Author Topic: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue  (Read 15973 times)

Offline redrobin

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Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2009, 12:07:05 PM »
Sky Blue hopefuls have options for development

March 2, 2009

Sky Blue FC opened training camp Sunday in Greensboro, NC, with 30 players on its preseason roster, some a bit more well-known than others.

While U.S. internationals Natasha Kai, Heather O’Reilly and Christie Rampone headline Women’s Professional Soccer’s NY/NJ team, there are several players hoping to make the cut on a roster that will be trimmed quite a bit by the time first kick rolls around on April 5.

The current roster of 30 players will be cut to 24 by the end of next week and the final roster can only contain 18 players plus four developmental players.  While some of these more recognizable names such as Kai, O’Reilly and Rampone will be concerned with getting fit and establishing team chemistry, others will just be looking to make the cut.

Of the 30 players in camp, eight are there on an invitational basis.  Of the eight, few will be left on the roster come the end of March, meaning some will be forced to play in other places such as the USL W-League or the WPSL.

Two goalkeepers are currently in camp by invitation: Mexican international Sophia Perez and former Syracuse University goalkeeper Shannon Myers.  Myers was a four-year starter at Syracuse, but she graduated in 2005.  Now she is the assistant coach for the Villanova women’s team, meaning she has been out of significant action for a few years.

One would expect fellow goalkeeper invitee Sophia Perez to be in better form after spending last season with the WPSL’s San Diego United and given her current position as Mexico’s starting goalkeeper. 

Even if one of the keepers makes the squad, they will be up against Cori Alexander, who won the 2005 national championship with the University of Portland, and England youth international Karen Bardsley, who helped lead the Pali Blues to the W-League championship last year.

The other six players on trial are Mary Velan, Courtney Nash, Krista Bobo, Noelle Keselica, Caroline Walden and Domenique Esposito.  Velan is the only one capable of playing forward in the bunch, making for a crowded preseason roster in the midfield.

The encouraging thing for all of these players is Sky Blue FC’s W-League affiliate, the Hudson Valley Quickstrike Lady Blues.  There are certainly young players such as Walden and late-round draft picks Fanta Cooper and Mele French who are worth holding onto, but may not be ready for WPS and such a high level.

With such limited roster availability for Sky Blue FC, expect the team and coach Ian Sawyers to ship players down to the Lady Blues in order to develop.  The situation is perfect for Sky Blue, which can send potential players to the W-League Lady Blues for a high level of competition and development. 

As this preseason roster thins out in the coming weeks, expect that some of those players cut find their way to the Hudson Valley with the Lady Blues.  Many – especially younger players – will realize that if they do well there, they can expect a call-up in the future.

Offline redrobin

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Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
« Reply #21 on: March 05, 2009, 12:30:04 PM »
Alexander Ready to Own the Goal at Sky Blue FC

Monday, March 02, 2009
by Lauren Brill,

Goalkeeper Cori Alexander is headed to New Jersey to play professional soccer for Sky Blue FC, but growing up, the Northern California native had other plans in mind.

“I was going to be a pro baseball player because that was a sport there were pro athletes in,” Alexander explained.

Alexander watched Brandi Chastain tear off her shirt in celebration of the U.S. Women’s 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup victory, and it was then that Alexander dismissed her ambitions to run the bases and decided to own the goal.  She did just that during her tenure at the University of Portland where she set an all-time record in saves (263) and shutouts (39).

The highlight of her college career came in 2005.

“Our team won the National Championship,” Alexander said happily.  “We had to beat Penn State in the semis in penalty kicks. I blocked two penalty kicks and was awarded Defensive Player of the Tournament. “

After graduating in 2007, Alexander has continued to train with her former college team, played on the U-23 U.S. National Team, coached a local club team and even worked “odd jobs” to pay the bills.  She’s been able to keep goalkeeper gloves on her hands but looks forward to having teammates consistently by her side with Sky Blue FC.

“I miss that camaraderie of being on a team everyday, having 18 other players with you who are working towards the same goal,” she said.

Alexander has played with several of her Sky Blue teammates on the U-23 National Team, however, there are some famous faces that make this upcoming adventure seem surreal for the 23-year-old.

“I had a poster of Christie Rampone in my room growing up,” said Alexander. “These are the people you idolized growing up, and now they are your teammates.  So you can either embrace that or get really nervous and be terrified.”

Alexander intends to look past the legends on her squad and remain focused on her status on the roster. Karen Bardsley, a three-time Big West Conference Goalkeeper of the Year at Cal State Fullerton, is the only other ‘keeper on the squad. Alexander, the seventh overall pick in the WPS General Draft, knows she is going to have to work for a starting position.

“I still have to go in there and earn my right. I think it is my spot if I want it,” Alexander said. “But you’ve got to produce and earn your salary every week. It’s professional sports.”

Alexander already knows what it’s like to be a pro. After college, she played in Germany for a short time.  Now with WPS, Alexander hopes to spend the remainder of her career playing in her homeland.

“I have a lot of pride playing in the U.S.,” Alexander said. “There’s just something about playing soccer in your home country, and building those relationships with the little girls that come to your games is amazing.”

Alexander is excited to serve as a role model for young girls in New Jersey, New York and across the country.  However, the relationships she has already established, specifically with her family, are what motivate her to work hard. 

According to Alexander, her parents made many sacrifices so she could compete and develop her athletic talent.  Her father lives with Multiple Sclerosis, a disease that disrupts the central nervous system and can affect mobility.

“When I was really little, he was my soccer coach. He was still running around kicking balls with me, but as he is has gotten older and it’s progressed he’s not quite as mobile,” Alexander said. “I want to make sure that I keep making him proud because there are a lot of things he would love to do with his kids that he can’t do now.”

Driven to succeed, and ready to get between the pipes for Sky Blue FC, Alexander will soon move out east.  Her brother currently lives in New York City so she has already seen the sights, but she is excited to experience the Big Apple as a local.  Alexander is a passionate photographer and hopes to capture the city’s beauty through her own perspective.

However, at the end of the day, Alexander hopes she is not behind the camera but rather in front of it, with a trophy.  She said, “We want to bring home the title!”

Offline redrobin

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Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
« Reply #22 on: March 06, 2009, 12:24:18 PM »
River Vale's Esposito keeps pro dream alive

Tuesday, March 3, 2009 -

Two ACL surgeries and a disappointing draft couldn’t stop Domenique Esposito.

The River Vale resident is still chasing her dream of playing on the highest level of her sport, Women’s Professional Soccer.

Esposito is one of 30 players fighting for 22 roster spots on the league’s New Jersey franchise, Sky Blue FC, which is holding a month-long training camp in North Carolina.

The 2003 Pascack Valley graduate was invited to camp after going undrafted in January. Sky Blue FC starts its inaugural season on April 5 at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, when it hosts the Los Angeles Sol and its Brazilian star, Marta.

Esposito, 24, joins three other New Jersey natives on the preseason roster – Yael Averbuch (Montclair), Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant) and Heather O’Reilly (East Brunswick). Nikki Krzysik, a Clifton graduate, was drafted in the second round by the Chicago Red Star.

Esposito was never the heralded prospect of the other aforementioned Jersey players, but she carved out a tremendous career at Rutgers despite tearing her ACL as a junior. She tore the same ligament in her other knee as a junior at Pascack Valley, before she became a first-team All-Bergen and a third-team All-State selection as a senior.

Esposito, a midfielder, played five seasons in the semi-professional W-League. She is one of only eight players on Sky Blue’s preseason roster who weren’t allocated, drafted or claimed.

Offline redrobin

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Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2009, 12:36:05 PM »
Sky Blue FC ready to play some soccer
by Jamie Romm, Edison/Matuchen Sentinel

Three women make the cut at tryouts for Women's Professional Soccer

After two days of tryouts, 26 players sat silently in a semicircle, waiting to hear if they had made the cut.

On Feb. 25, 51 players had entered the practice field at GoodSports USA at Allaire in Wall Township, hoping to play for the Sky Blue FC Soccer team, a part of the inaugural season of Women's Professional Soccer

By the next day's tryouts, the number of hopefuls had been almost halved.

After another tough day of tryouts, by 11:15 a.m. Feb. 26, Blue Sky FC head coach Ian Sawyers had selected the three players he would bring with him for the season, but it wasn't an easy decision.

