Womens Football Forum

World Women's Football => USA Women's Football => Topic started by: redrobin on December 28, 2007, 09:17:58 PM

Title: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin on December 28, 2007, 09:17:58 PM
Ex Malmo star is new head coach in New Jersey

Reddy Named Sky Blue W-League Head Coach

BEDMINSTER, NJ (December 18, 2007) - Sky Blue Soccer announced today that Denise Reddy has been named head coach of Jersey Sky Blue - the organization's W-League franchise. One of the finest women's soccer products ever to come out of New Jersey, Reddy served as an assistant coach with Jersey Sky Blue last year and will guide the team into its second season in the W-League.

A Hazlet, NJ native, Reddy starred on the collegiate level at Rutgers University before spending 11 years playing professionally in Sweden's Damallsvenskan - that country's top women's soccer league. She returned to the United States in 2006 to work as a player/assistant coach with the New Jersey Wildcats before moving to Sky Blue for the 2007 season.

"I am happy that Denise will be taking a lead role within Sky Blue Soccer," said Thomas Hofstetter, President and CEO of Sky Blue Soccer. "Her international experience in world class soccer and her experience her in the United States make her perfectly qualified for the position as the head coach for our W-League Team."

Reddy, who will also serve as the director of the Sky Blue Soccer school, has already started the player recruitment process and is looking forward to her first season as a head coach in the W-League.
"I am honored to have been chosen to coach Jersey Sky Blue this upcoming season," Reddy said. "I look forward to the challenge of putting together a highly competitive team. I'm anxious to get the season underway and can't wait for our first training session."

In her two seasons as an assistant coach in the W-League, Reddy helped her teams to a 26-2 record and postseason appearances in both seasons. In 2006, the New Jersey Wildcats posted a 14-0 mark before falling to the Ottawa Fury in the Eastern Conference final. This past summer, Jersey Sky Blue recorded a 12-2 mark in its debut season in the W-League before losing to Ottawa in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Prior to returning to the United States in 2006, Reddy played for 11 years in Sweden's Damallsvenskan with the final 10 years spent with Malmö DFF. During her stay in Sweden, Reddy starred for Malmö FF for 10 years in 336 games after playing one season for Umeå IK in 1995. She served as the Malmö team captain from 1999 to 2005 and also worked in the front office with both the Malmö men's and women's teams.

A former Rutgers University All-American out of Raritan High School, Reddy was a star defender for the Lady Knights from 1988 to 1991. She started all four seasons at Rutgers appearing in 81 games and served as the team captain in 1990 and 1991. She also played for the Rutgers women's basketball team from 1990-1993 helping the Lady Knights to the 1993 Atlantic 10 Championship.

"Denise is a great choice to lead Jersey Sky Blue in 2008 - a home-grown talent with extensive international professional experience," said Patric Santo Pietro, General Manager for Jersey Sky Blue. "She acquired a strong grasp of what it takes to succeed in the W-League over the past two years and I look forward to her assembling a championship contender."

Jersey Sky Blue will kick off its second season in the W-League in May 2008. Sky Blue will announce the team's schedule and home venue in the near future.

Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin on May 02, 2008, 01:30:24 PM
The Sky Blues have made a string of announcements concerning their squad for 2008 in recent weeks.

Among their returning players from last year's squad are Domenique Esposito and Bonnie Young, both former players for the New Jersey Wildcats. Also returning are Gina DeMaio and Lauren Ebert.

Jillian Loyden, their goalie, also returns after her successful 2007 debut season together with Fanta Cooper, their central defender, who played for two years with Balinge in the Swedish Damallsvenskan during their 2005 promotion season and the following 2006 campaign. Fanta also spent several seasons with the former Chicago Cobras W-League side.

There are a range of new signings too, notably Leah Robinson (Canada) and Stacey Socco (Australia) who have both joined the Sky Blues from the successful Ottawa Fury team. Both also played for Jitex BK in Sweden in summer 2006.

Another Swedish connection is the signing of Yolande Edenyo, experienced Swedish youth international, who formerly played for Balinge from 2000 to 2004 and played for FC Indiana in their 2006 WPSL campaign.

Stephanie Peel also joins from the WPSL after playing for New York Athletic. She has also several seasons of experience in the W-League for various expired franchises (Genesis and Geoff please note!!!) Her last W-League season was with the New York Magic in 2006.  Marisa Brown, a member of the USA Under-21 squad, also joins, having played for 1st division Swedish side Danmarks IF last summer after previous W-League/WPSL experience with Boston Renegades and FC Indiana.

Along with a number of college signings, it should be interesting to see how Jersey Sky Blue do in their second W-League season. Last year they went out to Ottawa in the Easterm Conference semi final play-offs.

Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin on June 07, 2008, 02:28:59 PM
Brazil Legend Sissi to Join Sky Blue Scouting Effort

SOMERSET, NJ (June 6, 2008)
As Sky Blue Soccer prepares for the kickoff of the inaugural Women’s Professional Soccer season in 2009, the New Jersey-based organization will have a women’s soccer legend scouring the Western hemisphere for talent. Former Brazil great Sissi will be working with Sky Blue as a scout for talent in the Americas.

A star on the international level as well as in the former WUSA professional league, Sissi is quite familiar with Ian Sawyers – the General Manager and Head Coach for Sky Blue Soccer’s professional team. Sissi played for Sawyers from 2001-2003 when he was the Head Coach of the San Jose CyberRays in the WUSA.

Currently working as a FIFA Ambassador, Sissi will be a delegate for the first-ever FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup in Chile to be held this coming October and November. Sissi will oversee day-to-day operations for the matches and while spreading the good will of FIFA. She also currently coaches with Las Positas College and Diablo Futbol Club in California.

“Sissi has made a huge impact on Women's soccer all around the world – she has been a phenomenal player and ambassador for the game,” Sawyers said. “More importantly she is a very special person, a humanitarian and a very close friend. Her role as a FIFA ambassador is well deserved and reflects the esteem she carries, wherever she goes.”

“As a Director of Scouting for the Sky Blue Organization she will be able to help us provide countless opportunities for a lot of young women to fulfill their dream of playing professional soccer. We are truly blessed to have her in our organization."

Sissi played for the Brazil Women’s National Team from 1988 to 2000 appearing in three World Cups and two Olympics. She was the co-leader in scoring at the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup with seven goals and also served as team captain in 1995, 1999 and 2000. She also finished second in the FIFA World Player of the Year voting in 1999.

In the WUSA, Sissi starred with the CyberRays in all three seasons that the league existed. Serving as the team’s playmaker and midfield leader, she led the team to the 2001 Founders Cup Championship and was also named to the league’s All-Star team in all three seasons. She was also awarded the WUSA Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2002.

“We’re honored to have one of the all-time greats of women’s soccer associated with Sky Blue,” said Sky Blue Soccer President and CEO Thomas Hofstetter. “There is a lot of women’s soccer talent in the Americas and we’re hoping Sissi can help us tap into that wealth.”

