2024 S-2 Briefing: Bay FC

We’re finally at the end of our tour through the league, looking at our prospective opponents, with the second of the two expansion clubs joining the league in 2024.

That would be the third of the outfits to play in California…

Bay FC

Year formed: 2022
The gang that eventually sold this idea to the league is supposed to have started thinking about this in 2020 after news of the Angel City/San Diego expansion, and come together formally in June of 2022.

The group included a bunch of ex-Nats (Brandi Chastain, Leslie Osborne, Danielle Slaton, and Aly Wagner) and an exec named Jen Vescio.

By 2021 they had a board (including people like sportsbro David Aufhauser and finance types like CJ Napolitano) and were taking in cash, including from “investment” (read: VC) outfits like Sixth Street Partners.

All this money- and influence-grubbing paid off; on April 4, 2023, the league announced that in return for a backhanded $53 million San Francisco is getting it’s very own NWSL club.

In return for their infusion of jack, Sixth Street got the majority ownership, and half of the seats at the head of the table.

Owner: Alan Waxman and Aly Wagner

Waxman looks like your generic finance bro.

Wagner, if you follow the game, you know from the Nats. She played as a midfielder in WPS through the Oughts, suiting up for San Diego, Boston, and LA. She has over 100 caps with the Nats, tho her US career spanned the tough stretch between the late Nineties and the late Oughts when the USWNT got knocked out of both 2003 and 2007 World Cups in the semis.

Some of the FO names we know about are CEO Brady Stewart (some kind of marketing exec from the Levi’s jeans company), GM Lucy Rushton (here after getting canned from MLS’ D.C. United in October 2022), and COO Jen Millet from the NBA Warriors.

Rushton intrigues me. She didn’t do a great job in DC but was well thought-of for her work in the Atlanta MLS franchise. Her background is in “data analysis” and her position in Atlanta was “technical recruitment & analysis”. This might track with the clever way this roster has been built.

At the moment this outfit has no dedicated venue. They’re playing at the MLS Bay-area club (The San Jose Earthquakes) pitch “PayPal Park”. Story is they will build their own some time within the next five years of so.

Head Coach: Albertin Montoya
In keeping with the “We played in the Ninties!” feel of the Bay FC gang this dude’s managerial resume goes waaaay back to the minor league “California Storm” in the WPSL. He worked there up until 2008, but also did gigs as trainer with the WUSA CyberRays (2003), assistant coach at Santa Clara (2005-2007) and assistant with one of the junior Nats (U-18s in 2008).

He coached (as an assistant) at Stanford between 2008-2009 and the WPS FC Gold Pride from 2009-2010 before picking up another junior Nats (U-17) gig in 2011-2012.

There’s a long hiatus between then and 2022 when he turns up as interim gaffer in Washington, and now this.

His palmares does include a 2010 WPS title with FCGP. How much that means now is hard to say.

Slate, meet blank.

Outstanding players: Here’s what we got. Internationals are indicated by their (national team):

Goalkeepers: Kate Rowland, Lysianne Proulx (CAN), Melissa Lowder

Defenders: Jen Beattie (SCO), Caprice Dydasco, Savy King, Alex Loera, Alyssa Malonson, Emily Menges, Kiki Pickett, Kayla Sharples, Laveni Vaka (TGA)

Midfielders: Joelle Anderson, Dorian Bailey, Tess Boade, Deyna Castellanos (VEN), Maya Doms, Jamie Shepherd

Forwards: Scarlett Camberos (MEX), Caroline Conti, Rachel Hill, Princess Marfo (GHN), Asisat Oshoala (NGA), Racheal Kundananji (ZAM),

BFC had five picks in the 2024 NCAA draft, kind of weirdly spaced. Two each in the first two rounds then nothing until the next-to-last overall. They took:
Savy King (centerback) – 1st round #2
Maya Doms (midfielder) – 1st round #8
Jamie Shepherd (midfielder) – 2nd round #30
Caroline Conti (midfielder/DM) – 2nd round #34, and
Laveni Vaka (centerback) – 4th round #55

Henderson was VERY positive; lots of “A”s. Unsurprisingly chuffed about the first-rounders (tho questioned the need for King). Big props for Conti. He even liked the Vaka pick, giving BFC an “A+” for value. No idea how impressive being a Tongan international is, mind. OFC tends to lean out pretty quick.

There’s also a boatload of NRIs in the BFC camp; thirteen of ’em. Who’s gonna stick we’ll see in about a month or so.

On paper this roster looks like a monster.

How did they score?

Well, in 2023 here’s the tally for this group:

Defenders: Beattie (0 goals with Arsenal), Dydasco (0), King (draftee), Loera (0), Malonson (0), Menges (0), Pickett (0), Kayla Sharples (1), Laveni Vaka (draftee)

Midfielders: Anderson (1), Bailey (0), Boade (1), Castellanos (1 with ManCity in 22-23), Doms (draftee), Shepherd (draftee)

Forwards: Camberos (1), Conti (draftee), Hill (0), Marfo (1 goal in 14 matches with Kvindeligaen (DEN)), Oshoala (7 goals over 9 matches with Barca), Kundananji (8 goals over 14 matches with Madrid CFF),

Total: 21 goals (4 in the NWSL) That looks pretty scary. Here’s the thing, though

Let’s look just at Oshoala. Seven in nine matches, monster, right? Thing is, here’s the scorelines from the last five of those matches, in which Oshoala bagged five goals, including two braces:
9-1 (one goal)
6-nil (brace)
6-1 (brace)

See where I’m going with this? Oshoala looks like a very good striker. But on Barca? They put bags of goals past everyone else; potting goals for Barca is as difficult as beating up on bums in an alley.

