by Photo courtesy of San Diego Wave FC

The San Diego Wave recently announced it has signed 15-year-old Melanie Barcenas of Clairemont to a three-year contract through the 2025 season. 

Bercenas is the first youth local player to be signed in NWSL history, as well as joining the wave through the league’s new Under-18 Entry Mechanism. According to the league, Barcenas is now officially the youngest-ever contracted NWSL player. 

“I’m very excited to sign my first professional contract with my hometown team, San Diego Wave a statement. It’s been a dream of mine to not just play in the NWSL but to have the opportunity to represent this city since the announcement of the Wave last year. I know I am young, but the team and coaching staff have been amazing, and I look forward to learning from them every day as I continue to develop.” 

Barcenas spent her youth career playing for San Diego Surf. On Jan 1, 2021, she became the first high school player to sign a name, image, and likeness (NIL) deal with Nike. 

She has been called into the U-14, U-15, and U-16 U.S. Women’s National Teams for training camps. Most recently, she was called up to the U.S. U-17 Women’s Youth National Team for matches against England and was the youngest player on the roster as the lone player born in 2007.

“We are very happy that Melanie and her family have decided to entrust her hometown club as the place for her to begin her professional career. The coaches at San Diego Surf have been instrumental in helping her develop as a person and as a player for her entire youth career. We’re excited to maximize her potential through the coming years while being patient and deliberate in advancing her development while ensuring she retains some routine and normalcy of being a teenager,” Casey Stoney, San Diego Wave FC Head Coach.

The San Diego Wave FC kicks off the club’s second season on March 25 against the Chicago Red Stars, slated to kick off at 7 p.m. at Snapdragon Stadium. Tickets are available. 

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