Sky Blue FC Announces Coaching and Support Staff

Left to right: Christy Holly, Erwin van Bennekom, head coach Jim Gabarra, Lane Davis and Takayoshi Ishihara.

Four Established Coaches Join Head Coach Jim Gabarra on the Sky Blue FC Bench

Sky Blue FC of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) officially announced today its 2015 coaching and support staff. Joining head coach Jim Gabarra will be assistants Takayoshi Ishihara and Erwin van Bennekom, with goalkeeper coach Lane Davis and assistant Christy Holly also on the bench this season for the New Jersey franchise.

“I am very pleased with the both the quality and quantity of staff that we have this year,” said Jim Gabarra, Sky Blue FC Technical Director & Head Coach. “Each coach offers something a little different, and they are all great resources for our players.”

Ishihara returns to Sky Blue FC for a second season after working with the team in 2014. The Aichi, Japan, native joined Sky Blue FC after serving with Japanese powerhouse INAC Kobe Leonessa as an assistant before being promoted to the head coaching position in 2013. In his one season as head coach, INAC won a record four trophies that included a mobcast Cup International Women’s Club Championship and three additional domestic trophies in Japan.

Van Bennekom is also coaching his second season with Sky Blue FC, returning to the team after serving as an assistant to Gabarra in 2013. The Netherlands native spent this past fall as an assistant coach at the University of Alabama, and he will be leaving New Jersey in June to take over the same post at Duke University. Possessing over 15 years of coaching experience, van Bennekom was the head coach of Jersey Blues FC (official Sky Blue FC Reserve Team) of the Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL) in 2013, and he also worked with other top clubs in the WPSL. Additionally, he spent three seasons with the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Rounding out the Sky Blue FC coaching staff will be Davis and Holly. Davis brings a strong collegiate resume to New Jersey and currently serves as an assistant coach for the women’s soccer program at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. After beginning his coaching career at Kansas, he continued his climb up the collegiate ranks with stops at Missouri State, California-Riverside, George Washington and Maryland-Baltimore County. With Davis on staff, each program saw an increase in individual and team accolades.

Originally from Derry, Ireland, Holly joins Sky Blue FC with an extensive coaching history throughout the New Jersey developmental level. Most recently, he served as the Director of Jersey Premier Soccer.

Also on board for Sky Blue FC this season is a highly qualified training staff. Returning as the official trainer for the team will be Sue Penrod, while Dan Chrashewsky will work as her lead assistant. Additionally, Sky Blue FC is pleased to have Tom Scott and Patra Acquaviva with the team as its strength and conditioning coaches.

Sky Blue FC continues its 2015 Preview Series Presented by Meridian Health in a pairing with the University of North Carolina this Saturday, March 21st, where the two sides will play a 3:00 p.m. game at Mercer County Community College. Admission into the match will be $10 per person, but all 2015 Sky Blue FC season ticket holders will get into the game for free. Pre-game activities will get underway at 1:30 p.m.

Sky Blue FC will open the NWSL regular season on the road when it travels to FC Kansas City on Sunday, April 12th. The team will play its home opener at Yurcak Field (Rutgers, Piscataway) on Saturday, April 18th, at 7:00 p.m., and tickets for that match are on sale now. Season tickets are also available (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)! 

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