Sky Blue FC

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Sky Blue FC
Full nameSky Blue FC
Nickname(s)SBFC, Beez
Founded2007; 12 years ago (2007)
StadiumYurcak Field
Piscataway, New Jersey
Capacity5,000
OwnerPhil and Tammy Murphy
Steven H. Temares
Thomas Hofstetter
President/CEOThomas Hofstetter
Head coachDenise Reddy
LeagueNational Women's Soccer League
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Sky Blue FC is a professional soccer team based in Piscataway Township, New Jersey, which has participated in the National Women's Soccer League since 2013. From 2009 to 2011, the team played in Women's Professional Soccer (WPS).

Sky Blue FC is part of the larger Sky Blue Soccer organization, based in Somerset County, New Jersey, an integrated program that allows players to progress in soccer from a young age with an opportunity for long-term growth.

History[edit]

Establishment, 2008[edit]

Sky Blue FC named Ian Sawyers as its first head coach and general manager on March 5, 2008. However, it was not until September 9, 2008 that the New York/New Jersey outfit was officially unveiled under the name Sky Blue FC. One week later, the US Women's National Team allocation took place with Heather O'Reilly, Natasha Kai, and Christie Pearce allocated to Sky Blue FC.[1]

On September 24, the 2008 WPS International Draft was held. Sky Blue FC drafted Australian National Team forward Sarah Walsh in the first round, Brazilian National Team members Rosana and Ester in the second and third rounds respectively, finished with Canadian National Team midfielder Kelly Parker in the fourth round.[2] In addition to these picks, Sky Blue FC also named Australian National Team midfielder Collette McCallum and England National Team defender Anita Asante as post-draft discovery players on September 26, 2008 and October 2, 2008 respectively, and were awarded their WPS playing rights.

To further assign player rights, on October 6 the 2008 WPS General Draft took place. Sky Blue FC drafted Cori Alexander, Keeley Dowling, Kacey White, and Jenny Hammond.[3] Ian Sawyers closed out 2008 by choosing Kelly Lindsey to be his assistant coach on December 3.

The new year brought new players. On January 16, the 2009 WPS Draft was held. Sky Blue FC drafted Yael Averbuch, Meghan Schnur, Karen Bardsley, Christie Shaner, Julianne Sitch, Jen Buczkowski, Zhang Ouying, Mary Therese McDonnell, Mele French, and Fanta Cooper.[4]

As of 2018, Governor of New Jersey Phil Murphy was majority shareholder of the team.[5]

Inaugural WPS season, 2009[edit]

Sky Blue FC kicked off its inaugural season on April 5, 2009 dropping a 2–0 decision to Los Angeles Sol at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater Township, New Jersey. It played its next game at the venue before moving permanently to Yurcak Field on the campus of Rutgers University.

Sky Blue FC battle in St. Louis during the 2009 postseason

The team stuttered to one win and two draws in their first six games, scoring only 3 goals in the process, before head coach and general manager Ian Sawyers was suspended indefinitely by the team for disagreements on May 23, 2009. He was eventually relieved of his duties as head coach and general manager on May 28, 2009. In his absence, Kelly Lindsey stepped in as the interim and slowly started to turn around Sky Blue FC's on-field fortunes. She was eventually permanently installed as head coach on June 19, 2009 by then General Manager Gerry Marrone.

Lindsey's time at the helm was short-lived as she abruptly resigned from her position on July 30, 2009. She had won five games and drawn three others in her twelve total matches before Christie Pearce was named the second interim of the year and third head coach overall by Marrone. Her position also included playing on the field and was the first player/manager in WPS history. Rampone lead Sky Blue FC into 4th position and secured the final playoff spot for the 2009 playoffs. Sky Blue FC upended both Washington Freedom and Saint Louis Athletica to make the championship game against Los Angeles Sol. A 16th minute Heather O'Reilly strike earned Sky Blue FC the championship on August 22, 2009, beating the Sol on their own home field of The Home Depot Center in Carson, California.

2010 season[edit]

With two additional teams, Atlanta Beat and Philadelphia Independence, joining the league for 2010, Sky Blue FC were destined to lose players from their championship-winning side. On September 15, the 2009 WPS Expansion Draft was held with Jen Buczkowski moving to Philadelphia and Noelle Keselica headed to Atlanta.

Sky Blue FC announced on September 29, 2009 that former Finnish National Team player Pauliina Miettinen would be head coach of the team for the 2010 season after completing her coaching duties with PK-35 Vantaa.