Season tickets are on sale now for the inaugural season of Women's Professional Soccer in 2009. The Sky Blue professional team will play all home games at Yurcak Field on the campus of Rutgers University in Piscataway, NJ. For more information on season tickets, visit the Sky Blue Soccer website at www.SkyBlueSoccer.com

Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin on September 26, 2008, 12:49:43 PM
After a mediocre W-League season by their own high standards, the Sky Blue franchise is now deep into the development phase of their new WPS side, due to start in summer 2009. Their W-League 2008 summer ended with 4 losses and 2 draws in the 14 game season in the North East Division of the Eastern Conference leaving them well short of a play-off spot.

Having dropped the Jersey from the title of their new team, the Sky Blues share of the first two WPS player picks is now known, and the Sky Blue coach, Ian Sawyers, comments on the outcome so far:-

Sky Blue FC picks Walsh, Rosana, Ester, Parker in International Draft
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
by Sky Blue Soccer

SOMERSET, NJ - After receiving a strong allocation of domestic talent last week, Sky Blue FC added some international flair to its roster today when Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) held its first-ever international draft.

With his selections in the four-round draft, Sky Blue FC General Manager and Head Coach Ian Sawyers claimed the rights to Sarah Walsh of Australia, Rosana and Ester of Brazil, and Kelly Parker of Canada. Sky Blue will now begin a formal negotiation process with each selected player upon receiving permission from that player’s current club.

Today’s international draft followed the allocation of players from the United States Women’s National Team last week. In the allocation process, Sky Blue FC earned the rights to Christie Rampone, Heather O’Reilly, and Natasha Kai. The order for the international draft was based upon the strength of each team’s allocation and Sky Blue FC was deemed to have the strongest and thus picked last in today’s proceedings.

“We are very happy with our picks,” Sawyers said. “We got our first pick, and it was a great way to set the tone. Considering that we were slated to pick last of all the teams in this round of international players, I got a lot of what I wanted.”

Sawyers tabbed Walsh with his first pick of the draft and seventh overall. The Australian striker has been a mainstay in recent years for the ‘Matildas’ appearing in the 2004 Olympics and the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The 25-year old was slated to play in the United States for the Pali Blues of the W-League – the top amateur women’s league in North America – this past summer but missed the season due to a broken leg.

The next two Sky Blue FC picks were Rosana and Ester – a pair of 26-year olds from the Brazil National Team that finished second at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup and won the silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. A defensive midfielder, Rosana currently plays for SV Neulengbach in Austria and has played in the last three Olympic Games and the past two World Cups. A playmaking midfielder, Ester played every game in the 2007 World Cup and the 2008 Olympics and currently plays for Santos in Brazil.

The final pick for Sky Blue FC was Canadian Kelly Parker – a long-time player in the W-League. A graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso, Parker played for the Ottawa Fury for five years before moving to W-League runner-up FC Indiana in 2008. An attacking central midfielder, the 27-year old has 48 goals and 41 assists over the past six W-League seasons and was named the W-League MVP in 2004.

“Since this is the fourth time I've done this, it brings a different challenge each time – different players, from different eras – but it’s always exciting,” said Sawyers, who served as the head coach for the San Jose CyberRays in the WUSA professional league from 2001 to 2003.

“We want our players to reflect the philosophy of Sky Blue Soccer, with good character and talent, and who want to play here. We want them to become great soccer role models, both on and off the field. New Jersey is in a very discerning neighborhood – our audience is so educated – so we want to give the fans a product all of us can be proud of.”
Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin on September 29, 2008, 09:55:46 PM
McCallum Added to Sky Blue FC International List
Monday, September 29, 2008
by Sky Blue FC

SOMERSET, NJ - Sky Blue FC - the New Jersey/New York entry into Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) - officially announced today that the club has acquired the negotiating rights to international player Collette McCallum of Australia. The rights to McCallum were acquired through the WPS post-draft discovery process.
McCallum is the fifth international player that Sky Blue FC has acquired the negotiating rights to. In last week's inaugural WPS International Draft, the New Jersey-based team picked Sarah Walsh of Australia, Rosana and Ester of Brazil, and Kelly Parker of Canada. The international players join United States Olympic gold medalists Christie Rampone, Heather O'Reilly, and Natasha Kai as potential players for Sky Blue FC.
"Colette is one of the most talented playmakers in the women's game right now - her ability to split defenses from deep in her own half along with her combination play make her an exceptional pick up for us," said Sky Blue FC General Manager and Head Coach Ian Sawyers. "She combines extremely well with Sarah (Walsh) and we hope they form a tremendous partnership, as they have with the Australian National Team. We look forward to bringing her into the Sky Blue family."
At just 22 years old, McCallum already boasts an accomplished international career including a selection as a finalist for the Asian Football Confederation Women's Player of the Year award in 2007. The central midfielder has been a member of the Australia Women's National Team since 2005 with six goals in 54 caps including four appearances at the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup where the "Matildas" advanced to the quarterfinal round. She also appeared at two FIFA Under-20 World Championships in 2004 and 2006.
The Glasgow, Scotland-born McCallum already had a taste of playing in the United States this past summer when she starred for California's Pali Blues of the W-League. McCallum posted five goals and two assists in eight regular season games for the undefeated Blues before helping the first-year team to the W-League Championship.

Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin on October 04, 2008, 01:15:46 AM
Sky Blue FC Selects Asante in Discovery Process
Friday, October 03, 2008
by Sky Blue Soccer

Sky Blue FC – the New Jersey/New York entry into Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) – officially announced today that the club has acquired the negotiating rights to international player Anita Asante of England. The rights to Asante were acquired through the WPS post-draft discovery process.

Including Asante, Sky Blue FC has now acquired the negotiating rights to six international players. In the inaugural WPS International Draft, the New Jersey-based team picked Sarah Walsh of Australia, Rosana and Ester of Brazil, and Kelly Parker of Canada. Following that draft, Sky Blue FC added Collette McCallum of Australia as a post-draft discovery selection.

The international players join United States Olympic gold medalists Christie Rampone, Heather O’Reilly, and Natasha Kai as potential players for Sky Blue FC.

“Anita has rapidly become one of the top defensive players in the women’s game,” said Sky Blue FC General Manager and Head Coach Ian Sawyers. “We feel she will be a huge asset alongside Christie Rampone as the cornerstones in the Sky Blue FC defense.”

Asante has been a member of the England National Team since 2004. She played in every qualifying game leading up to the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup and then played every minute of her team’s four games at the World Cup as England advanced to the quarterfinal round before falling to the United States. She also played for England on the U-17 and U-19 youth levels, competing at the first-ever FIFA U-19 World Championship in 2002.

On the club level, Asante made news this past summer when she moved from England Women’s Premier League powerhouse Arsenal to Chelsea. Asante currently has Chelsea in second place in the league at 5-0-1 for 16 points while Arsenal stands atop the table at 7-0-0 for 21 points. During her time at Arsenal, Asante led the Lady Gunners to a stellar season in 2006/07 with a quadruple championship: the UEFA Women’s Cup, FA Women’s Cup, FA Women’s National Premier League championship, and FA Women’s Premier League Cup.

Sky Blue FC will now participate in the WPS General Draft on Monday, October 6. The draft will consist of four rounds of selections and 28 picks total from a pool of domestic and international players that have expressed interest in playing in the league. The draft can be followed online in real time at fans.womensprosoccer.com starting at 2 p.m. EST/11 a.m. PT.

