jill Ellis, Gustavsson led the Matildas to the 2023 World Cup semifinal in their home country. And in the immediate aftermath of the tournament, he seemed committed to the future of the Australia program, though that could change if the USWNT comes calling.

“I don’t see this as an end of a journey. I see it as the beginning of a journey,” he said after Australia’s loss to Sweden in the third-place match. “But I also want to be very clear that I want to see investment now. I really do. I want to see investment and I mean like real investment that we’re serious about what we do.”

Gustavsson is under contract with Football Australia until the end of Australia’s 2024 Olympics run, but Ellis tabbed him as a “strong candidate” for the USWNT opening.

Aug. 18: Sarina Wiegman has ‘no plans to leave’ England

The 53-year-old Netherlands native led England to the World Cup final, where the Lionesses lost 1-0 to Spain. When asked about the USWNT job, she reiterated the details of her current contract.

“I have a contract until 2025,” Wiegman said. “I’m really enjoying my job, and I have the impression that people still like me doing that job. I have no plans to leave.”

The English Football Association plans to reject any approaches from rival countries interested in the manager, CEO Mark Bullingham said.

Aug. 16: Lluís Cortés linked to USWNT opening

The former head coach of FC Barcelona Femení, he is stepping down as coach of the Ukrainian women’s national team at the end of August upon the expiration of his contract. He had been in conversations with some NWSL clubs, per The Athletic, but Relevo has reported that he also had been contacted by U.S. Soccer.

Aug. 7: Laura Harvey: USWNT head coach is ‘top job in the world’

Even before Andonovski’s resignation, the OL Reign head coach was asked about a potential USWNT opening. She was on the shortlist for the job in 2019 before Andonovski was selected as Ellis’ successor, and she worked as a head coach at the developmental levels while also serving as an assistant coach to the senior team in 2020 and 2021.

And while she called the OL Reign her priority, she also labeled the USWNT head coaching position as “probably the top job in the world.”

“I enjoyed my time at U.S. Soccer. That’s no doubt,” she said. “The U.S. women’s national team is probably the top job in the world, if not a top three job in the world. That’s just reality. And if my name is anywhere near it, then that’s an honor.”

Sophia Smith is looking to run it back as NWSL MVP, as the Portland Thorns star is nominated for the top individual award for the second straight season.

In 2022, Smith became the youngest MVP in the history of the league. The 23-year-old has built a solid case for the 2023 award, leading the league with 11 goals and winning the Golden Boot award. But the Portland Thorns forward also missed significant time due to the World Cup and a knee injury.

That opens the doors for other candidates, including San Diego Wave defender Naomi Girma. Another repeat MVP finalist, Girma won the Defender of the Year and Rookie of the Year awards in 2022.

Another top candidate: North Carolina Courage star Kerolin, Just Women’s Sports‘ pick for the award. Kerolin, Girma and Smith are joined by Kansas City Current forward Debinha and Thorns midfielder Sam Coffey.

Girma also is nominated once again for the Defender of the Year award. But repeating could prove a challenge, as both Gotham FC captain Ali Krieger and Washington Spirit star Sam Staab have had outstanding defensive seasons. Kaleigh Kurtz and Sarah Gorden round out the nominees.

Alyssa Thompson, meanwhile, leads the Rookie of the Year candidates, having lived up to the hype as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NWSL draft.

She is joined by Messiah Bright of the Orlando Pride and Jenna Nighswonger of Gotham FC. Bright is Just Women’s Sports’ pick for Rookie of the Year after finishing with six goals on the season and proving wrong everyone who passed her over in the draft.

Both Angel City’s Becki Tweed and Gotham FC’s Juan Carolos Amorós challenge for Coach of the Year, as does San Diego Wave’s Casey Stoney – to no surprise.

The choice between Katie Lund of Racing Louisville, Jane Campbell of the Houston Dash and Kailen Sheridan of the San Diego Wave for Goalkeeper of the Year is a tough one, although Lund has had a solid year and is Just Women’s Sports’ pick. Sheridan is looking to repeat as winner.

NWSL fans can vote on the award winners via online ballot any time before 12 p.m. ET Friday. The NWSL uses a weighted voting formula — 40% from players, 25% from owners, general managers and coaches, 25% from media and 10% from fans.

