San Diego Wave condemns former employee’s allegations of poor work environment under Jill Ellis

This story has been updated with additional comments from NWSL players.

A former San Diego Wave employee claimed on social media that the club “perpetuated discrimination against women and showed a complete disregard for the long-term mental health of (employees).” The club denies the allegations.

A post on the X account of former Wave video and creative manager Brittany Alvarado claimed that of the more than 30 employees who have been laid off or resigned since the team launched, nearly 75 percent were women. She alleged that the negative treatment of employees was part of an unhealthy work environment fostered by Wave president Jill Ellis.

The post called on the league to remove Ellis from her position with the Wave. Alvarado’s LinkedIn shows she began working for the club in March 2023, with a follow-up post from Alvarado’s account stating she resigned on June 7, 2024.

The Wave responded on social media, denying the allegations.

“San Diego Wave has been made aware of a recent social media post from a former employee that contains false and defamatory statements about the club,” the statement said.

The Wave added that they are reviewing the situation and “intend to pursue all available legal avenues to appropriately address this matter.”

The Wave plans to take legal action following the allegations (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Alvarado further alleged that the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) has not fully implemented the recommendations of both the Sally Yates investigation report and the 2022 NWSLPA joint investigation report, which found systemic unhealthy and abusive work environments at both the league and club levels.

The Wave recently fired head coach Casey Stoney on June 24. Stoney had previously led the team to a first-place finish in the league in the 2023 regular season and a third-place finish in the 2022 standings. In 2024, the Wave was 3-2-6 when Stoney was fired. Stoney commented on her social media that she was disappointed that she “wasn’t given the time to bring a championship to San Diego.”

While Alvarado did not directly link Stoney’s firing to her decision to speak, she specifically mentioned Stoney in her post as a positive influence.

An NWSL spokesperson said: “The safety, health and well-being of everyone associated with our league is our highest priority. We take every report of potential misconduct seriously, retain qualified independent investigators to thoroughly investigate such allegations, and take action when allegations are supported by discovered facts. We have mandated corrective action in every case where reports are substantiated, up to and including removing individuals who do not align with our values ​​and standards.

“We encourage anyone with information regarding possible misconduct to report the misconduct to the League Safety Officer. Individuals may also report anonymously through Real Response by texting 872-259-6975.”

Former U.S. women’s national team player Sydney Leroux has also criticized Ellis in the past, when she was head coach of the U.S. women’s national team from 2014 to 2019.

In 2020, Leroux told “The Crack Podcast,” hosted by DaMarcus Beasley and Oguchi Onyewu, “I liked her as a person, not (as a coach). … We won despite (Ellis). She’s not good for people’s mental health, that’s for sure. The best thing was that she went.”

Leroux voiced her support for Alvarado on Wednesday, writing on X: “It is the courage of one person to tell their story in the hopes that one day more people will feel comfortable enough to tell their stories.”

Alex Morgan, a veteran USWNT star and Wave striker, said she was disappointed to hear about the allegations from former Wave employees.

“As players, we have worked hard to build a team that is surrounded by an inclusive, positive, and safe environment,” Morgan wrote on X. “But it is important to me that we create that environment for both players AND staff throughout the organization. Workplace equity is something I have advocated for and will continue to advocate for.

“I want to be proud of what we are building at the Wave, but it is clear that there is still so much work to be done.”

go deeper


Full Time: Was Casey Stoney’s Firing Too Harsh?

(Ira L. Black – Corbis/Getty Images)

Leave a Comment