Following the draft, there will be a recap and a discussion of WPS with Nick Webster, Steve Cohen and a special WPS guest on Fox Soccer Channel's Fox Football Fone-In live starting at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PT on Monday, October 6.

Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin on October 16, 2008, 10:57:44 AM
Sky Blue FC Adds Four Through WPS General Draft
Monday, October 06, 2008
by Sky Blue Soccer

Sky Blue FC – the New Jersey/New York franchise in Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) – obtained the negotiating rights to four additional players today through the WPS General Draft. With its four picks in the draft, Sky Blue FC selected goalkeeper Cori Alexander, defender Keeley Dowling, midfielder Kacey White, and defender Jenny Anderson-Hammond.

Sky Blue FC now controls the negotiating rights to 13 players total including six international players picked in the WPS International Draft and discovery process and the three United States Women’s National Team players – Heather O’Reilly, Christie Rampone, and Natasha Kai – acquired through an allocation process.

“Again, as in the last draft, I am delighted with the mix of players I was able to select,” said Sky Blue FC Head Coach and General Manager Ian Sawyers. “In this group we have international experience, either the full US National team, Under 23 or Under 20 US National teams. So they've played in big games, under pressure, and they bring that high level of playing experience with them to our team. All four of them also come from high level collegiate programs; at least two have won NCAA National Championships.”

The first pick in the draft for Sky Blue FC and seventh overall was Alexander, who starred on the collegiate level for the University of Portland and captured an NCAA Championship with the Pilots in 2005. She was a member of the United States Under-23 National Team that captured the Nordic Cup in each of the past two summers. The 23-year old native of Martinez, CA was also a member of the Seattle Sounders Women in the W-League this past summer.

Sky Blue FC added to its defense with its next pick (8th overall) selecting Keeley Dowling. The former University of Tennessee player has been in residency with the USWNT the past two years and also has extensive appearances for the United States on the youth level including a FIFA Under-19 World Championship title in 2002 and a Nordic Cup title with the US U-21 team in 2004. The 25-year old native of Carmel, IN also played in Sweden with KIF Örebro 2005 and 2006 and with the Charlotte Lady Eagles in the W-League.

With the 21st pick overall, Sky Blue FC tabbed former University of North Carolina standout Kacey White. A member of the USWNT and an alternate for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, White has also played with the US U-19, U-21, and U-23 National Teams. In addition to playing with Bälinge in Sweden, the 24-year old from Arlington, TX has also played on the club level for the New Jersey Wildcats – a team she led to the 2005 W-League Championship, earning Tournament MVP honors in the process.

The final Sky Blue FC pick and 22nd overall was Anderson-Hammond, who currently serves as an assistant coach at Eastern Illinois University. A graduate of Clemson University, Anderson-Hammond has extensive experience in the W-League, most recently with the Chicago Gaels in 2008. The 25-year old native of Mission Viejo, CA also played with the Asheville Splash, Boston Renegades, and Charlotte Lady Eagles.

Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin on October 16, 2008, 11:16:54 AM
The WPS October general draft results are on the main league thread but have been followed by some comment on the choices made by the seven teams.

Comments on the Sky Blue choices were as follows:-

Sky Blue FC

Picks: Cori Alexander, Keeley Dowling, Kasey White, Jenny Anderson-Hammond

Sometimes a draft pick is about need; sometimes it's about taking the best player left on the board. In a fortunate few situations, it's all of the above. While it's easy to wonder if Cori Alexander might have been available in the third round, considering no other ‘keeper was selected until the final round, she was far too good for Sky Blue to pass up without the benefit of hindsight. The former University of Portland standout certainly has the tools to be a first-choice ‘keeper from the moment the team gathers next spring.

Alexander was already going to be in good shape with Christie Rampone anchoring the back line, but until Monday's draft, it wasn't clear who those anchored few would be. Bringing in English international Anita Asante will be tremendous if it works out, but second-round pick Keeley Dowling and fourth-round pick Jenny Anderson-Hammond provide more concrete pillars to build around for now. Dowling, in particular, looks like one of those players who could gain a National Team foothold through WPS experience.

Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin on October 16, 2008, 02:45:56 PM
Ian Sawyers: ''I'm delighted with the mix of players I was able to select''
Friday, October 10, 2008
by Sky Blue Soccer

After the WPS General Draft, Sky Blue FC Head Coach and General Manager Ian Sawyers was asked for his reaction to his picks: goalkeeper Cori Alexander, defender Keeley Dowling, midfielder Kacey White, and defender Jenny Anderson-Hammond. Here are his thoughts:

Again, as in the last draft, I am delighted with the mix of players I was able to select. In this group we have international experience, either the full US National team, Under 23 or Under 20 US National teams. So they've played in big games, under pressure, and they bring that high level of playing experience with them to our team. All four of them also come from high level collegiate programs; at least two have won NCAA National Championships.

Trying to do your homework is the most difficult thing; especially when there are a lot of concerns, ground to be covered, budgetary constraints, and seeing players at the peak of their playing season, which is not always easy. As soon as I got on board I immediately went to Portugal (to the Algarve Cup in February) to try to get the download on international players, W-League and WPSL games and combines, and players in collegiate environment to try to get a sense of the general depth of talent. It all affects your perspective on both American and international talent, and assists in maximizing the odds, so you are always reaching for the cream of the crop.

One of the things you’ll see in WPS, is that coaches have chosen international players for almost all the offensive skill positions. One of great results is that Americans will compete with and against them, get better from that, and learn from them.

One of the major differences between the WPS and my tenure with the WUSA is we don’t have the headliners this time around. There’s no Mia Hamm, Birgit Prinz-- the real household names ’99 brought. The beauty of this is that WPS will make a lot of stars. For some of these players, their professional journey is just beginning. Being able to forge their way into the American consciousness will be an exciting journey for them.

My wife and child haven’t seen me in three weeks. This last week I had to get my blackberry surgically removed from my ear—I was talking to so many players, interviewing them. The thing we all have to remember is that this is like the futures market. You’re banking that even while you’ve seen these players, they come in fit, healthy, and strong. That’s the investment you’re willing to take, based on your character assessment as well as an evaluation of their soccer. For the most part, I was lucky in the past. I’ve had a lot of success with my speculation. I really feel good about our group, who are great people, as well as great athletes and soccer players. One of our major challenges will be to make them into a great team.

The most important part of any team is that it becomes a meritocracy; that players earn their way onto the team. There are some who have earned respect by winning gold medals and World Cups, and there are some staring their journey. Senior players will want to prove they’re worthy, and junior players will want to establish themselves. We want to create an environment that allows for both, as well as a strong sense of team cohesion.


Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin on October 23, 2008, 12:51:50 PM
Sky Blue Feature: A Conversation with Kacey White
October 20, 2008
by Gloria Averbuch - Sky Blue Soccer
U.S. National Team member Kacey White, selected by Sky Blue FC in the most recent draft, is no stranger to New Jersey, having played for the 2005 W-League Champion New Jersey Wildcats. She was also a standout player at the University of North Carolina (UNC), alma mater of other top WPS drafted players such as Heather O’Reilly, Cat Whitehill, Lori Chalupny and Lindsey Tarpley. Says UNC coach Anson Dorrance, “In the storied history of our program, Kacey White is the most productive flank midfielder we’ve ever had.”