"We are dealing with people's dreams here," Sawyers said after talking to the three who made the team. "It's very emotional and taxing choosing who we will bring on to the team. It was very difficult."

The three who made the cut were goalkeeper Shannon Myers, midfield/defense Courtney Nash and forward Mary Velan.

Their reaction to being selected: a collective "Wooo!"

Of the 51 players, Nash, of Mason, Mich., was one of four who were invited to the tryouts and she was thrilled to be picked for the team.

"I'm excited and shocked a little," said Nash, a six-time All-American in soccer and track and field. "It's a feeling that is hard to explain."
Nash was invited to try out for the team after the December combine, where players from around the county were selected to try out for the league.

She said that after two days of tryouts and seeing the level of competition and talent of the other women on the field, it was a great feeling.

"I'm excited to be one of the three," Nash said. "It's difficult because you look at the other girls and of course when you play them, you are evaluating them, and you're like, 'Oh, she's doing well.' There are a lot of good players that are out here, and it's an honor to be one of them."

Sky Blue FC is part of the larger Sky Blue Soccer organization, based in Somerset, that teaches and works with players from a young age.

Home games will be played at Yurcak Field on the campus of Rutgers University in Piscataway.

Sawyers, who is also the team's general manager, has been a coach in women's soccer for a number of years.

He was the head coach of the San Jose CyberRays during all three years of the previous women's soccer league, the Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA), from 2001 to 2003, as well as the coach for the Stanford University women's soccer program from 1993 to 1996.

He said that after rounding out his roster, his team is impressive.

"I am very excited about this team," Sawyers said. "We have a lot of good international players, which gives our league a very unique look. Also bringing in players from the Women's National Team shows the quality of the players that we have."

Each team in the WPS was given three U.S. Women's National Team members as well as a dispersal draft of the best available international players.

Familiar names on the roster include Women's National Team members Heather O'Reilly, Natasha Kai and Christie Rampone.

Players were selected to each team regionally to give the league a local appeal.

O'Reilly, a graduate of East Brunswick High School, was nominated in 2007 for Sports Illustrated's 2007 Sportsman of the Year.

Rampone, of Point Pleasant, played collegiate soccer at Monmouth University.

Velan, of Stamford, N.Y., said that she is excited to be playing with team members of such high caliber.

"They're the best of the best," said Velan, who went to SUNY-Oneonta. "That's what I'm looking most forward to, just putting my stuff out there."

Players came from around the tri-state area to try out for the final few spots on the roster, and some had attended local universities such as Rutgers and Seton Hall.

One player flew in from Spain for the tryouts.

International players already on the team include Brazil National Team members Ester and Rosana, who are known by single names only, as well as Australian Sarah Walsh.

Myers, who played for Syracuse University, said that she is looking forward to meeting the rest of the team.

"I know none of them and I'm excited just to see that level," Myers said. "Just to be completely enveloped by that level. That's going to be pretty awesome."

The other six teams in the league are the Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, FC Gold Pride (Santa Clara, Calif.), Los Angeles Sol, St. Louis Athletica and the Washington Freedom.

Teams in Atlanta, Philadelphia and Dallas will enter the league in 2010.

According to the WPS Web site, the league is the "highest level women's professional soccer league in North America."

Formed in September 2007 as a result of the efforts of the Women's Soccer Initiative Inc., WPS will begin play in April.

Franchises are individually owned and operated by a group of investors in each market. These include AEG-L.A. Women's Soccer, Bay Area Women's Soccer, Boston Women's Soccer, Chicago Professional Women's Soccer, Hendricks Investment Holdings (Washington, D.C.), St. Louis United Soccer and Sky Blue Women's Soccer Inc. (New Jersey/New York).

In addition, two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash and former Yahoo! President and COO Jeff Mallett are investors and part owners in the league.

The league's mission statement is, "Our mission is to be the premier women's soccer league in the world, and the global standard by which women's professional sports are measured."

Fox Soccer Channel will air weekly Sunday night matches and the WPS All-Star Game with Fox Sports Net plans to air the semifinal and league championship contests.

The national television contract will be in effect through the 2011 season with an option for 2012.

Sawyers said he was excited to take this team forward and watch the league grow.

"We have a lot of proving to do," Sawyers said. "The top one, two, three, four, five players in the world are all in our league. It's going to be exciting."

The league's inaugural game will be played between the Los Angeles Sol and the Washington Freedom on March 29 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

Sky Blue FC will kick off its season against the Los Angeles Sol on April 5 at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater.

After the trials were over, some of those who tried out were asked to keep in touch with the coaches, and Sawyers said all of them impressed him.

As the rest of the players left the practice bubble, the three who made the team stood at the center of the field talking to coaches and training staff.

When asked who the first person they would call to share their news would be, the answers differed.

"My mom," Velan said.

"My boyfriend," Nash quickly responded.

Myers put her hands over her mouth and thought for an extra 15 seconds.

"I don't even know yet," Myers said. "I'm still so excited."

Offline redrobin

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Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
« Reply #24 on: March 10, 2009, 01:22:17 AM »
Velan gets shot at pro soccer
by Dean Russin, Sports Editor, Daily Star (New York)

Mary Velan just showed up one day.

The rest is history.

Former Oneonta State and Stamford Central soccer standout Velan, 22, made the preseason roster for Sky Blue FC of Women's Professional Soccer after taking part in an open tryout last month in Wall Township, N.J.

"She definitely caught our eye," said Sky Blue FC assistant coach Kelly Lindsey, a former U.S. Women's National Team member who played for the San Jose CyberRays of the defunct Women's United Soccer Association from 2001-03. "She sprinted the entire session and never stopped moving. Her face was beet-red the whole time. ... We decided she was that player who deserved a chance."

Velan certainly took a chance when she arrived at Goodsports USA, a 10-acre sports complex that hosted the open tryout Feb. 25. The facility is about an hour's drive from Stevens Institute of Technology, where Velan embarked upon a coaching career as a full-time women's soccer assistant this past July.

Lindsey said roughly 50 hopefuls came out for the open tryout and about 20 _ Velan included _ were invited back for an afternoon session and a follow-up the next morning.

When it was over, Velan joined former Syracuse goalie Shannon Myers and former Division II midfielder Courtney Nash (Saginaw Valley State) as the only tryout candidates to receive invitations to Sky Blue FC's first training camp. The bulk of the 30-player preseason roster, which features mostly women with Division I and international soccer experience, has been training together in Greensboro, N.C., since last Sunday.

Four roster members _ Christie Rampone, Heather O'Reilly, Natasha Kai and Kacey White _ are in Portugal with the U.S. Women's National Team. They are expected to arrive at Sky Blue FC's training camp in mid-March, along with Cyprus Cup participants Anita Asante of England and Kelly Parker of Canada.

The team will have two cuts before it returns to Sky Blue FC's home base in Somerset, N.J., at the end of this month. Sky Blue FC's season opener is April 5 against the visiting Los Angeles Sol.

"Everyone who's in camp has an equal opportunity to make the team," said Lindsey, who added the roster will be trimmed to 24 players March 13. The final cut is set for March 25, when 18 women will make the team and four others will be designated as developmental players for the inaugural season of the seven-team WPS.

"For her to go into open tryouts then to invitational camp and then to making the roster, you'd have to consider her a longshot," said Patric Santo Pietro, Sky Blue FC's manager of new media and communications. "But she's got about a 60 percent chance at making it. Spots are definitely open, but it's hard to say who will get them."

Lindsey said anyone who doesn't make the team this year will have a better shot at turning pro in 2010, when the WPS expands to 10 teams.

"She's right on that edge and she can get in," Lindsey said of Velan, the 2002 Daily Star Player of the Year as a Stamford junior who earned four straight Division III All-American honors at O-State and graduated in 2008 as the program's all-time leader in points (169), goals (71) and assists (27). "But she could find herself in the W-League for a season and, within a year or so, you'll see her in the WPS. The league will expand next year, so these players who don't quite make it this year should play in the W-League because they'll have a great chance (at making a WPS team in 2010)."

The W-League is part of the United Soccer Leagues and, Lindsey said, requires players to compete on an unpaid basis for most of the summer.

"It's definitely a commitment they have to make," she said. "They don't get paid, but that's the kind of commitment and sacrifice they have to make."

