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Taylor Hansen, of Cardiff, recently joined the San Diego Wave FC after a successful colegaite career at the University of Montana.
Taylor Hansen went undrafted after a stellar career at the University of Montana. But the defender earned a spot with the San Diego Wave, which opens its first National Women’s Soccer League season on March 19. Photo courtesy San Diego Wave FC
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Cardiff’s Hansen rides pro soccer Wave

With the last name of Hansen and being a Cardiff resident, we can’t wait to see Taylor Hansen riding the local waves.

“I don’t surf,” she said. “Yet.”

What Hansen does do, and very well, is play soccer. She proved that by conquering the daunting odds of an undrafted player making the San Diego Wave Futbol Club women’s soccer team.

“It was surreal when I found out that I made the team and I started crying immediately,” Hansen said. “It was more of just a feeling of gratitude after going through a lot of emotions over the past couple of months.”

The Wave’s season gets started on March 19 at Cal State Fullerton in the Challenge Cup, with Hansen on the squad’s inaugural roster as a member of the National Women’s Soccer League.

Taylor Hansen practicing with San Diego Wave FC teammates.
Taylor Hansen practicing with San Diego Wave FC teammates. Photo courtesy of San Diego Wave FC

The Wave opens its home season at the University of San Diego on March 26. Eventually, the Wave will call Snapdragon Stadium home, the new venue that will also house San Diego State football contests.

It was no contest regarding what Hansen had in mind after an impressive career at the University of Montana. She was going to stay in the game she embraced since she was 4.

“I wasn’t ready to let it go,” said Hansen, a Del Norte High graduate. “If it didn’t work out (with the Wave), I was going to play overseas or see what else was going on.”

Instead, she latched on with the Wave, a team that is filled with well-known names in women’s soccer circles, including national team star Alex Morgan.

“Alex is so supportive and positive,” Hansen said. “She helps create a really good culture on this team. It’s incredible to be able to learn from the best.”

Hansen hoped her best would be good enough to ride with the Wave. It was, but playing professionally was hardly a goal for Hansen, who as a junior high student competed in the San Diego Surf youth program at the then-Del Mar Polo Fields.

Then the accolades started piling up at Montana, where she was a regular on the All-Big Sky Conference squad. Then, when this Grizzly great was named to the All-West Region team in 2020, the vision of her future changed.

“To see my name among the players on that list was eye-opening for me,” said Hansen, a defender who set the Montana record by competing in 92 matches, with 81 career starts. “I started doing things in a different light, thinking it was actually possible to play professionally.”

Taylor Hansen, of Cardiff, recently joined the San Diego Wave FC after a successful colegaite career at the University of Montana.
At the University of Montana, Taylor Hansen, of Cardiff, was named to the All-West Region team in 2020. Photo courtesy of Grizzlies Athletics

All Hansen needed was a chance, but it didn’t come through the draft. But she had caught the Wave’s eye and that was the break she seized upon.

“(Hansen) earned her contract by the way she’s applied herself through her athleticism, her attitude, her coachability and her character,” Wave coach Casey Stoney said. “She has an incredible story.”

It’s a tale of Hansen’s grit and embracing the grind that resonates with younger players, especially girls seeking an avenue to chase their athletic dreams.

“When they come up to me, it’s just awesome the way they are looking at me,” she said. “That part of it hasn’t really sunk in yet.”

It’ll be sink-or-paddle when Hansen finally does go surfing. But first she got on board with the Wave.

Contact Jay Paris at [email protected] and follow him @jparis_sports