How does a Texas girl feel about coming to New Jersey?  

I’m actually really excited. A lot of people have asked me what it’s like to live in the Northeast. I enjoyed it, and I don’t think it’s going to be difficult to acclimate to New Jersey. When I played for the Wildcats, I went into New York City a lot. I enjoyed all the sights, going to Broadway, everything the City has to offer. I’ve actually always been a “city girl,” even though I’m from Texas. I really love the area, and want to get to know it better. That’s not just New York; it’s New Jersey. I wouldn’t want to live there and not take full advantage of it.

What was it like going through the WPS draft?

It helped to know I'd be okay any place I went. That's the good thing about having lived overseas. But during the draft, it seemed all the teams were selecting defenders. I was sitting with my dad at the computer, and we talked about what it would be like for an NFL player, who is shown on T.V. during the process; how hard that would be. I really believe that I ended up where I need to be. The process was nerve racking though. You put your heart into what you do, but so many factors go into the draft. It's not just about you. It's what's the best fit (for the team), and the best timing.

What did you learn playing overseas?

In 2006, I played for one season for Balinge IF (in the Swedish Premier League Damallsvenskan). I went back to a different Swedish club in the Fall of ’07. (** I reckon that was AIK) The cultures play very differently. Americans are different from the Swedish, or the Brazilians. Playing overseas expanded the way I look at the game, tactically, and how the game can be played. I think it’s helped me develop as a player and helped me bring that to my game in the past two years.

Part of the challenge of WPS is to create a “viewing culture” in youth soccer. They play but don’t tend to watch. Did you watch soccer growing up?  

Definitely. I grew up watching videos of World Cups and other championships with my parents. I always had a passion. My father played in college and professionally in Colorado. That fostered within me an excitement about watching, and helped me develop my love of the game. I started having role models, both on and off the field, at a young age. That doesn’t happen enough today, but I was lucky to have it. Only recently, though, I’ve started using watching as a tool, to help me develop into a better player.

One thing that stood out about being overseas, is that they are all students of the game. Players are always watching, in person or on television or videos, how to play at the highest level. I took that from being over there as a way I could develop my game—by watching soccer even more. It’s so accessible in Europe. It’s mostly men’s games, but also the women’s game.

What can you and other players do to ensure success of WPS?  

It’s important we put the best product on the field. We have to train hard and take it seriously. Also, we have to do what we can to be positive role models off the field: participating in camps and clinics--whatever we can to promote game, so that young girls can relate to us and we can be accessible to them as well.


Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin on October 30, 2008, 11:15:01 AM
Dowling expects to learn a lot playing for Sky Blue FC
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
by Dan Lauletta, womensprosoccer.com

Keeley Dowling, a fringe National Team player in 2008, was taken eighth overall by Sky Blue FC in the October 6 WPS General Draft, and yet she still has one thing in mind when it comes to her soccer career: She wants to get better.

“That’s something that I’m definitely going to push for while I’m playing in WPS,” she said.  “Something I’m going to talk to Ian (Sawyers, Sky Blue head coach) about is to say, ‘Listen, I need to get better.  How can I get better?’”

The University of Tennessee’s first women’s soccer star, the 25-year-old Dowling was called into the National Team early this year, but a back injury took her out of consideration for a shot at the Olympic team.  In 2002, Dowling experienced the thrill of winning a world championship as a member of the U.S. squad that was victorious at the FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship.

Having now reached an age where her window of opportunity to become an international mainstay is closing, the central defender known for her vertical leap still has her sights set on drawing the attention of U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage.

“It’s still a goal of mine,” she said.  “With the National Team experience that I have, I know I still have some things I need to improve on.”

Part of that National Team experience has been training alongside fellow center back Christie Rampone.  That time should prove valuable if Dowling winds up in the center of the Sky Blue backline next to Rampone, the National Team captain who was allocated to the club in September.

“I wouldn’t say it was a lot, but I have gotten a chance to play with her,” Dowling said of Rampone.  “Her being as fast as she is makes her fun to play with.  She’s a very smart player.  Definitely if not the best, one of the best center backs.  I’ll definitely be learning a lot from her if that’s where I’m playing.

“However I can compliment her, I’ll just play to the best of my ability.  We’ll just kind of have to feel it out to see how we do.  I think she’ll bring the best out in me just because she has so much experience.  Hopefully I can do the same thing for her.”

Dowling though, stopped short of guaranteeing that she would be lining up in her familiar central defense role.  When she sent her draft form to the league, Dowling was certain to note her willingness and ability to play anywhere on the pitch.  She has spent the last year diversifying her game to make her more valuable to her side.

“I’ve been working more technically,” she said.  “I feel like the past year, that part of my game has gotten a lot better.  You have to be better technically if you play mid or center mid or outside back or forward.  That’s something that I’ve wanted to do.  I just want to be more versatile and not just stuck at center back.

For the time being, Dowling is rounding herself into playing shape.  She underwent treatment on her back during the summer and stayed clear of the weight room to give herself a chance to recover.

Last fall she took a position on the coaching staff at the University of Tennessee and sometimes joins in the action during training sessions.  As she continues to feel healthier, she has found herself jumping in to the fray more often.

One thing that surprised Dowling during her first recruiting season is how early high school players are committing to major colleges even compared to when she selected Tennessee.  Still she relishes an opportunity to help the Volunteers, whose record currently sits at 8-9-1, make the jump from a team just looking to reach the NCAA tournament to a national title threat.

“It’s been too many years in a row we have gotten to the Sweet Sixteen (but no further),” she said of the Lady Vols’ five Sweet Sixteen ousters over the last six seasons.

The WPS season will take Dowling away from a portion of recruiting season, but it will give her an advantage in being able to tell perspective players that she went through Tennessee and made it to the pro league.

“I don’t think it will hurt,” Dowling said.

Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin on January 12, 2009, 01:23:39 AM
Sky Blue's the limit for Australian women's soccer duo
by Frank Giase, The Star-Ledger
Monday January 05, 2009

Australia is slowly closing the gap on the elite teams in women's soccer and their players were in high demand at the Women's Professional Soccer International Draft last fall.

Two of those players will be playing in New Jersey this year, and don't be surprised if they turn out to be key components for Sky Blue FC this season.

Forward Sarah Walsh and central midfielder Collette McCallum helped Australia finish 1-0-2 in group play and advance to the quarterfinals of the 2007 Women's World Cup, where the team lost to Brazil, 3-2.

It was a performance that caught the eye of Sky Blue coach and general manager Ian Sawyers, who made Walsh the team's top pick (No. 7 overall) in the International Draft.

"I couldn't be happier with how things have turned out and can't wait to be a part of what seems to be a great setup," Walsh wrote in an e-mail.

Walsh will team with U.S. international Heather O'Reilly up front, but she has an advantage over O'Reilly because of her years playing with McCallum.

"My strength is probably my pace and ability to find myself in goal-scoring opportunities," Walsh wrote. "After spending years in the Australian national team with Collette, together we bring an understanding of each other's game, which has in the past produced many goals."

McCallum, whose rights were acquired through a post-draft discovery process, is looking forward to raising her game in what she hopes will become the top women's league in the world.