Red Dragons athletic director Tracey Ranieri said Velan has the tools to compete at the highest level of the sport.

"She was scouted by so many Division I programs, but there's not a lot of difference here between a lot of D-I athletes and what we were doing with our program," said Ranieri, who coached Oneonta's women to an NCAA Division III title in 2003, the year before Velan joined the program. "It's the value of the person, regardless of the school they come from. It's the individual who makes the mark.

"She was just such a determined, courageous player and her fitness was far superior," Ranieri continued. "She could go in and play every position. She was more committed than you could ask for. Those are the role models we want to create. ... A lot of athletes really plan for the game, but Mary always planned for practice. That just made games that much easier. Practice was her time to shine because if they don't do it in practice, you can't expect them to do it in a game. She made everybody around her better."

Apparently, that's something else that Lindsey noticed during the open tryout and training camp.

"She's been great at camp," Lindsey said of Velan, who has honed her skills with the Queensbury-based Adirondack Lynx of the Women's Premier Soccer League since 2006. "She fits right in. What we saw at the tryout is what we're seeing at camp. We're looking for team chemistry and top-notch players who are all supportive of one another, and she's fitting right in."

While Velan is known locally as a scoring machine _ she amassed 163 goals at Stamford before her record-breaking four-year stint at O-State _ Sky Blue FC is trying her out as a defender.

"We challenged her a little bit and put her as a wing back to see how she could handle it," Lindsey said. "I asked her if she ever played defense and she said, Nope, but I will.' She was very responsive and receptive to the idea, and she said, If that's what you want me to play, I'll do it.' She has the right attitude."

O-State coach Liz McGrail, who took over for Ranieri in 2007, said Velan has the potential to excel on defense.

"She can do it with her instincts and her speed back there," said McGrail, also a former Stamford and O-State standout whose first season coaching the Red Dragons was Velan's last. McGrail graduated from Stamford as the Section Four record-holder for all-time goals (173) and from O-State in 2001 as the college's then-all-time leading scorer (137 points). "She reads the game well, and at that level, defenders need to start the attack."

Offline redrobin

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Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
« Reply #25 on: March 18, 2009, 02:06:09 PM »
Kai's Game-Winner Caps Solid Effort in Preseason Victory over Washington Freedom
Saturday, March 14, 2009
by Sky Blue Soccer

Boyds, Maryland -  Sky Blue FC made its first-ever public appearance today and the team’s debut was a successful one. The NJ/NY team knocked off a fellow Women’s Professional Soccer side in the Washington Freedom 1-0 in a preseason exhibition match at the Maryland Soccerplex in Boyds, MD.

Natasha Kai provided the game-winning goal by finishing a breakaway off a feed from Heather O’Reilly in the 86th minute. Karen Bardsley and Jenni Branam split the shutout in goal for Sky Blue FC, which opens the inaugural WPS season on April 5th against the Los Angeles Sol at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, New Jersey.

Sky Blue FC has spent the past two weeks preparing for the season in Greensboro, NC and today’s match against the Freedom was the team’s first official contest. The team will take on the University of North Carolina on March 20th in Greensboro before returning to New Jersey to prepare for the opener.

Sky Blue FC started the game with a number of projected starters on the bench including its United States Women’s National Team players, who recently returned from the Algarve Cup, along with all of its international players. With the exception of Homare Sawa, who just arrived in the United States, the Freedom started most of its expected lineup including Abby Wambach and Cat Whitehill, both of whom were playing their first games since recovering from long-term injuries.

“We were delighted with the first half because we didn’t have any of our internationals in and the kids that have been busting their tails the past two weeks I thought held their own and did a fantastic job,” said Sky Blue FC Head Coach and General Manager Ian Sawyers. “In the second half, we had players coming off fatigue from a tournament and they stuck at it and were patient and got the goal for the win.”

Neither team attacked effectively in the opening half with the Freedom getting forward slightly more often with their preference for direct balls to Wambach and Lisa DeVanna. The Sky Blue FC back four of Jenny Hammond, Christie Shaner, Keeley Dowling, and Julianne Sitch did well to keep the Freedom from creating any dangerous chances through the run of play.

Washington claimed the first chance of the game in the 20th minute when Rebecca Moros headed over from 10 yards off a corner kick from Sonia Bompastor.

Sky Blue FC had the only other good chances of the opening half courtesy of first-round draft choice Yael Averbuch. The former University of North Carolina standout had a harmless go from 20 yards in the 26th minute that Freedom keeper Brianna Scurry easily collected.

Averbuch provided the best chance in the closing moments of the first half. Her curling left-footed effort from 25 yards was tipped over the bar by Scurry.

At the start of the second half, Sky Blue FC made seven changes adding USWNT players Kai, O’Reilly, Christie Rampone, and Kacey White along with Australians Sarah Walsh and Collette McCallum. Branam – recently claimed after being released from Chicago – also subbed in after the break.

Halftime substitute goalkeeper Kati Jo Spisak foiled the first good Sky Blue FC chance of the second half when she tipped over a Kai header off a cross from Jenny Hammond in the 59th minute.

In the 73rd minute, the Freedom had their best chance of the game when Jill Gilbeau collected an errant clearance just inside the top right corner of the box but her volley dipped just over the crossbar.

Kai’s game-winner came on a wide open breakaway after lapse in the back by the Freedom. As O’Reilly flicked a ball behind at midfield, Walsh was 10 yards behind the defense but the assistant referee ruled that she wasn’t offside because she wasn’t involved in the play. Kai ran onto the pass from O’Reilly and carried into the box before poking a 15-yard shot under Spisak to break the scoreless deadlock.

“As soon as we realized that they had pushed one forward and that they were switching to a 3-back, that was when we scored so we exploited it when they pushed forward,” O’Reilly said. “I was just trying to get it behind their back line. Walsh might have been offside, but since she wasn’t involved in the play, Natasha Kai did her thing and put away a very composed breakaway.”

“I think that we’re all really pleased with how we put this 90 minutes together,” O’Reilly added. “The girls that have been training together really showed a lot of intensity and grit and they made a statement in the first 45 minutes. Then we just kept plugging away until we got the goal in the end. We’re really excited about playing with each other more.”

Sawyers was happy not just with the effort but the positive result as well.

“Winning is always important because it becomes contagious and it’s important to be successful,” Sawyers said. “The headache for the coaching staff is to figure out the best system for the players. We have a very attacking group and a solid defense. There’s a lot of great solid core individual players and now we have to find the right structure to make it a cohesive unit.”


SKY BLUE FC – Karen Bardsley (Jenni Branam 45), Jenny Hammond, Jen Buczkowski, Yael Averbuch (Collette McCallum 45), Meghan Schnur (Heather O’Reilly 45), Noelle Keselica (Sarah Walsh 45), Mary Therese McDonnell (Kacey White 45), Julianne Sitch, Keeley Dowling, Christie Shaner (Christie Rampone 45), Mele French (Natasha Kai 45).

WASHINGTON FREEDOM – Brianna Scurry (Kati Jo Spisak 45), Cat Whitehill, Emily Janss (Parissa Eyorkian 74), Becky Sauerbrunn, Alex Singer, Lori Lindsey (Christen Karniski 85), Allie Long (Kristen DeDycker 45), Sonia Bompastor (Madison Keller 85), Rebecca Moros (Jill Gilbeau 58), Lisa DeVanna (Claire Zimmeck 58), Abby Wambach.

Offline redrobin

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Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
« Reply #26 on: March 19, 2009, 12:22:31 PM »
Sky Blue FC Trims Roster to 24 Players
Monday, March 16, 2009
by Sky Blue Soccer

(SOMERSET, New Jersey) – Sky Blue FC announced its trimmed preseason roster today as it prepares for the start of the first season of Women’s Professional Soccer. The current roster for the NJ/NY franchise now stands at a league-mandated 24 players.

In accordance with the WPS guidelines, Sky Blue FC will determine a final roster of 22 players to start the season on March 25th. Sky Blue FC will kick off its inaugural season on April 5th when it hosts the Los Angeles Sol at 4 p.m. at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, NJ.

Sky Blue FC is currently preparing for the season in Greensboro, NC and will train there until March 25th when the team returns to New Jersey. The team claimed a 1-0 victory over the Washington Freedom on Saturday in a preseason exhibition match and will also play against the University of North Carolina on March 20th in Greensboro.

