Taking the pitch: Swanson excited to support soccer-star wife at Wrigley

April 10th, 2024

SAN DIEGO -- retrieved a remote in Petco Park’s visitors’ clubhouse on Tuesday afternoon and headed over to one of the TVs hanging in the room. The Cubs shortstop then flipped the channel off baseball highlights and to the United States women’s national soccer team’s match against Canada in the SheBelieves Cup.

Swanson was checking in on his wife, Mallory, who stars as a forward for both the USWNT and the Chicago Red Stars in the National Women’s Soccer League. He has donned her jersey multiple times this year and makes sure to tune into her matches when they align with his time in the Cubs’ clubhouse.

“Whether it's watching her on TV or being able to go to a game,” Swanson said, “it just is really, really neat and fun to do.”

And now, Dansby will not be the only Swanson to get the chance to play in Wrigley Field.

On Tuesday, the Red Stars announced that they will host Bay FC in a match at the Friendly Confines at 6:30 p.m. CT on June 8, marking the first NWSL game played at Wrigley Field in the ballpark’s history. The Cubs will be in Cincinnati facing the Reds as part of a four-game set when Mallory Swanson and the Red Stars take the field on the North Side.

“It's really cool for the Red Stars and just the growth of women's soccer and women's sports in general,” Swanson said on Tuesday in San Diego. “Giving fans the easier accessibility at a place like Wrigley, I think it's just a really cool opportunity for the Chicago Red Stars.”

Swanson said he was excited for his wife and her teammates to experience the environment inside Wrigley Field.

“It still shocks you that it's in the middle of the neighborhood,” said Swanson, who signed with the Cubs ahead of last season. “And it carries that same vibe and aura. And the fact that it's been around for as long as it has, it just carries a different -- it's hard to even come up with the word -- but it just carries a different weight.

“It's a really special place obviously, and I know they've done a good job of being able to host other events in the past and I expect this to be no different.”

Over the years, Wrigley Field has hosted NFL and NHL games, as well as concerts. The old ballpark has also featured men’s soccer matches in the past, but not in more than decade. On July 22, 2012, a pair of European clubs -- Italy’s A.S. Roma and Poland’s Zaglebie Lubin -- played in front of 22,181 fans.

“Playing at Wrigley Field will be the event that fans of the Red Stars, Cubs and Chicago sports won’t want to miss,” Red Stars president Karen Leetzow said in a release. “I’d like to thank the Cubs for inviting us to Wrigley Field and giving these elite athletes the stage they deserve.”

Dansby Swanson is not taking it for granted that he gets to watch his wife on the field again, either.

Last year, Mallory Swanson sustained a torn left patella tendon in her knee in a USWNT match against Ireland on April 8. It ended her season, took her out of the mix for the Women’s World Cup and led to a long road back to the pitch. On March 16, when she did make her return with the Red Stars in Utah, Dansby Swanson was in attendance.

“She might be the toughest person I've ever been around,” said Swanson. “Seeing someone navigate something so hard, challenging, heartbreaking -- any of the words -- but be able to still keep a perspective on life and what it means, it’s something you talk about all the time and you preach and you see tidbits here and there.

“But, when it's like in your face all the time, and just seeing her handle it with such grace and beauty, we're very thankful to have been a part of it together. It's even really hard to put into words. I'm just very grateful for her to be back doing what she loves now.”