Bay Area gains its first two professional women’s teams, inspires athletes at BHS


This year, the Bay Area welcomed its first professional women’s team, sparking a wave of empowerment for young athletes, especially girls. Bay FC, a women’s professional soccer team in San Jose, has recently become part of the National Women’s Soccer League and played their first game on March 17, 2024. In 2025, a Women’s National Basketball Association team will be coming to Chase Center in San Francisco. These teams are making history as the first-ever professional women’s sports teams in the Bay Area. 

“I think the Nebraska volleyball game really signaled that women’s sports are being appreciated a lot more and I think that’s a really great step,” Charlotte Kurre O’Heaney, a senior on the Berkeley High School softball team, said while speaking about a college volleyball game between the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Nebraska Omaha. The game set a world record for attendance at a women’s sporting event with over 92,000 fans attending. 

This surge in women’s professional sports not only brings new athletic opportunities but also becomes a powerful catalyst for inspiring feminist power throughout the region. 

“Having women’s sports teams impacts the ideas of fairness and equality in the Bay Area because it shows that these sports can also be represented with women at the same level of play,” Akasha Manandhar, a freshman on the BHS women’s basketball team, said. 

Although the Bay Area has been home to many college, semi-professional, and amateur women’s sports teams, these professional teams will take representation of women in sports to the next level. 

The NWSL and WNBA expansions not only brings elite soccer and basketball to the region but also emphasizes the importance of equality in sports. “I don’t think girls and boys get the same chances in sports because girls are urged to practice dance, gymnastics, and other more feminine sports, while boys are pushed to focus on more contact sports that are more widespread in the world,” Manandhar said. 

By establishing a women’s professional soccer team, a powerful message is sent about breaking gender barriers and providing equal opportunities for female athletes. 

“Some problems I’ve faced as a girl that plays basketball is getting kind of mocked by boys and constantly getting asked uncomfortable or unnecessary questions about my basketball skills from boys,” Manandhar said. “It is important for people to see women play sports because it shows them that women’s sports can become major and isn’t something that just men can dominate.” 

The excitement around the bay’s new professional women’s teams goes beyond just sports. These teams are changing the views of  people, specifically young girls, and personally showing them that they can achieve big things in sports and beyond. “It’s so important to show little girls that they also can play sports,” Kumar said. 

“The more that young girls see that there’s a path, the more they’ll expand and grow,” Kurre O’Heaney said.