"I hope that WPS makes me a better football player physically and mentally," McCallum wrote in an e-mail. " ... It will also give me and other players the chance to show off our talent. It's very hard to show your face and ability in Australia."

While McCallum gets her share of goals, it's her creative play in the midfield that will be counted on most.

"I have good vision, I read the game really well and I'm a strong passer of the ball," McCallum wrote. "I've been called a dead-ball specialist quite a bit -- I love taking free kicks and corners. The one thing I really love is setting up goals and being a team player.

"I hope I bring all this to the club and that Sky Blue will win a trophy at the end of the season."

Both players are looking forward to playing alongside O'Reilly, as well as the other two U.S. internationals on the team, defender Christie Rampone and midfielder Natasha Kai.

"I have played against them several times," McCallum wrote. "All three are quality players that bring a different style to the game. It will be a great challenge to fit into the squad with my style of football and I hope to prove that I am a key player."

Said Walsh: "I have played against the U.S. girls several times in the past, so I'm looking forward to mixing it (up) with them on the same team for a change."

Walsh is also just happy to be playing again. She spent seven months recovering from a fractured tibia last year.

Last month, WPS held invitation-only combines on both coasts for graduating college seniors who have completed their eligibility, as well as national and international players from amateur leagues.

The league will hold its inaugural draft Jan. 16 in St. Louis in conjunction with the annual convention of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin on January 12, 2009, 02:43:26 PM
Sky Blue FC Reaches Agreement with Australians Walsh, McCallum
Tuesday, January 06, 2009 - Somerset, New Jersey
by Sky Blue Soccer

Sky Blue FC – the NJ/NY entry into Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) – announced today (5-1-09) that the club has secured agreements in principle with Australians Sarah Walsh and Collette McCallum for the 2009 season.

Both Walsh and McCallum are expected to be in uniform when Sky Blue FC kicks off its first season in WPS. The team will host the Los Angeles Sol on April 5, 2009 at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, NJ in its debut match.

The Australia Women’s National Team members are the first two internationals to come to terms with Sky Blue FC for the WPS inaugural season. Sky Blue FC obtained the negotiating rights to Walsh in the WPS International Draft in on September 24, 2008. The Aussie forward was the club’s first-round selection and the seventh-overall pick. A central midfielder, McCallum was picked up by Sky Blue FC as a post-draft discovery player two days later.

“The most important thing is that we have reached an agreement in principle on the main terms of the contract with Sarah Walsh and Collette McCallum,” said Sky Blue FC General Manager and Head Coach Ian Sawyers. “It means that they are very excited to get here.”

Sawyers is hoping that the familiarity between Walsh and McCallum will give Sky Blue FC the basis of a formidable attack. Walsh is a speedy striker with strong scoring ability, while McCallum is a capable creator in the midfield with the knack for setting up scoring opportunities. The two were catalysts for Australia’s strong showing at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup in China, where the team progressed out of the group stage and into the quarterfinal round.

“Obviously, having someone of Sarah Walsh's caliber – one of the quickest and most dangerous strikers in the world – is a huge plus,” Sawyers added. “And to have the skilled play-making of Collette McCallum behind Sarah is a huge asset. The fact that Collette has the experience of knowing Sarah's game so well, having played with her on the Australian National Team, means we are provided with both talent and stability.”

In joining Sky Blue FC for the inaugural WPS season, Walsh and McCallum will have the unique opportunity to participate in the kickoff of two women’s soccer leagues in less than a year’s span. The duo currently plays in Australia’s Westfield W-League, which started its first season in October and will wrap up with the Grand Final on January 17th. Walsh missed most of the season with Sydney FC due to injury but is back for the upcoming playoffs, while McCallum played with the Perth Glory.

“I'm very excited to be playing in WPS in ’09, WPS will be one of the most competitive leagues in the world, if not the most competitive league,” Walsh said. “I had a pretty rough year in 2008 – I spent seven months rehabbing from a fractured tibia and that has made me hungrier than ever to play again. I'm hoping to develop further as a footballer by playing in a high-intensity environment week in, week out.”

After suffering the fractured tibia in a friendly match against Canada on May 23rd, Walsh made her first appearance with Sydney FC on December 27th when she came off the bench late. Walsh – who turns 26 this coming Sunday – has been a mainstay in recent years for the ‘Matildas’ appearing in the 2004 Olympics and the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup. She made her debut with Australia in 2004 and has 26 goals in 55 appearances.

“My strengths are my pace and ability to put myself in goalscoring opportunities,” Walsh said. “After spending years together with Collette in the Australia National Team, we bring an understanding of each other’s game and in the past that has produced many goals.”

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, McCallum has six goals in 47 appearances in her four years on the Australia National Team. The 22-year old will be joining her second team in the United States after playing with the Pali Blues in the USL W-League this past summer. Known as a set piece specialist and a dangerous distributor, McCallum posted five goals and two assists in eight regular season games before helping the Blues to the USL W-League championship. She appeared in all 10 games with the Perth Glory in the Westfield W-League notching two goals.

“I came to America last year and it was a great experience to see the lifestyle and the standard of football here,” McCallum said. “I'm looking forward to be playing with, and against, the best players in the world. I've heard great things about Sky Blue FC and Ian Sawyers. It's going to be a big change of lifestyle for me and I hope I adapt to it well.”

Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin on January 16, 2009, 08:00:35 PM
Sky Blue FC Selects “Home-Town” Girl Averbuch in First Round of WPS Draft
Friday, January 16, 2009
by Sky Blue Soccer

Yael Averbuch won’t have to travel too far to practice when she starts her professional career in Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS). Sky Blue FC – the NJ/NY franchise in WPS – selected the Upper Montclair, NJ-native today with its first round pick, the fourth overall, in the 2009 WPS Draft.

Averbuch comes to New Jersey after a successful career at the University of North Carolina. The powerful midfielder is fresh off an NCAA College Cup championship run with the Tar Heels – her second with the other coming in 2006. Averbuch joins former UNC teammates Heather O’Reilly and Kacey White on the Sky Blue FC roster.

“Yael brings such a tremendous winning mentality to our club,” said Sky Blue FC General Manager and Head Coach Ian Sawyers. “She has been one of the most prolific collegiate players for the past 4 years as well as representing her country at many levels. Her talent and soccer credentials are numerous, but just as important she has been inspirational in many aspects off the field. I want to build my team around strong characters like Yael.”

Averbuch is a product of the New Jersey youth soccer system, having played her club ball with Arsenal World Class and Montclair United, and having participated in NJ Olympic Development Program. The Montclair High School graduate also got her start in New Jersey on the senior level, playing with the New Jersey Lady Stallions of the W-League. In 2002, Averbuch became the youngest player to compete in the W-League at the age of 15.

“I’m extremely happy because I was hoping to be able to stay at home in New Jersey and represent Sky Blue FC,” said Averbuch, who drew worldwide fame for scoring the fastest goal in NCAA history when she connected four seconds into a game against Yale in 2006.

“I’ve grown up here and played soccer here my whole life, besides the four years at UNC,” Averbuch added. “The soccer culture and community here is like nowhere else I’ve ever been. I am so excited to still be a part of this community. I was trying to keep an open mind – all the teams have a lot of positives about them, but I was hoping to play in New Jersey, so I couldn’t be happier.”

