Bri Visalli, another best player in Pepperdine history, will be a member of the Dash
Joelle Anderson, one of the best players in Pepperdine Waves’ women’s soccer history, inked her first professional contract.
Anderson signed a two-year contract with the National Women’s Soccer League’s Houston Dash on Jan. 14.
The forward’s signing with the Dash comes a year after the squad drafted her for the 26th pick in the 2021 NWSL Draft.
In an interview with The Malibu Times a few days after she was selected, Anderson said playing professional soccer had been a dream of hers since she first stepped on the pitch. She credited her hard work for putting her on the Dash’s radar.
“After practice, I work on my free kicks, my shots,” Anderson said. “I have always been an attacking player. Over the years, I’ve just worked really hard and took the extra time to really perfect what I’m good at.”
The NWSL season is scheduled to start with the “Challenge Cup” tournament from Mar. 19 to May 7. When the first ball is kicked, Anderson won’t be the only former Pepperdine Wave on the Dash’s roster. Bri Visalli, also one of the best players in Pepperdine history and a past Malibu Times’ Athlete of the Year, is also a member of the Dash. The two were teammates in 2017 when Anderson was a freshman and Visalli a senior. Former Pepperdine assistant coach Twila Kaufman is also an assistant coach with the Dash.
Anderson concluded her stellar five-season college career in late November. Throughout her years with the Waves, she appeared in 88 regular-season games and tallied 35 goals, and was named to the All-West Coast Conference first-team three times and the second team twice. Anderson was also named to the All-West Region first team three times and the second team once.
Anderson led the Waves with 11 goals and 30 points in 2021 as they advanced to the NCAA tournament for the 12th time in history and the tournament’s Sweet 16 for the fourth time. She kicked scores against South Dakota State and NC State in the tournament. She also rang up two assists against South Dakota State and another against NC State.
Also, this past season, Anderson was named the WCC’s top offensive player two weeks in a row. She told The Malibu Times that being chosen by the Houston Dash was a humbling experience and a reminder that she needs to keep improving her soccer game.
“I keep reminding myself of things I need to work on,” she said. “I want to keep working hard every day because there are things I can get better at before I go pro next year.”
Last month, Pepperdine coach Tim Ward called Anderson one of Pepperdine’s “most interesting and fascinating leaders.”
“The staff and her teammates trust her completely,” he said. “Whether it was taking the critical penalty kick to tie the game in last year’s NCAA tournament or simply looking for her to calm a chaotic moment in the game, her teammates go to her for strength, composure, poise, and confidence. In a quiet way, Anderson has been one of the most unbelievable leaders we have ever had in this program. She has a really big heart, but she doesn’t wear it on her sleeve.”