Alexander, Cori GK (USA)  Seattle Sounders 
Asante, Anita D (England)   Chelsea   
Averbuch, Yael  M (USA)   Arsenal World Class (USA)
Bardsley, Karen  GK (England)  Pali Blues 
Branam, Jenni GK (USA)    Bälinge 
Buczkowski, Jen M (USA)  Chicago Gaels 
Dowling, Keeley  D (USA)   KIF Örebro 
French, Mele  F (USA)   Pali Blues 
Hammond, Jenny D (USA)   Chicago Gaels   
Keselica, Noelle M (USA)     Bälinge   
Kai, Natasha  F (USA)    Kailua AA   
McCallum, Collette  M (Australia)   Perth Glory 
McDonnell, Mary Therese  D (Ireland)    Boston Renegades   
Myers, Shannon GK (USA)    Lancaster Inferno   
O’Reilly, Heather    M/F (USA) New Jersey Wildcats   
Parker, Kelly  M (Canada)    FC Indiana Lionesses   
Perez, Sophia  GK (Mexico)    SD United   
Rampone, Christie D (USA)   New York Power
Rosana  M (Brazil)    SV Neulengbach
Schnur, Megan   M (USA)    New England Mutiny
Shaner, Christie     D (USA)  FC Indiana Lionesses 
Sitch, Julianne D (USA)    FC Indiana Lionesses 
Walsh, Sarah F (Australia)  Sydney FC 
White, Kacey  M/F (USA)   Bälinge

Offline redrobin

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Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
« Reply #27 on: March 24, 2009, 11:38:39 AM »
Rampone, Kai Agree to Terms with Sky Blue FC
Friday, March 20, 2009
by Sky Blue Soccer

Somerset, New Jersey
March 20, 2009

Sky Blue FC announced today that United States Women's National Team standouts Christie Rampone and Natasha Kai have agreed to terms. The international duo are expected to be key components for the NJ/NY franchise in the inaugural season of Women's Professional Soccer.

Rampone, a defender and the USWNT captain, and Kai, a striker, joined Sky Blue FC in preseason a week ago after helping the United States to the final of the Algarve Cup in Portugal. Both players were halftime substitutes when Sky Blue FC posted a 1-0 preseason victory over the Washington Freedom last Saturday with Kai scoring the game's only goal. The Sky Blue FC preseason continues tonight when it takes on the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, NC.

Both Rampone and Kai will be in uniform when Sky Blue FC kicks off its first-ever season two weeks from tomorrow. Sky Blue FC will battle the Los Angeles Sol - featuring three-time FIFA World Player of the Year Marta - on April 5th at 4 p.m. at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, NJ.

With Rampone and Kai secured, Sky Blue FC now features four current USWNT players including Heather O'Reilly and Kacey White, who both previously agreed to terms.

"Obviously with preseason in full swing, it's been very exciting to get players finally into camp," said Sky Blue FC Head Coach and General Manager Ian Sawyers. "Since the arrival of our international players just last week, we've been playing catch-up with those who played in the Algarve and Cyprus Cups. To have Christie and Tasha officially sign contracts means bringing great athletes to the team. They also add a level of excitement, leadership and motivation which have been a big lift for our group."

Rampone joins Sky Blue FC with a long and accomplished international career that includes 215 appearances with the USWNT. A native of Point Pleasant, NJ and a graduate of Monmouth University, Rampone has made a name for herself as one of the top defenders in the world. She has played in three FIFA Women's World Cups, including a championship trophy in 1999, and three Olympics including gold medals in 2004 and 2008. Rampone played for the New York Power in the WUSA from 2001 to 2003 appearing in 55 matches over three seasons. A star forward at Monmouth, she finished as the school's all-time leading scorer with 79 goals and 54 assists.

"Christie obviously comes to Sky Blue FC with a level of experience unmatched by many defenders in the world," Sawyers said. "Her resume boasts a number of championship medals at the highlest level. Her leadership qualities are something we value highly."

Natasha Kai stormed onto the scene with the USWNT in 2006 at the Algarve Cup in Portugal with goals in each of her first two games and has been a dangerous striker on the international level since. Kai helped the US capture the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics when she scored the game-winning goal against Canada in extra time in the quarter finals. She also played in the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup in China. She currently boasts 24 goals in 67 career international appearances. On the collegiate level, she was the first player in Western Athletic Conference (WAC) history to earn three Player of the Year awards.

"Tasha is obviously a young player starting her journey to the highest level of play," Sawyers said. She's scored valuable goals for the National Team, and we hope that her Sky Blue FC experience will help launch her to even higher levels of performance."

Offline redrobin

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Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
« Reply #28 on: March 24, 2009, 12:01:58 PM »
Sky Blue continued their pre-season preparation by playing the University of North Carolina's team, nicknamed the Tar Heels, last Friday.

The Tar Heels previewed the game on their site last week:-

Pro Soccer Team Takes On NCAA Champs In Greensboro

Greensboro, North Carolina
March 16, 2009

Star-studded Sky Blue FC faces UNC Tar Heels Friday, March 20 at 7:00 p.m.

Sky Blue FC, a New Jersey/New York-based member of the new women's professional soccer league, will test itself against 2008 NCAA Champion University of North Carolina this Friday at 7:00 pm in Macpherson Stadium at Bryan Park in Greensboro.

Sky Blue FC features US national team players Heather O'Reilly, Christie Rampone, Natasha Kai and Kacey White, as well as national team players from England, Australia and Brazil. The team has spent the month training in Greensboro as guests of Greensboro Youth Soccer. Sky Blue will complete its pre-season training with what promises to be a spirited match against the 19-time national champion Tar Heels. For several Sky Blue FC players, playing Carolina offers additional incentive. O'Reilly, White, midfielder Yael Averbuch, and goalkeeper Jenni Branam are all UNC grads.

Carolina, who upset Notre Dame in the 2008 NCAA final, features 2008 Olympic Gold-Medalist Tobin Heath, and US Under-20 national team player Casey Norgueira. Anna Rodenbough, a Greensboro native and Grimsley grad, plays goal for UNC, and High Point's Maria Lubrano is a sophomore on the squad. In all, eight players on the UNC roster hail from North Carolina.

The exhibition game finished in a 2-1 win for the University side, as reported by Sky Blue.

UNC Edges Sky Blue FC in Preseason Exhibition
by Sky Blue Soccer
Greensboro - March 20, 2009

Nikki Washington’s second-half goal was the difference as the University of North Carolina edged Sky Blue FC 2-1 in an exhibition match at Macpherson Stadium. The match featured the defending NCAA College Cup Champions against Sky Blue FC, which is preparing for the inaugural season of Women’s Professional Soccer.

UNC opened the scoring early in the first half thanks to two former Jersey Sky Blue W-League players – Tobin Heath and Casey Nogueira. Heath – a gold medalist with the United States Women’s National Team – scored the goal.

Australian international Sarah Walsh scored the only goal for Sky Blue FC in the closing moments of the opening half off an assist from former UNC All-American Heather O’Reilly. Four former Tar Heels played in the match for Sky Blue FC including O’Reilly, Kacey White, Yael Averbuch, and Jenni Branam.

Sky Blue FC returns to New Jersey on Wednesday after a month in Greensboro. The NJ/NY representative in WPS will open the season on April 5th at 4 p.m. when it hosts three-time FIFA World Player of the Year Marta and the Los Angeles Sol at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, New Jersey

Sky Blue FC had the first good chance of the game in the seventh minute when Natasha Kai got on the end of a serve from Christie Rampone, but her header was over the goal.

North Carolina put sustained pressure on the Sky Blue FC goal starting with a high shot by Heath in the 14th minute. One minute later, Courtney Jones got in behind on a breakaway but placed her shot right into the hands of Sky Blue FC keeper Karen Bardsley.

In the 17th minute, Washington rolled a shot across the goal off a cross from Nogueira before Heath finally broke the ice in the 18th minute. Nogueira found Heath in the box and she buried a high shot into the goal from close range. Both Nogueira and Heath played in New Jersey for Sky Blue during the 2007 W-League season.

