Meet 2 of the soccer legends, SJ natives behind Bay FC women's team

Lauren Martinez Image
Thursday, July 27, 2023
Meet 2 of the soccer legends, SJ natives behind Bay FC women's team
Danielle Slaton and Brandi Chastain connected with fans at PayPal Park before a Women's World Cup watch party. Many were thanking them for their help in bringing a women's team to the Bay Area.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Soccer legends and San Jose natives Danielle Slaton and Brandi Chastain are proud to bring professional women's soccer to the Bay Area.

Bay FC, the newest professional women's soccer team will call PayPal Park home.

"From this day forward we're going to see little boys and little girls never know a world where professional women's sports doesn't exist," Slaton said.

Slaton along with Chastain, Leslie Osborne, and Aly Wagner founded Bay FC.

It's a partnership a few years in the making with the San Jose Earthquakes.

Jared Shawlee, President of the San Jose Earthquakes said the women's game continues to explode.

"We've got world-class universities that have produced amazing teams and so now it's time to do the same thing on the professional level," Shawlee said.

VIDEO: CEO of Bay FC says region's excitement, soccer roots key for new women's team

Bay FC's newly-named CEO Brady Stewart spoke on the excitement developing in the Bay Area around the new women's soccer team.

Just recently, PayPal Park hosted the Women's National Team for its 2023 FIFA World Cup Send-Off Match.

"We're seeing it with the sold-out game we had here at PayPal Park two weeks ago that was actually the fifth year in a row we've sold out the women's National Team here in San Jose," Shawlee said.

Hundreds of families attended a watch party Wednesday night on the grass of PayPal Park to see the U.S. Women's National Team take on the Netherlands in the World Cup.

Before the match, Chastain and Slaton connected with fans. Many were thanking them for their help in bringing a team to the Bay.

"We can't deny young girls this pathway to whatever is they want to be- doctors, lawyers, moms, librarians, owners of a team, players of a team, we can't deny them that," Chastain said.

Right now 35% of the Women's National Team have Bay Area ties - Chastain and other founders want to continue that trend and make it even bigger.

"Women's sports is absolutely integral to the success of women outside of the lines of the game," Chastain said.

VIDEO: Bay Area soccer fans send off US Women's National Team to 2023 FIFA World Cup

The USWNT soaked up every bit of sunshine and warm weather before heading off to winter time Down Under for the 2023 FIFA World Cup.

Growing up, Chastain and Slaton had to prove their place on a team.

When Slaton was 5 years old she was the only girl on an all-boys team in East San Jose.

When Chastain was in 7th grade at Caroline Davis a good friend had to advocate for her.

"When we got out to the tryouts it wasn't - nobody looked like us and the coach was like 'What are you doing here?'" Chastain said. "We said we want to play soccer and he said well it's really not for you. And that kind of made us take a back. My very good friend Steven Robinson who is still living in San Jose said, 'Coach I think you better watch these girls they're really good.' That was the first time I saw allyship in something that didn't look like me didn't represent me in a physical form but had my back."

Now the former Women's National Team players are inspiring others to dream big.

Jennie Fung from Mill Valley said bringing Bay FC to the Bay will hopefully pave the way for other cities.

"I love that the founders are here, that they show up- that there's access to the people who brought women's soccer to the Bay who made the sport popular in the first place," Fung said.

The season for Bay FC kicks off at PayPal Park in March 2024.

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