2023 NWSL award nominees

Kerolin scored 10 goals for the North Carolina Courage in 2023. (Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports)

Most Valuable Player

  • Sam Coffey, Portland Thorns
  • Debinha, Kansas City Current
  • Naomi Girma, San Diego Wave
  • Kerolin, North Carolina Courage
  • Sophia Smith, Portland Thorns
Naomi Girma won Defender of the Year as a rookie in 2022. (Justin Fine/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Defender of the Year

  • Naomi Girma, San Diego Wave
  • Sarah Gorden, Angel City FC
  • Ali Krieger, Gotham FC
  • Kaleigh Kurtz, North Carolina Courage
  • Sam Staab, Washington Spirit
Katie Lund had a stellar season for Racing Louisville. (EM Dash/USA TODAY Sports)

Goalkeeper of the Year

  • Jane Campbell, Houston Dash
  • Katie Lund, Racing Louisville
  • Kailen Sheridan, San Diego Wave
Messiah Bright scored six goals in her first season with the Orlando Pride. (Stephen Brashear/USA TODAY Sports)

Rookie of the Year

  • Messiah Bright, Orlando Pride
  • Jenna Nighswonger, Gotham FC
  • Alyssa Thompson, Angel City FC
Interim head coach Becki Tweed led Angel City FC to a playoff spot. (Kiyoshi Mio/USA TODAY Sports)

Coach of the Year

  • Juan Carlos Amorós, Gotham FC
  • Casey Stoney, San Diego Wave
  • Becki Tweed, Angel City FC

In just their second year as a team, the San Diego Wave have won the NWSL Shield.

Sunday’s 2-0 win over Racing Louisville pushed the Wave into the top spot in the standings, and then the Portland Thorns’ 5-1 loss to Angel City FC sealed San Diego’s place atop the regular-season standings.

So at the end of the NWSL’s first Decision Day, the Shield was presented to the Wave. They finished with 37 points and a record of 11-4-7 (W-D-L). The Thorns finished in second place with 35 points.

In San Diego’s first season as an expansion team in 2022, the club finished third in the league. In 2023, the Wave were even better.

The season-ending win also proved poetic, with Alex Morgan and Jaedyn Shaw scoring for San Diego. They’re the top two scorers for the Wave this season, and perhaps there was no better way to close out the campaign than with goals from their veteran leader and their 18-year-old star.

For Morgan, winning the NWSL Shield in the team’s second year represents “quite an accomplishment.”

“I was just thinking, ‘F*** yeah,’ just so proud of this team,” the 34-year-old forward said after the game. “It’s quite an accomplishment to be able to do this in the second year for an expansion team.

“We know that we have this special opportunity to host the final, and we want to be there. We want to be that team that leads San Diego to a championship.”

With the No. 1 seed heading into the playoffs, the Wave are cresting at just the right time. And the NWSL Championship match is set for 8 p.m. ET Saturday, Nov. 11, at San Diego’s Snapdragon Stadium, so if they live up to their seeding, they will host the final on their home turf.

And while head coach Casey Stoney knows what the NWSL Shield means, she also knows that it makes her team an even bigger target in the playoffs. But she’s not letting that deter the Wave.

“We will be the team to beat,” she said. “We should be the team to beat because we just won the Shield.”

Alex Morgan hasn’t scored since May.

The 34-year-old forward has five goals on the NWSL season, but she has not scored for club or country since a regular season matchup between the San Diego Wave and Houston Dash on May 20. She was the leading scorer in the NWSL last season with 15 goals.

But that doesn’t mean she hasn’t been instrumental for the first-place Wave.

“I thought Alex Morgan was outstanding last game,” Wave head coach Casey Stoney said Thursday. “I think she hit every bit of woodwork possible, but that’s what she can do. She can keep getting in the right areas, keep taking the shots and it’ll come.

“You don’t go from being a world-class striker to being a poor player overnight. She’s a fantastic player. She’s still a world-class striker and the goals will come. Her contributions this season for us have been magnificent even when she’s not scoring goals, so keeping her in a good space is important.”

If there was a time for Morgan to get scoring, it would be now. There are four games left in the regular season before the Wave start their playoff run.

“It excites me actually,” Stoney said, “the amount of opportunity she is getting and the amount we are creating as a team. If we can start turning them into goals, wins become more comfortable.”

Jaedyn Shaw received her first U.S. women’s national team call-up Tuesday, and she’s preparing for the lessons that come with it.

The 18-year-old forward will be appearing in her first senior-level camp ahead of friendlies against South Africa on Sept. 21 and 24. And while the objective is for Shaw to ease into her role with the USWNT – she’s been told this will be a “no-pressure camp” – she’s embracing the opportunity.

“I’ve always loved high-pressure moments,” Shaw told reporters Thursday. “I have been told that this is a no-pressure camp, just getting my feet in the water and kind of enjoying the experience, and that’s something that I’m really taking to heart. I’m just trying to go and learn as much as I can, gain as much as I can from this experience.”

Getting the call was “an amazing, happy moment.” She shared it with her mom, who was her first call after she received the news and was “practically crying through the phone,” Shaw said.

She also spoke with her San Diego Wave teammate Naomi Girma, who already has USWNT experience.

“I feel like I’ve already bombarded [Girma] with a bunch of questions,” Shaw said. “One of them was seating arrangements, on the bus, in the meetings. That was something that I know a lot of teams, you kind of have [assigned seats]. I know we do, like I have my front row seat…I was like, ‘Where do I sit?’