Sky Blue FC knotted the score in the closing moments of the half on an easy finish by Walsh. The Tar Heels defense held up looking for an offside call but the flag stayed down putting Walsh and O’Reilly in alone. Walsh played the ball to O’Reilly, who drew out Tar Heels keeper Ashlyn Harris before returning a pass to the Australian to finish into the open goal.

Sky Blue FC threatened in the second half but couldn’t find the finishing touch. In the 54th minute, after a scramble in the box, White’s effort was stopped by Harris and the ensuing rebound ended up on the foot of Averbuch, who fired wide left from top of box.

Washington’s game-winner came in the 67th minute. The United States youth international carried the ball on a long run up the right side before cutting into the box. She beat two defenders before finishing past Branam into the upper left side of the goal.

Sky Blue FC continued to press late, but Brazilian Rosana missed left in the 77th minute and Harris stopped a shot from Walsh before Kai fired wide left, both within a one-minute span shortly after.

The game was delayed in the 81st minute when North Carolina players Kim Currie and Merritt Mathias collided heads and had to taken away by ambulance. Sky Blue FC’s only other chance after play resumed was a shot off a corner by Christie Shaner that was easily stopped by Harris.

Special thanks to UNC Student Manager Sarah Woerner for contributing to this game report.


UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA: Ashlyn Harris, Meghan Klingenberg, Whitney Engen, Merritt Mathias, Casey Nogueira, Rachel Givan, Nikki Washington, Kristi Eveland, Ali Hawkins, Courtney Jones, Tobin Heath.

SKY BLUE FC: Karen Bardsley, Christie Rampone, Jen Buczkowski, Anita Asante, Natasha Kai, Sarah Walsh, Heather O’Reilly, Meghan Schnur, Collette McCallum, Keeley Dowling, Kacey White.


UNC: Tobin Heath (Casey Nogueira) 18th minute
SBFC: Sarah Walsh (Heather O’Reilly) 44th minute
UNC: Nikki Washington 67th minute
« Last Edit: March 24, 2009, 12:43:09 PM by redrobin »

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Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
« Reply #29 on: March 24, 2009, 12:36:19 PM »
Team Preview: Sky Blue FC looks to be a soccer melting pot
Thursday, March 19, 2009
by Lauren Brill,

Sky Blue FC head coach and general manager Ian Sawyers is no stranger to winning at the pro ranks. In the WUSA’s inaugural season, Sawyers led the San Jose CyberRays to a championship and now he hopes to have the same fate in New Jersey with Sky Blue FC.

“To replicate winning would be great,” he said.

However that is easier said than done. With an entirely different roster, a new league and an East Coast home field, Sawyers must go to the drawing board to develop a suitable strategy for Sky Blue FC.

“I am very much in line with trying to find the right strategy that fits the personnel,” Sawyers said. “We've got to get all our personnel and find out where their strengths are and where they're at, and then structure something that features them and highlights them so they are maxing out at their best potential.”

Eight of the team’s likely starters, including U.S. National Team players Christie Rampone, Heather O’Reilly, Natasha Kai and Kacey White, as well as England’s Anita Asante, missed the first two weeks of training camp because of international obligations. In their absence, Sawyers began identifying players’ mental, physical and technical abilities as well as setting the tone and establishing team goals.

UNC graduate Yael Averbuch explained, “One thing that really came through strongly is that Ian has very high standards for us, which is exciting and motivating for all of us just to know that we have goals and the ambition of playing really good soccer and winning at the same time.”

Despite the early absences of several key players, Sawyers already has a vision of a style of soccer that crosses cultural boundaries. With a roster that includes a mix of international and U.S. players, Sawyers intends on Sky Blue FC becoming a soccer melting pot.

“If you've got Brazilian players and then English players and then some Australian players and some skilled players from the States, then we have to be able to be adaptable and play various styles, whether it’s short, long, possession or physical,” Sawyers said.

Irrespective of the various styles of play, Sawyers is dedicated to entertaining the fans with a strategy all players are familiar with … scoring. 

“We want to play a good offensive game,” Sawyers said. “We got a lot of offensive players. We have got Kacey White, we have got Heather O'Reilly, we have got Natasha Kai and obviously Sarah Walsh who has got an electric pace. Then we have got people like Kelly Parker pushing the envelope.”

While he plans on having a more offensive-minded squad, Sawyers also recognizes the importance of a solid defense and expects Christie Rampone and Anita Asante to anchor the back line. He has a close eye on defenders Keeley Dowling, Jenny Hammond and Christie Shaner as he begins to formulate a starting lineup.

Since the squad is newly assembled, the team does not have an in-house veteran. But Sky Blue’s fourth pick of the 2009 WPS Draft, Averbuch, expects that one of the game’s long-time players will emerge as a leader in the inaugural season.

“I would imagine that Christie Rampone will be the leader,” Averbuch, a New Jersey native, said. “ She is the captain of the Women’s National Team and she is a very experienced player who will be able to share that experience with some of the younger players, including myself.”

As the players get acquainted and the roster is finalized, Dowling is confident that the team will have great depth. 

“There are a lot of different players, I think everyone brings something different,” Dowling remarked.

However, Sawyers explained that the team’s depth could quickly change in the event of an injury or an international call up, which is why he filled several roster spots with versatile players.

“You look at Kacey White, you look at Heather O’Reilly, you look at Natasha Kai, they can play up front or attacking midfield role,” Sawyers said. “Yael Averbuch can play in various positions and we've got some young kids in different roles who are doing well for us right now, like Julianne Sitch and Jen Buczkowski. They can play in various roles for us.”

Training hard and developing chemistry at a rapid pace, Sky Blue FC is excited to kick off the season on April 5 against the Los Angeles Sol.  But as one Sky Blue FC player remarked, Opening Day is simply the first step towards much loftier goals.

“In the short term, our goal is to win the championship - he (Sawyers) really emphasized the long term,” Averbuch said. “We want to take Sky Blue FC and bring Sky Blue FC to the world stage and be the top women’s soccer club in the world eventually.”

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Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
« Reply #30 on: March 26, 2009, 04:01:12 PM »
Sky Blue FC Announces Season-Opening Roster

Somerset, New Jersey
March 25, 2009

With Opening Day quickly approaching, Sky Blue FC announced its season-opening roster today. The NJ/NY representative in Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) currently carries 21 players on its roster – one below the league limit of 22 players.

Sky Blue FC will kick off its inaugural season on April 5th when it hosts the Los Angeles Sol at 4 p.m. at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, NJ. (888-SBFC-TIX |

Sky Blue FC returns to New Jersey today from preseason training in Greensboro, NC, where the team has been preparing for the season since the end of February.

Tickets are on sale for Sky Blue FC’s first-ever season with special offers now available in the Sky Blue Store ( Purchase a 10-Game Flex Plan today and get a special invitation to a Meet & Greet this Sunday with Sky Blue FC players. For more information, please call 888-SBFC-TIX (888-723-2849) or e-mail


22   Alexander, Cori - Goalkeeper - Seattle Sounders   
5     Asante, Anita (England) - Defender - Chelsea   
10   Averbuch, Yael - Midfield
1     Bardsley, Karen - Goalkeeper - Pali Blues   
23   Branam, Jen - Goalkeeper - Bälinge   
4     Buczkowski, Jen  - Midfield - Chicago Gaels   
17   Dowling, Keeley - Defender - KIF Örebro   
19   French, Mele - Forward - Pali Blues   
2     Hammond, Jenny - Defender - Chicago Gaels     
6     Kai, Natasha - Forward - Kailua AA     
13   Keselica, Noelle - Midfield - Bälinge     
14   McCallum, Collette (Australia) - Midfield - Perth Glory   
9     O’Reilly, Heather - Midfield/Forward - New Jersey Wildcats     
7     Parker, Kelly - Midfield - FC Indiana Lionesses     
3     Rampone, Christie - Defender - New York Power
11   Rosana (Brazil) - Midfield - SV Neulengbach
12   Schnur, Megan - Midfield - New England Mutiny
18   Shaner, Christie - Defender - FC Indiana Lionesses   
38   Sitch, Julianne - Defender - FC Indiana Lionesses   
8     Walsh, Sarah (Australia) - Forward - Sydney FC   
20   White, Kacey - Midfield/Forward - Bälinge

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Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
« Reply #31 on: April 21, 2009, 11:35:52 AM »
Sky Blue FC falls to L.A. in opener
by Jamie Romm

Bridgewater, New Jersey — Women's professional soccer was introduced to New Jersey on Sunday when more than 6,000 fans watched the home team, Sky Blue FC, take on the best women's soccer player in the world.