Sky Blue FC started its title defense on April 11, 2010 when it hosted the Chicago Red Stars at Yurcak Field. The team wasted little time in gaining its first goal on the young season, with forward Tasha Kai scoring on a fourth-minute strike to lead her team to an eventual 1–0 victory. Sky Blue FC found itself having some trouble tallying goals as the season progressed and held a 5–6–3 record when head coach Pauliina Miettinen was relieved of her duties. Immediately replacing her was assistant coach Rick Stainton, who led the team to a 2–4–4 record the rest of the way. After settling for three draws to conclude its sophomore campaign, Sky Blue FC finished the year in fifth place in the regular season standings and just missed the postseason.

2011 season[edit]

The 2011 season marked the first at the helm by decorated women's soccer coach Jim Gabarra, who had spent the past decade with the Washington Freedom. Prior to the start of the regular season, Sky Blue FC headed to Turkey for the preseason, playing to the finals of the Alanya International Women's Tournament of Champions, where it fell to team partner LdB FC Malmö, 1–0. Also participating in the tournament were Russian side FK Energiya and Danish club Fortuna Hjørring (who Sky Blue FC defeated in a penalty shootout in the semifinals).

Sky Blue FC kicked off the WPS regular season on April 10, 2011 at Yurcak Field, playing the Philadelphia Independence to a 2–2 draw. The team then hit the road for three games, suffering three consecutive defeats, before returning home for a pair of wins. After two more draws and another victory, Sky Blue FC found itself amid the longest unbeaten streak in franchise history (five matches). The team kicked off that streak on May 21, 2011 with a 3–0 win over the Atlanta Beat, its largest margin of victory ever.

The club went 1–2 in its next three games before entering the final four matches of the regular season. After suffering defeats in each of those games, Sky Blue FC came up just short of the playoffs after finishing even with the Boston Breakers for the final postseason spot (Boston took the season tiebreaker).

After the WPS announced the suspension of the 2012 season, Sky Blue FC announced a partnership with the New Jersey Wildcats of the W-League, which included sharing coaching staff.[citation needed]

Inaugural NWSL season, 2013[edit]

In November 2012, it was announced that Sky Blue FC would be one of eight teams in a new women's professional soccer league sponsored by the United States Soccer Federation, the Canadian Soccer Association and the Mexican Football Federation.[6] The league, known as the National Women's Soccer League, began play in spring 2013.

2016 season[edit]

Sky Blue FC opened its 2016 season at Seattle Reign in thrilling fashion on Sunday, April 17, 2016, winning 2–1 and handing two-time defending NWSL Shield winner its first-ever home loss at Memorial Stadium. The Reign were unbeaten at Memorial Stadium over the previous two seasons[7] Sky Blue FC started six (6) players who had never logged a single NWSL minute before that night.[8] By the end of the season they had racked up with 26 points in 7th place. Playing 20 games this season they ended up with 7 wins 8 losses 5 and ties. They scored 24 goals and had 30 against them.[9] Sky Blue midfielder Raquel Rodríguez was named 2016 NWSL Rookie of the Year.[10]

2017 season[edit]

In 2017, Sky Blue had its most successful season since 2014. They finished in sixth place, but were in playoff contention until mid September.[11] Head coach Christy Holly unexpectedly stepped down as coach on August 16.[12] This was followed by veteran defender Christie Pearce announcing she would miss the remainder of the season due to injury on August 18.[13]

On August 19, 2017 Sky Blue overcame a 3–0 deficit, to defeat the Seattle Reign 5–4. In that game Sam Kerr became the first player in NWSL history to score 4 goals in one game.[14] Kerr enjoyed a breakout season in 2017, she broke the single season goal scoring record by scoring 17 goals and won the golden boot. Kerr was also awarded the 2017 NWSL MVP award.[15]

2018 season[edit]

Denise Reddy was appointed as the new head coach on November 15, 2017.[16] Sky Blue began the off-season by trading several of their key players. They dealt Taylor Lytle and USWNT defender Kelley O'Hara to the Utah Royals on December 29, 2017.[17] Then at the 2018 NWSL College Draft they traded Nikki Stanton and 2017 NWSL MVP Sam Kerr to the Chicago Red Stars.[18] Sky Blue received forward Katie Johnson and defender Rebekah Stott from the Seattle Reign in exchange for the rights to forward Caitlin Foord.[19] They also added two-time FIFA Player of the year Carli Lloyd in the trade for Sam Kerr.[18]

The results of the field were not good for Sky Blue as they finished in last place with a record of 1–17–6. They broke the NWSL record for the longest winless streak (23 games) as they didn't earn a victory until the final game of the season.[20] Their season was plagued with reports of poor off-field conditions, such a inadequate training facilities as well as housing, travel, and transportation issues.[21]

