Photo by Robyn McNeil.
Training Camp Officially Underway at The Atlantic Club in Mansquan
As training camps get underway across the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), Sky Blue FC officially announced today its 2015 preseason roster.
“We are very happy with the way our roster evolved and the improvements we made on it from last year,” said Jim Gabarra, Sky Blue FC Head Coach & Technical Director. “It is going to be a different year with the World Cup, but we have a nice core of players, along with some good young players, coming into camp. We expect to have a high intensity level and quality competition throughout the entire preseason.”
Some new faces will be joining Sky Blue FC this season, while some familiar ones are also returning to the Garden State. Danish striker Nadia Nadim looks to pick up where she left off in 2014 (recording seven goals and three assists in six games) when she arrives into training camp, and she will be with Sky Blue FC for the entirety of the season due to Denmark not qualifying for the 2015 FIFA World Cup. On the topic of the World Cup, Sky Blue FC will be without its representatives from the United States (Christie Rampone, Kelley O’Hara), Canada (Jonelle Filigno), Mexico (Monica Ocampo) and Australia (Caitlin Foord, Samantha Kerr) for a period of the season, but the team has some nice depth that will certainly keep things in order during their absence.
Fresh off a 3-0 trip to La Manga, Spain, are U.S. U-23 Women’s National Team midfielders Sarah Killion, Lo’eau LaBonta and defender Kristin Grubka, who were all selected in the 2015 NWSL College Draft. Defender Shade Pratt, who was also acquired in the third round of the January draft, will provide Sky Blue FC with a defensive spark as well. Another new face will be goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe, who joins Brittany Cameron as the top two netminders on the team following the retirement of Jill Loyden during the offseason.
Two-year starter Katy Freels will provide Sky Blue FC with solid experience and consistent play in the midfield, where Nikki Stanton returns and Shawna Gordon enters the fray. Additionally, Sky Blue FC welcomes fan-favorite Taylor Lytle back into the mix, with the former Texas Tech standout returning from a leg and knee injury she suffered early in the 2014 season. On the defensive front, Cami Levin, Hayley Haagsma, Lindsi Cutshall and Meg Morris are all returnees with NWSL experience.
Additionally, four players have been invited into preseason camp from the team’s open tryouts last week. Those players are goalkeeper Shannon O’Brien, forward Gibby Wagner, midfielder Sheree Dillard and defender Kim Elmore.
Sky Blue FC will play four preseason games this year in March, and the New Jersey side will open the regular season on the road when it travels to FC Kansas City on Sunday, April 12th. The team will then play its home opener at Yurcak Field (Rutgers, Piscataway) on Saturday, April 18th, at 7:00 p.m.
Sky Blue FC season tickets are available now (10 home matches), with packages starting as low as $120. Make sure you catch all of the world class NWSL action this season at Yurcak Field by calling 888-SBFC-TIX (888-723-2849)!
SKY BLUE FC CONTRACTED/DRAFTED PLAYERS (ALPHABETICAL ORDER)
GOALKEEPERS: Aubrey Bledsoe (Wake Forest), Brittany Cameron (San Diego)
DEFENDERS: Lindsi Cutshall (Brigham Young), Caitlin Foord (Australia) - NYR, Kristin Grubka (Florida State), Hayley Haagsma (Texas Tech), Cami Levin (Stanford) - NYR, Meg Morris (North Carolina), Kelley O’Hara (Stanford) - NYR, Shade Pratt (Maryland), Christie Rampone (Monmouth) - NYR
MIDFIELDERS: Katy Freels (Auburn), Shawna Gordon (Cal State Long Beach), Sarah Killion (UCLA), Lo’eau LaBonta (Stanford), Taylor Lytle (Texas Tech) - NYR, Nikki Stanton (Fairfield)
FORWARDS: Jonelle Filigno (Rutgers) – NYR, Maya Hayes (Penn State), Samantha Kerr (Australia) - NYR, Nadia Nadim (Denmark) - NYR, Monica Ocampo (Mexico) - NYR
NYR – Not Yet Reported to camp
PLAYERS ON TRIAL (ALPHABETICAL ORDER)
GOALKEEPERS: Shannon O’Brien (Arizona), Genevieve Richard (Wisconsin)
DEFENDERS: Kim Elmore (Belmont)
MIDFIELDERS: Rachel Breton (Rutgers), Theresa Diederich (Alabama), Sheree Dillard (Penn State), Maruschka Waldus (Alabama)
FORWARDS: Maryam Huseini (La Salle), Stef Scholz (Rutgers), Shelbee Stilwell (Oklahoma State), Amber Stobbs (Hofstra), Shu Tseng (Chinese Taipei), Gibby Wagner (Boston College)