The sell-out crowd watched the Brazilian sensation Marta score twice in a two-minute span late in the first half to lead the Los Angeles Sol to a 2-0 victory at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater.

Sky Blue FC head coach Ian Sawyers said that the team tried their best to stop Marta, but between the 42nd minute and the 44th minute, her play was just too much.

"You can't stop her, as the ESPN expression goes, you can only hope to contain her," Sawyers said.

Marta is the three-time defending FIFA World Player of the Year.

Gov. Jon S. Corzine welcomed the soccer team to New Jersey before the game, and Julie Foudy, two-time Olympic gold medalist and former U.S. Women's team captain for 14 years, provided the ceremonial "first kick" along with her daughter.

Sawyers said that the atmosphere for the game, in the converted baseball stadium, was exciting.

"It was phenomenal," Sawyers said. "I was out there about an hour and a half before the game and there were people out there."

He said that all concerns about fans showing up to the game went away when he saw the more than 6,000 fans.
Sky Blue FC had its chances in the match but Sol goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc, who serves as an assistant coach at Rutgers University, made one decisive save in each half to claim the shutout.

In the 42nd minute, Marta took advantage of a giveaway and split two defenders before slotting a shot under Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Jenni Branam. In the 44th minute, Han Duan set up the second goal as she carried the ball up the left side before serving a cross for Marta to put into the back of the net.

Marta, who received "oohs" and "aahs" from the crowd during her play, received a lot of support from the opposing stands.

"It's very gratifying for an athlete … ," Marta said. "I hope they would understand that I'd sign every autograph in the stadium, but I'd be here until tomorrow."

Sky Blue FC is one of seven teams, along with the Los Angeles Sol, that are part of the inaugural season of Women's Professional Soccer (WPS).

Heather O'Reilly, a member of the U.S. Women's National Team, said despite the loss, she was excited to play in front of her home state. "Today was an extraordinary day for women's soccer and for New Jersey," O'Reilly said. "We were a part of history, which was really special. As a player, it was a joy, especially being from New Jersey, with the atmosphere here which was incredible."

She said that she left the game very confident in what her team has to offer and the league as a whole.

"The people came to see good women's soccer, and that's what they got," O'Reilly said. "There are some world-class players out there."

O'Reilly, a graduate of East Brunswick High School, was nominated in 2007 for Sports Illustrated's 2007 Sportsman of the Year.

"It was the first game," O'Reilly said. "We got out a lot of the jitters and are moving on more confident."

New Jersey native and U.S. Women's National team member Christie Rampone only played for 27 minutes before leaving with a hamstring injury but was still thrilled to be playing soccer in her home state.

"For the first game here, it was awesome," Rampone said.

Rampone, of Point Pleasant, played collegiate soccer at Monmouth University.

Sky Blue FC will play its home matches at TD Bank Ballpark as well as Yurcak Field on the campus of Rutgers University in Piscataway.

The NJ/NY WPS franchise concludes its two-game season-opening stand at TD Bank Ballpark next Saturday when it hosts FC Gold Pride of California at 7:45 p.m.

The feeling spread throughout both teams was that this league would grow and strive in the United States.

"Everyone here has the goal of growing female football," Marta said.

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Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
« Reply #32 on: April 21, 2009, 11:58:35 AM »
Marta shines in Sol victory

April 5, 2009
by Jeff Kassouf, NY Soccer Examiner

Chances were few and far between for Sky Blue FC in the team’s inaugural match on Sunday.

The team struggled to create chances in the final third of the field, falling to the Los Angeles Sol 2-0 before a crowd of 6,053 at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, NJ.

“In front of goal I think we got a little bit skittish,” said Sky Blue FC Coach Ian Sawyers.

Marta impressed the Garden State crowd with two goals in a span of three minutes.  Her first came unassisted in the 42nd minute as the Brazilian playmaker tore through the Sky Blue FC defense. 

Her run began at the 18 yard box and ended with her slotting a shot past Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Jenni Branam from six yards out.  Three minutes later, Marta tapped in a Han Duan cross to make the score 2-0 before halftime.

Los Angeles dictated play for most of the game, particularly in the first half.  Sky Blue FC was able to possess the ball at times, but could not put the ball on frame.

Sky Blue FC was forced to make an early adjustment to its backline when Captain Christie Rampone pulled up with an injury in the 27th minute.  Rampone strained her right hamstring while battling Marta just minutes earlier.

She was replaced by Keeley Dowling, who Sawyers was impressed with.  Meanwhile, Rampone’s status will be determined in the coming days, but she is optimistic that she will return to the field soon.

Though the home team is disappointed with the result, all parties involved understand the bigger picture.  The game was the first of many for Sky Blue FC and fans throughout the New York/New Jersey market and players were excited to be a part of something special.

“As a player, it was a joy for me to play in, especially because it was in New Jersey,” said Heather O’Reilly, the East Brunswick, NJ, native.  “The atmosphere here was incredible.”

Her teammates and coaches had similar thoughts, but even the Sol’s Marta understood what the game meant.  As an ambassador of the league, she understands that promoting it has nothing to do with what team or country she plays for.

“At the end of the day, we are all here to grow the league,” she said through a translator.

Sky Blue:  23 Jenny Branam, 2 Jenny Hammond, 3 Christie Rampone (17 Keeley Dowling, 28), 4 Jen Buczkowski (8 Sarah Walsh, 46), 5 Anita Asante, 6 Natasha Kai (7 Kelly Parker, 73), 9 Heather O'Reilly, 12 Meghan Schnur, 14 Collette McCallum, 20 Kacey White, 38 Julianne Sitch.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2009, 06:22:12 PM by redrobin »

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Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
« Reply #33 on: April 27, 2009, 07:05:08 PM »
O'Reilly's effort helps Sky Blue FC tie FC Gold Pride, 1-1

by  WPS Staff Report
Bridgewater, New Jersey (April 11, 2009)

It took a while but Sky Blue FC finally found the back of the net for the franchise’s first goal ever. Local girl Heather O’Reilly did the honors connecting in the latter stages of the second half to help Sky Blue FC salvage a 1-1 tie with FC Gold Pride in a Women’s Professional Soccer match at TD Bank Ballpark.

After suffering a shutout loss to the Los Angeles Sol in its first-ever match last weekend, Sky Blue FC came from behind to earn the tie with the California Bay Area team. O’Reilly scored in the 76th minute to erase the lead that Carrie Dew had given FC Gold Pride in the 33rd minute on the team’s only shot on goal of the game.

Sky Blue FC didn’t lack quality chances in the match with the first coming in the 17th minute. Collette McCallum drove in a short corner kick that was met by the head of Keeley Dowling but her attempt bounded off the top of the bar and over the goal.

FC Gold Pride’s goal came thanks to a couple of fortunate deflections. A short corner kick from Tiffany Weimer deflected back to Dew, who hit a shot from the top of the box that took a deflection into the lower left corner of the goal past Sky Blue FC 'keeper Karen Bardsley.

Four minutes after the opening goal, the visitors threatened again but Bardsley did well to kick away a shot from Christine Sinclair as the Canadian international broke into the box.

Sky Blue FC had the better of the play in the second half culminating with O’Reilly’s goal. Natasha Kai and FC Gold Pride 'keeper Nicole Barnhart were involved in a big collision in the box but the loose ball was cleared out. One minute later, Kai laced a shot from outside the box that just deflected wide right.

In the 62nd minute, Sarah Walsh laid off a nice pass for O’Reilly but Barnhart was on point with a diving save at the near post.

O’Reilly, an East Brunswick, N.J. native, thrilled the home crowd that contained many fans from her hometown East Brunswick Soccer Club. Sarah Walsh set up the play for O’Reilly, who was serving as the team captain in the absence of injured defender Christie Rampone. O’Reilly burst into the box and rolled a right-footed shot into the lower left of the goal from 10 yards out.

FC Gold Pride's best chance of the second half came in the 86th minute when Eriko Arakawa hooked a shot just over the bar from outside the top of the box.