The 2018 season did include promising rookie seasons from Imani Dorsey and Savannah McCaskill. Dorsey scored 4 goals in 13 games and McCaskill had 3 goals and 3 assists.[22] Both players were voted as finalists for the 2018 NWSL Rookie of the year. Dorsey won the award, becoming the second Sky Blue player to win the award after Raquel Rodríguez won it in 2016.[23]

2019 Season[edit]

Year-by-year[edit]

Year League Regular Season Playoffs Avg. Attendance
2009 WPS 4th Place Champions 3,651
2010 WPS 5th Place Did not qualify 3,320
2011 WPS 5th Place Did not qualify 2,033
2013 NWSL 4th Place Semi-Finals 1,664
2014 NWSL 6th Place Did not qualify 1,640
2015 NWSL 8th Place Did not qualify 2,189
2016 NWSL 7th Place Did not qualify 2,162
2017 NWSL 6th Place Did not qualify 2,613
2018 NWSL 9th Place Did not qualify 2,532

Players[edit]

Current roster[edit]

Where a player has not declared an international allegiance, nation is determined by place of birth. Squad correct as of June 19, 2019.[24]

No. Position Player Nation
1 Goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan  Canada
3 Defender Caprice Dydasco  United States
4 Midfielder Paige Monaghan  United States
5 Midfielder Julie James  United States
7 Forward Jen Hoy  United States
8 Defender Erica Skroski  United States
9 Forward Nahomi Kawasumi  Japan
10 Midfielder Carli Lloyd  United States
11 Forward Raquel Rodríguez  Costa Rica
12 Defender Gina Lewandowski  United States
13 Goalkeeper DiDi Haracic  Bosnia and Herzegovina
14 Midfielder Kenie Wright  United States
16 Midfielder Sarah Killion  United States
17 Defender Domi Richardson  United States
18 Defender Sabrina Flores  Mexico
19 Midfielder Elizabeth Eddy  United States
20 Midfielder Gabi  Brazil
22 Defender Mandy Freeman  United States
24 Defender Estelle Johnson  Cameroon
28 Midfielder Imani Dorsey  United States
29 Defender Amandine Pierre-Louis  Canada
73 Midfielder Madison Tiernan  United States

Technical staff[edit]

As of March 15, 2019.
Position Name
Head coach United States Denise Reddy
Assistant coach United States Alex Mendolia
Assistant coach Brazil Christiane Lessa
Goalkeeper coach Brazil Hugo Macedo
High performance coach United States Morgan Hofacker
Strength and conditioning coach United States Christopher Ascari

Supporters[edit]

Cloud 9 is the official supporters group of Sky Blue FC.[25] They stand in Section 9 of Yurcak Field for home games, and travel to road games, singing songs and chants throughout the game.

Broadcasting[edit]

As of April 2017, Sky Blue FC games are streamed exclusively by Go90 for American audiences and via the NWSL website for international viewers.[26] For the 2017 season, the team will be featured in the nationally televised Lifetime NWSL Game of the Week broadcasts on May 13, May 20, July 1, and August 12, 2017.[27]

Previous seasons' matches were streamed live on YouTube, available around the world. The announcers were Corey Cohen on play-by-play and Dan Lauletta on color commentary with Evan Davis hosting the halftime show and NJ Discover handling production.[28]

Head coaches[edit]

Information correct as of May 12. Only competitive matches (regular season and playoffs) are counted. Wins, losses, and draws are results at the final whistle; the results of penalty shootouts are not counted.

Name Nationality Tenure P W D L GF GA Win% Honours
Ian Sawyers England March 5, 2008 – May 23, 2009 6 1 2 3 3 5 16.67
Kelly Lindsey [A] United States May 23, 2009 – July 29, 2009 12 5 3 4 13 12 41.67
Christie Pearce [B] United States July 30, 2009 – September 29, 2009 5 4 0 1 6 4 80.00 WPS Champions
Pauliina Miettinen [C] Finland September 29, 2009 – July 19, 2010 14 5 3 6 12 16 35.71
Rick Stainton [D] United States July 19, 2010 – October 7, 2010 10 2 4 4 8 15 20.00
Jim Gabarra United States October 7, 2010 – October 14, 2015 94 29 29 26 68 87 30.85
Christy Holly [E] Northern Ireland January 13, 2016 – August 16, 2017 38 14 7 17 53 67 36.84
Denise Reddy [F] United States November 15, 2017– 32 1 8 23 26 64 3.12
Notes
A ^ Named head coach on May 23, 2009 after Ian Sawyers was suspended indefinitely from his duties of both Head Coach and General Manager. She was appointed permanently on June 19, 2009.[29]
B ^ Named head coach on July 30, 2009 after Kelly Lindsey resigned from her duties as head coach.[30]
C ^ Named head coach on September 29, 2009 and took charge at the end of her contract with PK-35 Vantaa.[31]
D ^ Named head coach on July 19, 2010 after Pauliina Miettinen was relieved of her duties.
E ^ Named head coach on January 13, 2016, together with Paul Greig (assistant coach) and Jillian Loyden (goalkeeper coach). Stepped down August 16, 2017, while point assistant coaches Jill Loyden, Dave Hodgson, Paul Greig and Maria Dorris remained for the rest of the season.[32]
F ^ Named head coach on November 15, 2017.[33]