There she’s only a second option; Graham Hansen leads the line there with 14 goals in 15 matches. Behind Hansen? Four Spaniards with a total of 27 goals in 62 matches. Oshoala is sixth on the scoring table and had only 299 minutes in nine appearances with two starts to nick those goals.

You may not remember this but I still think of Genoveva Añonma Nze – “Ayo” – whose futility marked the Thorns 2015 season as a poster kid for the “tears up the (insert European league here) then comes to the NWSL and gets Koroleva in the first match here” problem. The NWSL can be a very tough gig for a European striker.

Is Oshoala good? I think so. How good in this league? I don’t think we can tell until she’s had some minutes here.

So, yeah, on paper? The African forward line looks pretty terrifying.

In practice? Under Montoya, a gaffer with little or no recent paper trail to suss out?

Take it away, Vinnie:

We’ll just have to see.

How they’ll look next year?

I looked at FBRef for some clue on where the African forwards will go. Marfo is a complete blank – the match reports don’t provide positions. I think she might be a reserve here, at least at first anyway, behind Castellanos.

Oshoala is a center forward, so that’s where I put her. Madrid CF typically played two forwards, and Kundananji swapped from left to right, so I’m gonna assume Castellanos goes left and she goes right, so:

I got the midfield from Henderson’s guesstimate, and he has the two rooks starting. I’m not so sure – given that Montoya’s thinking is utterly opaque to me – but if I was him I’d rather start a veteran squad player over a talented rookie.

That backline doesn’t scare me unless Beattie is all that OR Emily Menges roars back into Great Wall form AND she leads in a way she didn’t here after about 2018.

Rowland was a beast for The Damned Courage in 2018 and has been a solid backup since then, but it’s been a while.

Summing Up

Looks more dangerous than Utah, so there’s that.

The African forwards could be huge, especially Oshoala, if she can re-create what she did for Barca. But, well, Barca…

As with all expansion clubs BFC is hard to gauge. Will the Africans adapt better than Ayo did? The league is more technical now, so that should make things easier, but still. How much does Menges have left in the tank? If “not much”, does Beattie instead forge some Scottish steel into this group? Can Dydasco regain her 2022 form? Who will feed the forwards from midfield? Is Rowland still 2018 Rowland? Is she even better?

How good will Montoya be? How much has he learned in all those years? Tons of experience, yes, but not much recently and not much in the big leagues. This guy isn’t Giráldez Costas; he’s kind of a “hung around since WPS” dude. FC Gold Pride was a loooooong time gone.


I think this squad will be decent-or-better. I think Utah is 2024’s ACFC but this outfit could be 2024’s San Diego. There’s a lot to like on this roster, with the potential for real breakouts if the Africans develop and Montoya runs them in harness.

As we’ve been saying, more than half the clubs make the playoffs this season. I think Bay FC will be one of them. Once there? Get hot for three games and take it to the bank.

Will they be dangerous? Yes. There’s good players here, especially up front and in the backline. How much depends on how well Montoya molds this group into a “good team”. I’d approach them with caution.

Can the Thorns beat them? The book on expansion clubs is “beatable”. With Utah, I’m gonna bet yes. This mob? I think they’re likely to take points, how many I’m not sure. Not as scary as Gotham or San Diego – yet – but I think there’s a good chance they could win one of two off us this season, or nick a couple of 3-3 draws.

Or not; they could be a shambles, a “team of good players”.

We’ll just have to see what happens.

John Lawes
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2 thoughts on “2024 S-2 Briefing: Bay FC

  1. I am glad you are not as impressed with Bay City as I am. I guess we agree they have good players, but I am more worried they will gel fast. They won’t meet the Thorns until May 1 and by then we should know what to expect.
    Ayo does not seem to be a good measure of African players, yes she was good in Africa and Germany, but something was just off here in Portland. The two Bay City African players look more robust (5’8″ and 5’7″). Ayo was meant to replace Vero, if I remember correctly, and that didn’t work. I think, at worst these two might be like Onamanu, and that is not bad. But I think Oshoala will be a lot better than Iffy.

    1. Well, I’m more impressed than with Utah, so there’s that.

      My point with dragging the Oshoala stats was to point out that “quality” is relative. A player can tear up one league or competition but not thrive in one where the tactical or technical conditions, or the manager’s style, don’t fit them. Ayo was one, Foord here was another; a quality winger, provider, and second option that Parsons misused as a primary-striking center forward.

      What was “off” in Portland was the way the NWSL played in 2015 (more physical, more direct, less technical), the way her coach wanted Ayo to play (higher pace, more forward), and lack of time to work into her squad. She was a pure technical striker (not a #10 midfield-general a la Vero) that was misfit into a poorly crafted squad.

      Will the BFC Africa Corps be more effective? Maybe. Their coach, like their fit in the NWSL, is pure speculation. He, and they, might be brilliant. Or misguided. Or just kinda meh. We’ll begin to see in a month.

      And dearly as I like Iffy, if she’s the comp for these three? That’s not great; she’s pretty much a squad player at this point. And BFC isn’t paying these internationals to be squad players…


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