With the tie, that was played in front of 2,753 fans, Sky Blue FC’s record is now 0-1-1 while FC Gold Pride stands at 1-0-1. Sky Blue FC returns to action on April 19 when it travels to face the Chicago Red Stars at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, a match that will be broadcast on Fox Soccer Channel (6pm ET/3pm PT). FC Gold Pride, meanwhile, travels to face the Los Angeles Sol on Sunday, April 19 (1pm PT).


Ian Sawyers

On tonight’s match
We are much more pleased with our performance as a team. We had more energy and really went after them and felt a little unfortunate at halftime since they only had one shot which was a deflection that went in. We didn’t have enough quality in the final third all night until Heather put that one away and that was the difference. We sat on them pretty well and put them under a lot of pressure so we’re encouraged but unfortunately we are still two points lost.

On the goal
We didn’t get caught off guard but she turned and hit it and it got deflected so our goalkeeper was going one way and it hit the defender and went in the other side.

On the team's chemistry
It’s just a matter of playing together longer. A lot of these players haven’t played together long enough to know each other tendencies so while we’re pushing them to do it, we’ve got to be patient with them but its frustrating.

On starting Karen Bardsley vs. Jenni Branam
We lost last week and conceded two goals and one of them I think we could have done a better job with. Mainly, I want to get them both time and then let them scrap it out for a starting position.

On Christie Rampone playing tonight
Christie might have been able to go tonight but it’s not worth it for us. She is too valuable and we wanted to give her another weeks rest to see if we can get her healthy so we don’t loose her for three, four or five weeks time.

Heather O’Reilly

On tonight’s match
We as a team are really happy with a lot of things that happened tonight. The atmosphere of this game was incredible. Our team is getting better and better and we played against some world class players tonight from FC Gold Pride; the best players in the world. We dominated them and we played a great game. They came back and scored a goal early but we showed a lot of fight and grit and we stayed unified and really put the heat on them. Unfortunately we come away with a tie but we have to be happy with the growth of our team from the first game.

On the goal
Our team was being very patient with building up and sometimes we kind of got overzealous with long balls that didn’t work. That time, we built it through the midfield and Sarah Walsh played a perfectly textured ball to me on a diagonal run and I saw Nicole Barnhart come out and I put it in the side netting.

Natasha Kai

On tonight’s match
As a team, we came together and we fought back until the 93rd minute. That’s what it’s going to take for us to come back. We believe in each other and we know that if we look to the left and to the right that we have each others back. I felt like we were more comfortable today with each other even though we still didn’t come up with the win.

Sky Blue:  1 Karen Bardsley, 4 Jen Buczkowski, 5 Anita Asante, 6 Natasha Kai, 7 Kelly Parker, 8 Sarah Walsh (20 Kacey White, 88), 9 Heather O'Reilly, 12 Meghan Schnur, 14 Collette McCallum (10 Yael Averbuch, 66), 17 Keeley Dowling, 38 Julianne Sitch.

Goal - Heather O'Reilly (76), assist by Sarah Walsh.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2009, 07:24:19 PM by redrobin »

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Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
« Reply #34 on: April 29, 2009, 02:10:07 AM »
Red Stars, Sky Blue FC battle to 0-0 tie

WPS - Staff Report
19th April 2009

Bridgeview, Illinois - On a harsh, rainy day, the Chicago Red Stars (1-0-2) and Sky Blue FC (0-1-2) battled to a 0-0 tie. The game was the home opener for the Red Stars at Toyota Park with 5,824 fans braving the conditions.

Despite strong showings in the attacking third, neither team could find the back of the net. Chicago 'keeper Caroline Jonsson recorded . Sky Blue FC goalkeepers Karen Bardsley and Jenni Branam split the shutout - Sky Blue FC's first of the season - with Bardsley recording four saves before leaving the game at halftime with back spasms. Branam posted two saves in the second half.

For the game, Chicago held a 18-7 advantage in shots with most of those coming in the first half, but Sky Blue FC had some of the most dangerous chances in the game.
"It was great to be a part of history here in Chicago - it was a good crowd and the fans in Chicago are hardcore just like the fans in New Jersey," said Sky Blue FC Head Coach and General Manager Ian Sawyers. "Coming away with the point on the road is not the perfect outcome. We played much better in the second half and created more chances."
With the tie, Sky Blue FC stands at 0-1-2 for two points and fifth place in WPS. Chicago now stands at 1-0-2 for five points and third place.
In the opening half, the Red Stars had the better of the play holding a 13-3 advantage in shots while earning 10 corner kicks but the home side couldn't find the back of the net.
In the 21st minute, Sky Blue FC nearly opened the scoring. Sarah Walsh carried forward before placing a perfectly-weighted splitting ball into the box. Fellow Australian Collette McCallum flew in on the left and beat Red Stars 'keeper Caroline Jonsson to the ball but her soft chip skimmed off the top of the bar and over.
For the rest of the first half, Sky Blue FC did well to avoid giving up a goal as Chicago pressed. In the 35th minute, Sky Blue FC keeper Karen Bardsley came well off her line to challenge Megan Rapinoe, who controlled the ball along the endline before firing over the goal from an angle. Seconds later, Carli Lloyd went right at Bardsley from distance.
In the 39th minute, the Red Stars came close off a crazy sequence. Karen Carney served a ball in from the right that was flicked on goal by Christiane but Sky Blue FC defender Keeley Dowling was there to clear the ball off the line. On the ensuing play, Rapinoe attempted a bicycle kick from just inside the box that was tipped over the bar by Bardsley.
Right before the halftime whistle, Carney blasted a free kick that was punched over by Bardsley, who took no chances in the wet conditions.
Sky Blue FC came out strong after the break and created the best chances in the second half. The visitors almost made a statement early when Kacey White served in a nice ball in the 48th minute but Julianne Sitch couldn't turn her header on goal.
In the 61st minute, Heather O'Reilly triggered a counterattack, carrying forward before finding Walsh on the right. Her cross went all the way through the box before finding White on the other side of the box. White cut the ball for McCallum but her first-time shot went over the goal from eight yards out.
After McCallum missed wide of the far post from an angle off a nice feed from O'Reilly in the 73rd minute, Sky Blue FC came up with a pretty buildup eight minutes later orchestrated by White in the center of the park. At the end of the possession, White found second-half substitute Natasha Kai and she evaded a defender at the top of the box before blasting a shot that was stopped by Jonsson.
The Red Stars gave their fans a glimmer of hope and Sky Blue FC a big scare in the closing seconds of stoppage time. The ball fell right to the foot of Lindsey Tarpley at the top of the box, but her hard shot was right at Branam, who held on to save the tie for Sky Blue FC.

Sky Blue FC has a bye next weekend while the Chicago Red Stars remain at home to host the Boston Breakers on Saturday, April 25 at 7:30pm CT.



“The game was a pretty exciting for a 0-0 tie, at least from our perspective, with some end to end opportunities.  Obviously we felt like we could have put a few away and I’m sure they feel the same way.  Coming away with an away point is ok, we haven’t quite got there yet.  We’re moderately happy but still proud to be part of a great day here in Chicago.”

On subbing goalkeepers at the half:

“Bardsley got back spasms at halftime.  She was on the training table for a little while and we weren’t sure if she was going to be able to go or not.  We don’t know what it is yet, probably having to make all those saves in the first half.  I don’t know if the cold locked her up or what.  We didn’t really want to (make a switch), but we were forced to do it.”


“It’s an amazing experience.  Growing up in the area, I’ve gone to Soldier Field to watch the Fire play and obviously come here the last few years.  Just to be able to be here and have the experience myself is unbelievable.


“It’s an amazing experience, growing up here and having played with a lot of the girls that were in the crowd to support us.  I just think it’s an amazing atmosphere.  I was very fortunate to have all my friends come out to the game and to get to play in front of them.”

Sky Blue: 1 Karen Bardsley (23 Jenni Brannam, 46), 4 Jen Buczkowski, 5 Anita Asante, 7 Kelly Parker (6 Natasha Kai, 62), 8 Sarah Walsh, 9 Heather O'Reilly, 12 Meghan Schnur, 14 Collette McCallum (10 Yael Averbuch, 85), 17 Keeley Dowling, 20 Kacey White, 38 Julianne Sitch.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2009, 11:58:34 AM by redrobin »

Offline redrobin

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Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
« Reply #35 on: May 04, 2009, 10:52:03 AM »
FC Gold Pride edges Sky Blue FC, 1-0

WPS - Staff Report
3rd May 2009
Santa Clara, California

The skies cleared and the sun shined for the second meeting of the season between FC Gold Pride and Sky Blue FC on Sunday.  The Pride emerged victorious, earning a 1-0 victory over Sky Blue FC in a physical match.

