What Comes Next for San Diego NWSL?
A Conversation With Molly Downtain
Guest post courtesy of our friend, Hector Trujilo
I recently had the opportunity to speak with recently appointed San Diego NWSL General Manager Molly Downtain on what the plans are for the new expansion team that is set to start competition in 2022 at Torero Stadium located on the University of San Diego campus.
First, have a listen to what Jill Ellis has to say about Molly:
The cheerful 31-year-old mother-to-be (any day now!) has a very full agenda with less than 10 months before the 2022 NWSL regular season kicks off. Her experience having spent more than six years working for the U.S Soccer Federation as both National Teams Coordinator and Women’s National Team Administrator, along with knowing what it’s like to succeed on the pitch, make her the perfect person for bringing a quality product to America’s Finest City.
“Figuring out a ways to meaningfully connect with those local clubs will be huge”
“We’re definitely going to look for meaningful ways to connect to the community”, said Downtain. “A big piece piece for us will be the youth side as well. I think there is so much locally-based talent. So figuring out a ways to meaningfully connect with those local clubs will be huge, but that doesn’t take away that we looking for way to connect with our older audience as well”.
SoccerNation Q&A with Molly Downtain:
Q: How did the final choice for picking Torero Stadium as your home field come about?
A: “Torero will be our stadium to start. Our ownership is really interested in building a stadium in San Diego. He really wants to commit to having a specific stadium for women’s soccer, so we’ve looked at some of those options, and then also we’ve seen what SDSU is building with Aztec Stadium which is also awesome. I think we have two really good options. I don’t think our home base will be Torero forever, we’re going to use it for the time being, and then we’ll probably move into something that we can call home.”
Q: How does the fact that San Diego Loyal has already built a fan base over the last couple of years help or hurt your team?
A: I think it definitely helps. I think what Loyal have done is amazing and the fan base they’ve built is amazing. So we’re excited to see how that crossover can happen, I’m sure there will be plenty of cross over from both of the fan bases and we hope so. The Loyal have been a great resource to tap into. We’ve had some minor discussions here and there, and obviously that’s going to expand more when we’re sharing Torero for the time period. They’ve been a great asset to learn from and we hope to be doing some more of that.”
Two potential rivalries
Q: How quickly will the team be able build upon the potential rivalries that exist with the clubs in Los Angeles and Tijuana?
A: ‘We’re really excited that there’s two potential rivalries and that’s probably a little different than other places in the league. I think Angel City has done so well with what they’ve rolled out and I know we’re going to be doing well. Excited for that one and creating kind of a great derby locally, we’ll see what they end up calling it. I think the Xolos Femenil can be a great rivalry as well. I think there’s opportunities to play exhibition matches against them, but I also think there’s a great opportunity to have a partnership with them. We both are going to be pulling from the locally based talent pool. So having that relationship, hopefully I can create that connection here. I plan to reach out to their general manager and at least build that partnership, the Liga MX Femenil has just absolutely blossomed in the last two years, so I think it’s a very interesting league and I’m excited about that close connection.”
“It’s the roster building that we are heavily focused on right now.”
Q: Will you he doing community outreach or getting input from fans in terms of the final branding, crest, kit looks like for the team?
A: I know fans are chomping at the bit to get some of those pieces. From our perspective and what Jill’s (Ellis) goal was and ownership’s perspective is to focus on the product on the field. That’s why Casey (Stoney) and myself were probably the first hires is because we want to produce a great product in the field. The other pieces, the branding pieces, that will come and there’s no doubt we’ll get some community feedback on that. We obviously have a short runway to 2022 and all of those pieces are the fun pieces too, it’s the roster building that we are heavily focused on right now.
Thank you, Hector and Molly!
Stay tuned, SoccerNation family. Pro Soccer is just getting started in San Diego!