(Reuters) – San Diego Wave FC have acquired the rights to sign United States World Cup-winning defender Abby Dahlkemper, the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) expansion team announced on Monday.

The move will see the three-time NWSL champion, 28, reunited with former U.S. women’s national team coach Jill Ellis, who is club president and with whom she won the World Cup in 2019.

“Abby is one of the best center backs in the world and a proven winner at the club and international level,” Ellis said in a statement. “Having coached her with the USA, I know first-hand about the qualities she can bring to a team and a group.”

The league’s 2017 defender of the year wrote on Twitter: “So excited to be the first player in Wave FC history!”

Dahlkemper most recently played for the Houston Dash, after the North Carolina Courage traded her in August. She also had a spell with Manchester City in England’s Women’s Super League.

Wave FC are one of two teams that will feature for the first time next year along with Angel City FC in Los Angeles.

The league saw two additional clubs, Racing Louisville FC and Kansas City Current, debut last season, which finished on Saturday with Washington Spirit clinching their first championship with a 2-1 win nL1N2SB0FG over Chicago Red Stars.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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