Both teams mounted dangerous attacks throughout the first half and as a result, both keepers were tested and came up with extraordinary saves.  FC Gold Pride keeper Nicole Barnhart earned her first shutout of the season, withstanding numerous seemingly unstoppable shots by Sky Blue FC’s offense.

“I think once again it was definitely an entertaining game,” said FC Gold Pride Head Coach Albertin Montoya.  “We played some good soccer out there unfortunately we didn’t get some goals there in the first half.  One thing we focused on this week was getting a clean sheet for the first time and fortunately it paid off for us.”

“I think I have to go out there and try to do everything I can to make sure my team is in it, and it doesn’t really matter what the other goalkeeper is doing,” said Barnhart.  “If I can do that that, it’s what counts and our defense played well too so we came out on top.”

The Pride was given a chance to get on the board in the 38th minute after forward Tiffany Weimer suffered a foul in the box.  Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Jenni Branam came up with a big save on Weimer's penalty kick, pushing the shot wide, and keeping the teams even at 0-0. 

“It comes from years of experience,” said Branam.  “It was all or nothing so I held as long as I could and I tried to fake one way and I went the other way.”

The match was filled with plenty of physical play. Sky Blue FC midfielder Kelly Parker may have gotten a little too physical pressuring Formiga and was issued a yellow card in the 44th minute.  The teams exchanged near misses at the end of the first half.  First, Heather O’Reilly hit the post on a sliding, all-out effort to find the back of the net.  Weimer followed up that attack by bouncing a well-struck free kick off the cross bar to end the half.

Both teams shook up their lineup in the second half, using up all three of their substitutions.   FC Gold Pride substituted the entire starting front line seeing Eriko Arakawa, Leigh Ann Robinson and Adriane take over the front line on the attack. 

The fresh legs up top seemed to be the right move for the Pride as Adriane connected with Leigh Ann Robinson for the game winning goal in the 86th minute.  For Robinson, who can usually be seen on the Pride’s back line, this marks the first goal of her professional career.

“I was just staying out wide; that is what we kept talking about,” said Robinson. “So, I was there and Adriane just got her head up, we made eye contact and she gave me a perfect ball so, I just went towards the goal.”

With Robinson’s goal, the Pride has now had goals scored by six different players, a stat that only the Pride and the Washington Freedom can claim.

With Sunday’s victory, the Pride takes over sole possession of fourth place in the WPS standings with a 2-2-1 record.  For Sky Blue FC, the loss leaves the team still searching of their first WPS victory. They now share the sixth place slot with the Saint Louis Athletica, both teams have a 0-2-2 record.

Today’s match was the second of five consecutive road games for Sky Blue FC.  The team will return home to regroup before heading to Chicago to take on the third place Red Stars on Sunday, May 10 in a match that will be broadcast on Fox Soccer Channel (6pm ET/3pm PT).  The Pride will take this week to prepare for its first trip to the Midwest to take on the Saint Louis Athletica on Saturday, May 9 (8pm ET/7pm CT/5pm PT).


Sky Blue Head Coach – Ian Sawyers

Overall thoughts on the game…

“Obviously disappointed with the result, to come this far and to not get anything out of this game is pretty disappointing.  They had some excellent chances in the first half and again the in the second half and we thought we had a couple golden chances that we didn’t take care of.  Overall all just pretty disappointed with the quality.”

Thoughts on being back in the Bay Area…

“It was great, I got to hang out with some people that I love dearly, very special people.  So we’re kind of half happy, but that’s okay.”

On having a professional soccer league for women…

“It’s a great opportunity and it’s great to have it back again.  I think the overall quality and depth is probably deeper this time around and the quality of player is deeper.  We want to be good stewards of the game and make sure your daughters and grand-daughters have a league to look up to.”

Goalkeeper Jen Branam
On saving the penalty kick…
“It comes from years of experience.  It was all or nothing so I held as long as I could and I tried to fake one way and I went the other way.

On the goal that beat her…
“It was a bummer.  It went past me near post, on the ground almost.”

Sky Blue: 23 Jenni Branam, 3 Christie Rampone, 5 Anita Asante, 7 Kelly Parker, 8 Sarah Walsh (11 Rosana, 65), 9 Heather O'Reilly, 10 Yael Overbuch (20 Kacey White, 80), 12 Meghan Schnur, 14 Collette McCallum (6 Natasha Kai, 46), 17 Keeley Dowling, 38 Julianne Sitch.   
« Last Edit: May 04, 2009, 04:31:15 PM by redrobin »

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Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
« Reply #36 on: May 24, 2009, 01:39:25 AM »
Sky Blue FC General Manager and Head Coach Ian Sawyers suspended indefinitely

WPS Release
Washington, D.C.
23rd May 2009

Sky Blue FC announced today that Ian Sawyers has been indefinitely suspended from his duties as General Manager and Head Coach. Current Assistant Coach Kelly Lindsey will take over as an interim head coach for today's game against the Washington Freedom.

"Differences have arisen between Ian and the ownership of the organization," said Thomas Hofstetter, CEO and President of Sky Blue Soccer - the parent organization of Sky Blue FC. "We are working through this matter as professionally as possible and will have further information available sometime next week."

Sky Blue FC faces the Freedom this afternoon at 4:30 p.m. at RFK Stadium


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Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
« Reply #37 on: May 24, 2009, 11:02:47 AM »
What a nice word for sacking lol. It looks strange to me to do that so early in the season.

Offline K_Lincourt30

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Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
« Reply #38 on: October 24, 2009, 02:25:43 AM »
Sky Blue FC Adds Dutch National Team Captain Daphne Koster

Somerset, N.J. (Wednesday, October 21, 2009) – Defending Women’s Professional Soccer champion Sky Blue FC made official today the signing of Dutch National Team captain Daphne (Daf-nuh) Koster, becoming the first Dutch player to play in WPS. Koster adds another proven champion to the Sky Blue FC defense, as the central defender has been a member of nine championship clubs in her native Netherlands.

“Daphne Koster is internationally experienced, and she will be a great addition to our defensive line,” Sky Blue FC head coach Pauliina Miettinen commented. “She played extremely well at the European Championships and was one of the backbones of the Netherlands defense, overall one of the best defenders in the tournament. Daphne is very versatile player with an ability to read the game well, and she is also a leader on and off the field.”

Koster began her soccer career at the age of six with SVA in Assendelft, where she played until turning 19 years old. The Den Haag native then joined Ter Leede in Sassenheim and was a winner of four national championships, two KNVB Cups and the Super Cup once. Following the 2002-03 season, she was named the runner-up for MVP of the Dutch Hoofdklasse (Premier) League before winning the award the next two seasons. She has since spent the past two years with AZ in Alkmaar, winning another pair of league championships.

“It has always been a dream to play in the USA, and I am very delighted that this dream comes true at Sky Blue FC,” Koster said of the signing. “I think WPS is the best competition in the world at this moment, and I look forward to the challenge of playing with and against the best players in a professional setting.”

Koster first played for the Dutch National Team at the age of 16 and has since capped 91 times. She has enjoyed a 12-year career with her native national team and currently serves as its captain.

"From all reports by Pauliina, who scouted this talented player in the recent women's European Championships this past August, Sky Blue FC is getting a solid defender with tremendous ability and extensive international experience,” Sky Blue FC General Manager Gerry Marrone stated. “The fact that Daphne is the captain of her country's national team is also testimony of the respect from her teammates, in addition to her leadership skills."

This signing marks the second in what has been an exciting week for Sky Blue FC after the team announced this past Monday that it has agreed to terms with U.S. National Team midfielder and New Jersey native Carli Lloyd. The team recently announced Miettinen as its head coach, and her assistant coaching staff was unveiled last week.

"This has been an exciting month for Sky Blue FC,” Marrone continued. “We have put together a high-quality and well-rounded coaching staff, as well as announced the signing of two top players. We look forward to building on the momentum that carried us to the 2009 WPS Championship."