Sky Blue FC Calls Up
Quickstrike Defender Ashleigh Gunning

Gunning joins Sky Blue FC after playing in the team's developmental system (Photo by Lou Lazarte)

Gunning Spent 2009 Season with W-League Affiliate Club, Hudson Valley Quickstrike

Somerset, N.J. (Wednesday, October 28, 2009) – Women’s Professional Soccer champion Sky Blue FC made official today the signing of defender Ashleigh Gunning. The Coastal Carolina product comes to Sky Blue FC after spending this past season with its USL W-League affiliate club, Hudson Valley Quickstrike Lady Blues.

“Ashleigh Gunning is our newest addition, and I am excited to have her on our team,” Sky Blue FC head coach Pauliina Miettinen said. “Our coaching staff spotted her in the WPS combine, and she will bring many positive assets to our club. With her positive personality, she will fit in well with the rest of the team.”

Gunning was an instrumental component in the Quickstrike defense this past season, anchoring their back line to the W-League regular season title and a semifinal appearance in the postseason. She played in all 13 games for Quickstrike and contributed two goals and a pair of assists to its offensive attack.

"I am grateful to Sky Blue FC for the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream," she commented about the signing. “I'm very thankful to have this opportunity, and right now, it's an opportunity. It's nothing guaranteed, and obviously I have to show up and play well to prove that I deserve to be there. It's something I've thought about and worked towards for a long time, but I know that it is not the end of the road. I still have a lot of work to do and there is a long way to go."

Gunning enjoyed a very productive college career at Coastal Carolina University after transferring from Louisiana State University following her freshman season in 2003. The Baton Rouge native led the Big South Conference in scoring with 22 points in 2007, and she was named the Big South Conference Player of the Year in 2008 after tallying 39 points on 15 goals and nine assists. As an amateur player, she also suited up in the W-League for the Cocoa Express and Charlotte Lady Eagles before joining Quickstrike in 2009.

“I especially appreciate the excitement and enthusiasm that Ashleigh has already displayed on coming to Sky Blue FC,” General Manager Gerry Marrone stated about Gunning. “She is a welcome addition to the team.”

Marrone also went on to voice his pleasure regarding the developmental system in place between Sky Blue FC and Quickstrike.

“This is a case in which the Sky Blue FC and Quickstrike partnership works at its best,” he remarked. “Our organizations are strong proponents of this system of developing and sharing talent, which promotes both the players and the game.”

Quickstrike head coach Jesse Kolmel said he was equally as pleased with the relationship, and he commented about the type of talent that Gunning will bring to Sky Blue FC.

"I think that her ability with distribution is definitely a plus," he stated. "The power that she can strike a ball with is huge. I thought she did a phenomenal job as our right back, kind of being a playmaker out of the back. At the next level, she has the ability to play in multiple positions for Sky Blue FC, and I think that is what they are seeking in a player."

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