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NWSL Mar 22, 2023

San Diego Wave FC signs 15-year-old Melanie Barcenas as NWSL’s youngest player

NWSL club San Diego Wave FC has signed 15-year-old local talent Melanie Barcenas to a three-year contract through the 2025 season.

The San Diegan becomes the first youth local player to be signed in NWSL history, as well as the first to join the Wave through the league’s new Under-18 Entry Mechanism. In addition, Barcenas is now officially the youngest-ever contracted NWSL player at 15 years and 138 days.

“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,” said San Diego Wave FC head coach Casey Stoney. “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.”

A native of Clairemont, San Diego, Barcenas has spent her youth career playing for San Diego Surf. In addition, Barcenas became the first high school player to sign a name, image and likeness (NIL) deal with Nike when she signed on Jan. 1, 2022.

At the international level, Barcenas has been called into the U-14, U-15 and U-16 U.S. Women’s National Teams for training camps. Most recently, Barcenas 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.

“I’m very excited to sign my first professional contract with my hometown team, San Diego Wave,” Barcenas said. “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.”

San Diego Wave FC kicks off the club’s second season this Saturday, March 25 against the Chicago Red Stars. Kickoff is slated at 7 p.m. PT at Snapdragon Stadium. Tickets for the match are available here.

Melanie Barcenas
Position: Forward
Height: 5-4
Date of Birth: Oct. 30, 2007
Hometown: Clairemont, Calif.
Birthplace: San Diego, Calif.