San Diego Wave FC acquire María Sánchez in record-setting trade

SAN DIEGO (FOX 5/KUSI) — San Diego Wave FC acquired veteran forward María Sánchez from the Houston Dash in a trade that set a new National Women’s Soccer League record, the club announced on Saturday.

The Mexican National Team star will be moving to San Diego from the Houston Dash, who will be receiving $500,000 in return and international slots for 2024 and 2025. The trade sets a new record for the largest intra-league exchange of funds in NWSL history, according to ESPN.

According to Wave officials, the $500,000 fee will be broken down into two payments: $300,000 in transfer funds and $200,000 in allocation money.

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“We are thrilled to bring María to San Diego and offer her a warm welcome to our club and community,” Wave President Jill Ellis said in a release. “For club and country, María has been an integral part of every team she has been on and her talent will be a wonderful addition to the club.”

The trade comes just four months after Sánchez, 28, signed a lucrative $1.5 million, three-year deal with the Dash after becoming a restricted free agent in the offseason. At the time, the deal was the largest in NWSL history.

However, on Thursday, the forward announced her intention to seek a trade in a post on X, formerly Twitter. The first trade window for NWSL closed at midnight on Friday.

“This has all taken a toll and isn’t an easy thing to talk about, but I want to confirm that I requested an immediate trade,” she said. “This club has been aware of this since late March and my expectations and reasons have been clear.”

“I’m eager to refocus and dive back into what I love most: playing football,” she continued.

Sánchez brings over 180 appearances in league and international play to the Wave lineup, including 71 matches across all competitions in NWSL. She has also represented Mexico in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Concacaf W Championship in 2022, Pan American Games in 2023 and the Concacaf W Championship in 2024.

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In two seasons with the Dash, the America Falls, Idaho native tallied 14 assists and scored eight goals. She also lead Houston to its first-ever NWSL Playoff berth in 2022 — her first year with the club.

According to ESPN, her $1.5 million deal will remain in place with the move to San Diego, joining the team through 2026. A mutual option will be available for 2027.

The Wave are slated to return to the club’s home at Snapdragon Stadium on Saturday, April 27 to host Bay FC. It is unclear whether Sánchez will be taking to the pitch alongside her new teammates during this game.

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