At UNC, Averbuch left the storied program holding the career record for most consecutive games started with 105 along with many other accolades. She was a three-time NSCAA All-American and was the Soccer Buzz and Top Drawer Soccer National Player of the Year in 2006. On the academic side, Averbuch received the Today's Top VIII Award as a senior, the most prestigious student-athlete honor awarded by the NCAA. She was also the ESPN Academic All-American of the Year and NSCAA Scholar Athlete of the Year this past fall. Her Tar Heel jersey will be retired alongside former greats Mia Hamm and Kristine Lilly.

On the international level, Averbuch has played on multiple youth levels and is also currently a member of the United States Women’s National Team pool with two caps under her belt. She was a member of the US team that finished third in the FIFA Under-19 World Championships in Thailand in 2004, and is currently the captain of the US Under-23 National Team. She was awarded MVP after the US U-23s captured the Nordic Cup title in 2008.

Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin on February 11, 2009, 01:41:05 PM
Selected by Sky Blue FC, Schnur’s plan comes into focus
Friday, January 30, 2009
by Graham Hays, womensprosoccer.com

Pop the champagne and throw another log on the fire.
No, seriously, throw something on the fire; it's freezing in here.
On January 16, Meghan Schnur gained entry into one of the more exclusive athletic clubs, joining the likes of Indiana Pacers swingman Brandon Rush and Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart as the No. 13 overall selection in a professional sports league's most recent draft. In Schnur's case, the chance to play for a paycheck came courtesy of Sky Blue FC in the second round of the Women's Professional Soccer draft.
And to celebrate on draft day, after she got home from a full day of work and a trip to the gym, she invited over some friends for dinner. But when a bottle of wine had been uncorked and people still had their coats on, she realized something might be amiss. 
"I turned the heat up to about 70 degrees, and I could still see my breath," Schnur recalled of one of the coldest nights of the winter in Connecticut. "It was about 7:30 at night and I realized there is probably something wrong with my heating system in my house."   
So she celebrated her first night as a professional soccer player by waiting for a late-night visit from the gas company. The customized Lincoln Navigator will have to wait.
Those modest trappings of success aside, the barrage of congratulatory text messages that awaited her earlier in the day when she finally had a chance to check her phone around noon – that's how she discovered she had been selected – told a story all their own. In the broken grammar and abbreviations was a benediction of sorts.
When she walked off the field in Tallahassee, Fla. almost a year and a half ago in the wake of Connecticut's quarterfinal loss to Florida State in the NCAA tournament, Schnur wasn't ready to be done with soccer. Looking back at it, she talked about the sense of disorientation that came from being on campus the following spring without the constant of soccer that had always been there before.
She bugged coach Len Tsantiris about practicing with the women's team during its spring season, and then bugged men's coach Ray Reid about practicing with his team when that made more scheduling sense. And even as school ended and the workday world beckoned, Schnur couldn't trade in her cleats and start trading on her diploma.
Even if that meant a tough sales pitch to parents, dad a principal and mom a teacher, who she thought might not exactly embrace the prospects of nurturing a soccer bum.   
"I just basically told them this is what I wanted to do for right now," Schnur said. "I wanted to continue to play soccer, because I know for myself, I'm not ready to give it up yet. And it's just this feeling I believe everyone has, where they're either ready to or they're not. Those kids that I've talked to who have hung up their shoes, they have a clear vision of what they want to do next. And I don't have that yet.
"So I just told them that this is something I want to do and maybe it's not going to consist of my whole year, and maybe I could work [in physical therapy] on an interim basis or a per-diem basis. … They were really accepting. And they were kind of excited that I actually had a plan, because a lot of times I go by the seat of my pants. So they were quite impressed I actually put some thought into things."
The plan started with the summer season, including a trip to the Nordic Cup on the U.S. Under-23 national team and as much of the WPSL season as she could squeeze in, including a trip to the semifinals with the New England Mutiny. Then she was left to train on her own throughout the fall, while simultaneously fulfilling the internships required for her Masters in physical therapy, in preparation for the WPS Combine.
While at that event in Fort Lauderdale the week before Christmas, she struck up a conversation with Sky Blue FC general manager and coach Ian Sawyers, one of the many familiar names with unfamiliar faces that made up her potential employers.
"I spoke briefly with Ian, just introduced myself and he introduced himself," Schnur said.

"Kind of just got a little chat going, talking about Carey O'Brien [formerly Carey Dorn] … my assistant coach up at UConn, because he had her as a player when he coached out in California in the WUSA. So we had a common friend, I guess. I used that to spark a little bit of a conversation. It wasn't too much but just enough to kind of get an idea of what kind person he was."
And yet neither the months of training nor the combine networking made sleep any easier the night before the draft.
"I had a nice little dinner – probably some pasta – and fell asleep rather early," Schnur said. "But I kept waking up, because your mind just doesn't stop, it just keeps racing whenever there is something important weighing on it. So it was pretty restless."
The upside of having to work the day of the draft proved to be a busy morning caseload that kept her attention focused on other endeavors – despite a regular volleys of inquiries from coworkers as the clock crept forward, asking if she'd heard any news yet. But even if drafts are the most unathletic of athletic spectacles (especially when you're more than a thousand miles removed from the proceedings and don't have to worry about walking to the podium), they come with a particular brand of stress for those involved.
Just about any athlete who is good enough to be a potential draft pick has long since grown accustomed to having at least some measure of their fate in their own hands. But as the first pick approached, all Schnur had in her hands was a steering wheel.
"It was a lot of back and forth," Schnur said of her thoughts between waking up on draft morning and arriving at work. "It was kind of keeping myself confident and optimistic about it, rehashing the combine and talks I've had with different coaches, and trying to keep myself positive even if the outcome wasn't what I'd wanted or expected."
Of course, getting drafted only ever offers as much resolution as a movie that knows it will spawn a sequel. There is some comfort in going to New Jersey, both because of its proximity to her Pennsylvania hometown and familiarity with new teammates like Yael Averbuch, Cori Alexander and Fanta Cooper. But less than a week after getting the good news, Schnur is already busy trying to coordinate her internship schedule with her new team's early training plans at the end of February. Then there are housing arrangements still to be made and bills to transfer. And don't even ask about an agent. It seems Schnur might be willing to play for free, if only to save herself one more logistical headache.
"I'm on the phone with my dad, I'm not kidding, two or three times a day asking him questions, because I don't really know what to do," Schnur laughed. "I'm like, 'Dad, I'm not ready to be a real person yet; help me!'"
That's a sentiment Schnur may share with a great many of her peers as they embark on the inaugural season of play in the WPS. It's a new world for many of them, and hopefully in sharing her thoughts over the past three months, she's offered some measure of insight into a process that so many waited so long for.
Even if she's the only one who celebrated in a curiously chilly Connecticut apartment.
"Every once and awhile someone will say, 'Hey, you're a pro now,' and I've got to kind of do a double take and let that set in," Schnur said.

Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: K_Lincourt30 on February 13, 2009, 02:31:04 AM
Six Players Finalize Contracts with Sky Blue FC

SOMERSET, NJ (Feb. 12, 2009) - Sky Blue FC – the NJ/NY franchise in Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) – announced today that the team has finalized contracts with six players for the 2009 season. The officially signed players are Brazilian Rosana, Australians Sarah Walsh and Collette McCallum, and Americans Cori Alexander, Keeley Dowling, and Jenny Hammond.

All six are expected to be in uniform when Sky Blue FC opens the season on April 5th against three-time FIFA World Player of the Year Marta and the Los Angeles Sol. Sky Blue FC will host the Sol at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, NJ with a kickoff time of 4 p.m.

According to Sky Blue FC head coach and General Manager Ian Sawyers, the signing of these six players signifies a major step in the team’s progress.

“It’s very exciting that we have come to a stage that we have their commitment to the U.S., Women’s Professional Soccer, and most important, Sky Blue FC, and that they are fully committed to making the transition both culturally and athletically to hopefully what will be the best league in the world,” Sawyers said.

Sky Blue FC secured the rights to Rosana and Walsh during the WPS International Draft in September while McCallum was added as a post-draft discovery player. The rights to Alexander, Dowling, and Hammond were obtained during the WPS General Draft in October.

Sky Blue FC will be finalizing more contracts with players as it approaches the start of preseason on February 28th. The team will be holding open and invitational try-outs on February 25th & 26th before narrowing down its preseason roster. WPS league rules allow teams to maintain a roster of up to 28 players during the month-long preseason.

“We’re going into training camp with open spots available,” Sawyers said. “We hope this healthy competition will drive performances up.”


Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin on February 23, 2009, 08:13:36 PM
Flying 'Sky' high

Orland's McDonnell drafted by NJ/NY Sky Blue FC
by Danny Sheridan
February 13, 2009 

Mary Therese McDonnell of Orland Park was recently drafted to play for the NJ/NY Sky Blue FC in the new Women’s Professional Soccer League.   

In a perfect world, on the evening of Jan. 18, Mary Therese McDonnell would have gotten a phone call telling her she was selected by the Chicago Red Stars in the new Women's Professional Soccer League.

Less than perfect isn't always a bad thing.

Instead, when the Orland Park resident found out she was picked by the NJ/NY Sky Blue FC, she was still blown away by the chance to compete against some of the best women players in the world. McDonnell wasn't even sure she would get drafted at all after the tryouts that took place one month earlier.

"Staying close to home would have been nice, but I was just so excited to get drafted," said McDonnell, who graduated from Sandburg in 2004. "I wasn't totally sure I would even get drafted by anyone, because I knew how tough the level of competition is going to be in this league.

"I'm just thrilled to get a chance to keep playing soccer."

In a few months, McDonnell will find herself on the same field with the likes of Team U.S.A. goaltender Hope Solo, fresh off a gold medal and starting goalie for St. Louis Athletica, one of seven teams in the league. She'll also go up against some of the top players in the world, as every team is allowed up to five international players on their roster.

So how will McDonnell, who just graduated from Illinois last spring and earned second-team All-Big Ten honors as well as team MVP honors her senior year, adjust? Well, for starters, she'll be the first to admit she's pretty nervous.

The experience she got playing last summer for the Boston Renegades in a semi-professional league and then the Ireland Women's National Team will certainly help, but this will be a major step up in class.

"Right now, I'm obviously very excited and can't wait to get started, but at the same time, I'm looking at some of the women in this league, and thinking to myself, 'Wow,'" McDonnell said. "I mean, if I didn't feel a little overwhelmed right now I would be worried, because the organizers of the WPS really went all out to make sure we got the best possible talent in the world.

"I think this league could be a great start for women's soccer here in the U.S."

A similar league to the WPS (the WUSA) ended up lasting all of three years in the U.S., from 2001-2003, before folding. The absence of a professional soccer league in the U.S. for a few years has been a hot topic of debate, and according to its mission statement, the hope is that the WPS can be the premier women's soccer league in the world, and the global standard by which women's professional sports are judged.
Besides McDonnell's team based in NJ/NY, there will be teams from Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas, Los Angeles, Boston and Washington D.C. The season, which gets underway in April, will run through August, with each team playing around 20 games.

"This is a huge step," said McDonnell, a defensive back who helped Sandburg get downstate in 2001 and 2003. "I think the biggest challenges for this league will be overcoming past failures and generating enough interest in women's soccer.

"Right now, probably not too many people have heard of the league, but hopefully that will change in the near future. Young girls who aspire to play soccer at the next level should get that chance, and we need to serve as role models for them."

McDonnell knows that this all might be a temporary thing. At Illinois, she majored in speech pathology, so she plans on going to graduate school eventually. As for right now though, McDonnell's focus is on preparing herself for the immediate challenges that lie ahead on the soccer field.

"Once I heard about the WPS from my coach at Illinois, right away I knew I wanted to be a part of it," she said. "This is a great opportunity for me, and who knows where it can lead.

"I was on my own in Boston and Ireland for a good portion of last summer, so I don't think the adjustment to being so far away will be too difficult. I've already met some girls on the team, and we're all real excited to get started."

Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin on February 24, 2009, 11:20:10 AM
Asante Reaches Agreement with Sky Blue FC
Monday, February 23, 2009
by Sky Blue Soccer

Somerset, New Jersey -  Sky Blue FC announced today that the NJ/NY franchise of Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) has secured the services of another international player by reaching an agreement with Anita Asante. The England National Team defender will join Sky Blue FC for the inaugural season of WPS.

Asante reached an agreement to join Sky Blue FC. Sky Blue FC opens its season on April 5th at 4 p.m. when it hosts three-time FIFA Player of the Year Marta and the Los Angeles Sol at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, NJ.  Sky Blue FC previously announced agreements with Australians Sarah Walsh and Collette McCallum and Brazilian Rosana.

Asante joins Sky Blue FC from Chelsea Ladies FC in the England Women's Premier League. Sky Blue FC obtained her rights by selecting her as a post-draft discovery player on October 3, 2008. She will join her new team in mid-March following England's participation in the Cypress Cup, which runs from March 5-12.

"Having Anita on board is a huge coup," said Sky Blue FC General Manager & Head Coach Ian Sawyers. "Her level of play makes her one of the up-and-coming players in Europe, and definitely one of the premier players in England. She is a young player with what I believe is the potential to eventually become the captain of the England National Team."

Asante made her debut with England in May 2004 and has 34 caps with one goal. The 23-year old previously played for England on the U-17 and U-19 levels and she competed in the inaugural FIFA U-19 World Championship in Canada in 2002.

Prior to joining Chelsea in 2008, Asante played with the Arsenal Ladies. She joined Arsenal as a youth player in 1998 and was part of the team that captured the "quadruple" in 2006/2007 - the UEFA Women's Cup, FA Women's National Premier League, FA Women's Cup and the FA Women's Premier League Cup.

Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin on February 25, 2009, 03:32:10 AM
Sky Blue FC Reaches Terms with O’Reilly, White, Averbuch
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
by Sky Blue Soccer

SOMERSET, New Jersey - Sky Blue FC added three highly talented Americans to its roster today with the announcement that Heather O’Reilly, Kacey White and Yael Averbuch have agreed to terms. The three United States internationals join the NJ/NY franchise of Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) for the league’s inaugural season.

