Sky Blue FC
|Full name||Sky Blue FC|
|Owner||Philip D. Murphy
Steven H. Temares
|Head coach||Jim Gabarra|
|League||National Women's Soccer League|
|Website||Club home page|
Sky Blue FC is a professional soccer club 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.
Sky Blue FC named Ian Sawyers as its first head coach and general manager on March 5, 2008. However, it wasn't 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 Rampone allocated to Sky Blue FC.
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. 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. 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.
Inaugural WPS season, 2009
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.
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 Rampone 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.
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, 2012 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.
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).
Inaugural NWSL season, 2013
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. The league, known as the National Women's Soccer League, began play in spring 2013.
|Year||League||Regular Season||Playoffs||Avg. Attendance|
|2010||WPS||5th Place||Did not qualify||3,320|
|2011||WPS||5th Place||Did not qualify||2,033|
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
|Head Coach||Jim Gabarra|
|Assistant/Reserve Coach||Takayoshi Ishihara|
|Strength & Conditioning Coach||Tom Scott|
Information correct as of January 11, 2012. 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.
|Ian Sawyers||March 5, 2008||May 23, 2009||6||1||2||3||3||5||16.67|
|Kelly Lindsey [A]||May 23, 2009||July 29, 2009||12||5||3||4||13||12||41.67|
|Christie Rampone [B]||July 30, 2009||September 29, 2009||5||4||0||1||6||4||80.00||WPS Champions|
|Pauliina Miettinen [C]||September 29, 2009||July 19, 2010||14||5||3||6||12||16||35.71|
|Rick Stainton [D]||July 19, 2010||October 7, 2010||10||2||4||4||8||15||20.00|
|Jim Gabarra [E]||October 7, 2010||Present||18||5||4||9||24||29||27.78|
- 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.
- B ^ Named head coach on July 30, 2009 after Kelly Lindsey resigned from her duties as head coach.
- C ^ Named head coach on September 29, 2009 and took charge at the end of her contract with PK-35 Vantaa.
- D ^ Named head coach on July 19, 2010 after Pauliina Miettinen was relieved of her duties.
- E ^ Named head coach on October 7, 2010, with Rick Stainton returning to his role as assistant coach.
- List of top-division football clubs in CONCACAF countries
- List of professional sports teams in the United States and Canada
- "WPS Allocation List". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
- "Lindsey Named Head Coach of Sky Blue FC". Sky Blue FC. June 19, 2009. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
- "Rampone Named Sky Blue FC Interim Player/Coach After Lindsey Resigns". Sky Blue FC. July 30, 2009. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
- "Sky Blue FC Introduces Pauliina Miettinen as Head Coach". Sky Blue FC. September 29, 2009. Retrieved October 23, 2009.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sky Blue FC.|
- Official website
- Cloud 9 - Sky Blue FC Supporters Group
- Sky Blue FC on Twitter
- Sky Blue FC on Facebook