San Diego Wave FC’s Jaedyn Shaw is getting rave reviews after a debut to remember
You can count the number of minors to play in the NWSL over the years on one hand, and it was something of a surprise to see 17-year-old Jaedyn Shaw in the starting lineup for San Diego Wave FC on Saturday in their away game. against the Chicago Red Stars, her first game eligible to play for the club. But Shaw, who earlier this month signed her first pro deal after being considered an exceptional prospect who didn’t have to wait for the NWSL Draft in the winter, wasn’t just playing, she was thriving.
In fact, she had a big part in the win, scoring the only goal of the game in a 1-0 victory for San Diego, to keep them atop the Shield standings for at least one more weekend.
That ability validated Wave FC head coach Casey Stoney’s decision to start her.
“I’ve seen enough to know she’s capable of starting,” Stoney told reporters after the game. “I’m a coach who believes: if you’re good enough, you’re old enough. I’ve seen her for a while before we got her signature, so I knew what the talent was, and I think she showed that tonight. I thought her finish was exceptional – she probably could have finished it the first time, but to cut it back and finish so calm and composed, nothing really phased her. We need to work on how we play our principles and philosophy because she hasn’t been here a long time. For a debut at 17, I’m so happy with her. She’s a fantastic addition to our roster.”
Probably the most impressive part of Shaw’s debut goal wasn’t the tally itself, but how she did it. Putting in a support run when Katie Johnson went right in front of the goal, the freshman was not only in the right place to receive Johnson’s square pass right in front of the goal, but she dribbled to her left to elude Chicago goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and get an opening. target to shoot.
To have the presence of mind and poise to actually see it through is very impressive indeed. San Diego goalie Kailen Sheridan gave Shaw plenty of props in the postgame press conference, and the rookie himself was about as you’d expect a teenager to be in his first media availability: Happy, a little shy, but clearly excited for the moment. At one point she explained that she took the dribble on goal because she wanted to avoid Naeher hitting her when she got the ball, and laughs throughout the explanation.
At the same time, Shaw’s demeanor at the press conference belied the apparent maturity to get to this point at such a tender age.
“It’s definitely an honor,” Shaw said of his debut. “I’ve been manifesting and praying for this time for so long and I just think it’s an incredible opportunity to play at this stage and be able to score a goal. I think it’s about being confident in your abilities and your teammates and it was a great ball across the board. I had one job: to put it in the net.”
And if she continues to do her job when she returns from the U-20 World Cup, Shaw’s sparkling debut could just be the start of something special, both for her and San Diego.
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