O’Reilly will “officially” sign her contract tonight at the PUMA team uniform unveiling event in New York City. Sky Blue FC will hold a contract signing ceremony for Averbuch tomorrow morning when the team holds its open tryouts at the GoodSports USA facility in Wall Township, NJ.

All three players have experience with the United States Women’s National Team and all three also starred on the collegiate level at the University of North Carolina. O’Reilly is a mainstay with the USWNT appearing in two Olympics and one FIFA World Cup while White was an alternate for the 2008 Olympics. Both O’Reilly and White are on the current USWNT roster for the Algarve Cup in March. Averbuch has two caps with the full USWNT and has starred on multiple youth levels from U-16 to U-23.

"Heather, Kacey and Yael form a fantastic UNC triumvirate for us here at Sky Blue FC," said Sky Blue FC General Manager and Head Coach Ian Sawyers. "Their pedigree is second to none and we are really looking forward to providing a formidable platform for them to take their professional careers to a new level. They each bring special qualities not only as great players but also as first class ambassadors of the game. We look forward to the soccer community in New Jersey getting behind them."

Sky Blue FC opens its season on April 5th at 4 p.m. when it hosts three-time FIFA Player of the Year Marta and the Los Angeles Sol at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, NJ.

O’Reilly celebrated her 100th cap with the USWNT last fall in the team’s victory tour after it captured the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The East Brunswick, NJ native made her debut with the USWNT in 2002 at the age of 17 and also appeared in the 2004 Athens Olympics and 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Sky Blue FC obtained the rights to O’Reilly in the WPS Allocation in September.

White has been a member of the USWNT pool since 2006 when she appeared at the Peace Queen Cup. The Arlington, TX native has experience with the US U-19 and U-21 National Teams including a Nordic Cup title in 2004. On the club level, she played in Sweden’s Damallsvenskan with Bälinge in 2006 and 2007 and with AIK in 2007. She also earned W-League Championship MVP honors with the New Jersey Wildcats in 2005. Sky Blue FC selected White in the third round of the WPS 2008 General Draft.

Averbuch was Sky Blue FC’s first-round draft pick in the WPS 2009 Draft in January. She joins the team after a successful career at North Carolina, where the three-time All-American led the Tar Heels to College Cup championships in 2006 and 2008. The Upper Montclair, NJ native was a member of the US team that finished third in the FIFA Under-19 World Championships in Thailand in 2004, and is currently the captain of the US U-23 National Team.

Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin on March 02, 2009, 01:07:26 PM
Sky Blue FC Releases Preseason Roster
Friday, February 27, 2009
by Sky Blue

Somerset, New Jersey - Sky Blue FC announced today the team's roster for its first preseason camp ever. The NJ/NY franchise of Women's Professional Soccer will start its camp on Sunday in Greensboro, NC and will remain there for 3 1/2 weeks in preparation for the league's inaugural season.

On the initial preseason roster, there are 30 hopefuls trying to stake their claim for a place on the Sky Blue FC squad for the season. Sky Blue FC will be missing six players during the early parts of the preseason due to national team commitments. Christie Rampone, Heather O'Reilly, Natasha Kai, and Kacey White are all currently in Portugal with the United States Women's National Team. Anita Asante (England) and Kelly Parker (Canada) are both slated to play in the Cyprus Cup. All six are expected to join their Sky Blue FC teammates by mid-March.

In addition to 22 players that were previously allocated, drafted or claimed, there will be eight players in camp on an invitational basis. These eight included five that were invited to preseason:

Krista Bobo - formerly with WUSA's Washington Freedom and New York Power and W-League's Atlanta Silverbacks
Domenique Esposito - former Rutgers University standout and Jersey Sky Blue W-League player the past two seasons
Noelle Keselica - former University of Virginia All-American recently played for Bälinge in Sweden
Sophia Perez - Mexico National Team goalkeeper recently played for SD United in the WPSL
Caroline Walden - four-year starter for Boston College is fresh off leading the Eagles defense

In addition, three players were discovered through a try-out process earlier this week and invited to training camp:

Shannon Myers - Villanova University assistant coach was a four-year goalkeeper for Syracuse University
Courtney Nash - long-time player for the West Michigan Firewomen in the W-League played for Saginaw Valley State
Mary Velan - Stevens Institute of Technology assistant coached played for the Adirondack Lynx in the WPSL and collegiately for SUNY Oneonta

According to WPS rules, each team may only maintain a roster of 28 players at any one time during the preseason. On March 13, each team is required to cut its roster down to 24 players. The final rosters of 18 players plus four development players will be announced on March 25.

Alexander, Cori GK USA Seattle Sounders 
Asante, Anita D England Chelsea 
Averbuch, Yael  M USA   
Bardsley, Karen  GK  England  Pali Blues 
Bobo, Krista D/M  USA    Atlanta Silverbacks 
Buczkowski, Jen M USA   Chicago Gaels 
Cooper, Fanta   D USA   Umeå Södra 
Dowling, Keeley  D USA   KIF Örebro 
Esposito, Domenique  M USA   Jersey Sky Blue 
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   
Nash, Courtney   M/D USA   West Michigan Firewomen 
O’Reilly, Heather    M/F USA  New Jersey Wildcats   
Parker, Kelly  M Canada    FC Indiana   
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 
Sitch, Julianne D USA    FC Indiana 
Velan, Mary    F/MF USA  Adirondack Lynx
Walden, Caroline  D USA   SoccerPlus Connecticut
Walsh, Sarah F Australia  Sydney FC 
White, Kacey  M/F USA   Bälinge 
Zhang, Ouying  F China   San Diego Sea Lions 

How they were acquired:

USWNT Allocation: Natasha Kai, Heather O’Reilly, Christie Rampone

International Draft (Round in parentheses): Kelly Parker (4), Rosana (2), Sarah Walsh (1)

Post-Draft Discovery: Anita Asante, Collette McCallum

General Draft (Round in parentheses): Cori Alexander (1), Keeley Dowling (2), Jenny Hammond (4), Kacey White (3)

WPS 2009 Draft (Round in parentheses): Yael Averbuch (1), Karen Bardsley (3), Jen Buczkowski (6), Fanta Cooper (10), Mele French (9), Mary Therese McDonnell (8), Megan Schnur (2), Christie Shaner (4), Julianne Sitch (5), Ouying Zhang (7)

Invitation Players: Krista Bobo, Domenique Esposito, Noelle Keselica, Shannon Myers, Courtney Nash, Sophia Perez, Mary Valen, Caroline Walden

Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin 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.

Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin 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, womensprosoccer.com

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!”

Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin on March 06, 2009, 12:24:18 PM
River Vale's Esposito keeps pro dream alive

Tuesday, March 3, 2009 - NorthJersey.com

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.


Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin 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."

Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin 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."


Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin 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.

Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin 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 

Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin 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."

Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin 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

Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin 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, womensprosoccer.com

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.”

Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin 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 | www.SkyBlueStore.com)

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 (www.SkyBlueStore.com). 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 tickets@skybluesoccer.com.


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   

Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin 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.

Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin 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.
Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin 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, Ill.in 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.
Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin 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.
Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin 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.   
Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: redrobin 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

Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: shlj 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.
Title: Re: Jersey Sky Blue/Sky Blue
Post by: K_Lincourt30 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."