“I think another thing was, how do the training kits fit, so I know what size to get? And then there was like, if I need to bring a notebook, what do you pack? Like that kind of stuff. Literally not even soccer-based. It’s just stuff off the field.”

San Diego head coach Casey Stoney knows just how much the USWNT call-up means for Shaw, and she called it “deserved” for a “quality player with huge potential and a huge amount of talent.”

“It’s a great opportunity for her to go in without any pressure,” Stoney said. “Being in a senior environment is very different than being in a youth environment. I think she’ll go in and she’ll show her quality. It’s just for her, going in and soaking it all up, soaking in the experience.”

Stoney also opened up a bit Thursday about how she’s tried to ensure that Shaw doesn’t feel any added pressure. She’s no stranger to managing young players, something she says that has been a journey of learning and, at times, getting it wrong.

“I learned so much more from the ones that I got it wrong with,” she said, admitting that she “got it wrong” with Ebony Salmon while she was with Manchester United. “Whereas before, I might be quite harsh and stern on those players, I think now I see it as they’re on a road. And sometimes they’re gonna get lost. It’s my job to keep trying to put them back on track and keep them on that journey, and guide them and educate them.”

She also called Shaw “unbelievable” and “an absolute dream” to manage.

“She has nothing on her mind other than being the best player in the world,” she said. “She’s very coachable, she wants to be the best. For me, it’s just making sure that she’s patient enough in her journey and that she sees the process rather than the outcome all the time.”

The Wave sit atop the NWSL table with four matches remaining. Shaw will play one more match against the Kansas City Current before leaving for her USWNT duties, then will return to close out the regular season with San Diego.

The movement around Jenni Hermoso has reached the NWSL.

In the wake of Hermoso being forcibly kissed by Luis Rubialies, president of the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF), during Spain’s World Cup gold medal ceremony, players on the San Diego Wave and the Orlando Pride wore wristbands of support for Hermoso during their game.

“Contigo Jenni,” read the wristbands.

San Diego forward Kyra Carusa said the gesture was an act of solidarity.

“We wanted to show our support and standing with the Spanish national team and what they have been having to go through,” Carusa told the media. “Having to face what they have to face right now and being brave and strong enough to say something. We want to stand with them.”

After the game, Wave players held up a white T-shirt that read: “We stand with Jenni.”

The gestures echoed a statement earlier in the day from NWSL commissioner Jessica Berman.

“As leaders of leagues, federations and governing bodies, we must protect our players. The actions by the Spanish federation are unconscionable and a reminder that there’s still work to do,” Herman wrote on X. “We stand with Jenni Hermoso and any players who face inappropriate behavior or abuse.”

The Wave also took the game in Florida as an opportunity toprotest the state’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” policy. Players arrived in Orlando wearing shirts that read “Just say” on the front and “Gay” on the back. Wave coach Casey Stoney, one of the most outspoken voices in the league, was also wearing one of the shirts.

The Wave won the game 2-1, after Carusa’s 75th minute goal broke a tie.

San Diego Wave head coach Casey Stoney again called out Spanish soccer federation president Luis Rubiales for his forced kiss of star player Jenni Hermoso at the World Cup, which she described as “completely inappropriate.”

“If you are prepared to do that on the world stage in front of millions, what goes on behind closed doors?” she asked of the Spanish federation before asking the sport’s governing bodies to intervene.

Rubiales has come under fire for his actions following Spain’s 1-0 win over England in the World Cup final, which included the kiss and also grabbing his crotch in celebration. While Hermoso initially downplayed the kiss, the 33-year-old midfielder has since called for action against Rubiales in a statement released in conjunction with her agency and the Spanish players’ union.

FIFA has opened an investigation into Rubiales’ actions, it announced in a statement released Thursday.

Stoney, who already had condemned the Spanish soccer federation president’s kiss of Hermoso, weighed in again Wednesday, drawing a line between the gesture and the broader issue of player-staff relationships. Team staff members “should not be having relationships with players at all,” she said, calling such relationships something that she “absolutely despises” despite having seen them happen repeatedly in the sport.

“You shouldn’t be socializing with players anyway,” she said. “You shouldn’t even be putting yourself in that position. … Don’t come into work and prey on vulnerable women who you are responsible for their contracts or medical or whatever it is, whatever role you play. Don’t have a relationship with players.”

The controversy surrounding Rubiales comes on top of a longstanding dispute between Spanish players and the national federation. Last September, 15 players protested the national team environment and the management style of head coach Jorge Vilda, and just three of those players were selected for the World Cup roster. There is “a reason players were on strike,” Stoney said of the Spanish federation.

And while she made clear that the issue of power imbalance in relationships extends beyond sports, she wants to see the issue addressed within women’s soccer.

“I’m completely against anything that puts a player in a vulnerable position. … So I think the governing bodies, FIFA, UEFA, anybody who’s involved, step in because it’s not acceptable,” Stoney said. “These women get treated like this far too often, far too many times, and something needs to change.