Stadiums[edit]

Honors and awards[edit]

Women's Professional Soccer

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "WPS Allocation List". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 28, 2008. Retrieved October 21, 2008.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 3, 2012. Retrieved October 17, 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ https://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2018/07/murphy_orders_that_players_on_the_pro_soccer_club_he_owns_be_treated_like_pros.html
  6. ^ "Equalizer Soccer – Eight teams to start new women's pro soccer league in 2013". Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  7. ^ "Reign falls for first time at Memorial Stadium". April 18, 2016. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  8. ^ "Conheeney's late goal give Sky Blue, Holly 2–1 opening night victory". Empire of Soccer. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  9. ^ "Current Standings". nwslsoccer.com. National Women's Soccer League. Archived from the original on April 16, 2016. Retrieved October 1, 2016.
  10. ^ "Sky Blue FC's Raquel Rodriguez named NWSL Rookie of the Year". October 6, 2016. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  11. ^ "Sky Blue FC Eliminated from NWSL Playoffs with 2-1 Loss to Washington". September 16, 2017. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  12. ^ "Christy Holly Steps Down as Sky Blue FC Head Coach". August 16, 2017. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  13. ^ "Christie Pearce Out For The Remainder Of The 2017 Season". August 18, 2017. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  14. ^ "Sam Kerr scores four goals in Sky Blue FC comeback win". August 20, 2017. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  15. ^ "Sam Kerr wins NWSL Most Valuable Player". October 21, 2017. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  16. ^ "Sky Blue FC name Denise Reddy as new head coach". NorthJersey.com/The Record. November 15, 2017. Retrieved November 15, 2017.
  17. ^ "UWSNT star Kelley O'Hara traded to Utah Royals". December 29, 2017. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  18. ^ a b "Carli Lloyd, Sam Kerr, Christen Press Swap Clubs in NWSL Blockbuster Trade". January 18, 2018. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  19. ^ "Pair of trades sends Long to Seattle, the rights to Foord to Portland, Johnson and Stott to NJ". January 11, 2018. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  20. ^ "NWSL Focus: Sam Kerr sets record in homecoming". July 8, 2018. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  21. ^ "Sky Blue FC created untenable player conditions for years". July 17, 2018. Retrieved September 11, 2018.
  22. ^ "Sky Blue FC". Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  23. ^ "Imani Dorsey, Savannah McCaskill Voted NWSL Rookie of the Year Finalists". September 17, 2018. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  24. ^ "Sky Blue FC Reveals Official 2019 Roster". Sky Blue FC. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  25. ^ "Cloud 9 – Official Sky Blue FC Supporters Group". Archived from the original on May 21, 2017. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  26. ^ "NWSL, go90 announce exclusive streaming partnership". Black and Red United (SBNation). Vox Media. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  27. ^ "NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime schedule". National Women's Soccer League. April 16, 2017. Retrieved April 26, 2017.
  28. ^ "Sky Blue Announces Broadcast Team for 2016 NWSL season". Empire of Soccer. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
  29. ^ "Lindsey Named Head Coach of Sky Blue FC". Sky Blue FC. June 19, 2009. Retrieved August 11, 2009.[permanent dead link]
  30. ^ "Rampone Named Sky Blue FC Interim Player/Coach After Lindsey Resigns". Sky Blue FC. July 30, 2009. Retrieved August 11, 2009.[permanent dead link]
  31. ^ "Sky Blue FC Introduces Pauliina Miettinen as Head Coach". Sky Blue FC. September 29, 2009. Retrieved October 23, 2009.[permanent dead link]
  32. ^ Dan, Lauletta (August 16, 2017). "NEWSChristy Holly resigns as head coach at Sky Blue FC". The Equalizer. Retrieved August 21, 2017.
  33. ^ "Sky Blue FC name Denise Reddy as new head coach". NorthJersey.com/The Record. November 15, 2017. Retrieved November 15, 2017.

External links[edit]