Photo by Robyn McNeil.
Sky Blue FC of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) announced its regular season roster on Monday, with the team slated to play its 2015 opener this Sunday on the road against defending champions FC Kansas City at Sporting Park. Sky Blue FC will then host its 2015 home opener at Yurcak Field (Rutgers, Piscataway) on Saturday, April 18th, with kickoff scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
“We are pleased with the way our roster has developed,” said Jim Gabarra, Sky Blue FC Technical Director and Head Coach. “Like all NWSL teams, there have been challenges, but players have risen to meet them.”
With the FIFA Women’s World Cup taking place this summer in Canada, 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) while their respective nations are competing in the tournament. However, Rampone and O’Hara will be with Sky Blue FC for the first three matches of the NWSL season.
“We are fortunate to have on our roster both quality players participating in this summer's World Cup, as well as a blend of a solid core of experienced NWSL players and first-year players,” Gabarra continued. “We believe that balance will lead to another successful season for Sky Blue FC.”
Following a strong 2015 College Draft in January, coupled with some key offseason acquisitions, Sky Blue FC will have a solid roster while World Cup participants are in Canada, leading to even stronger depth once the roster is back to full strength.
Up top, the team will be led by the services of Danish striker Nadia Nadim, who looks to pick up where she left off in 2014 (recording seven goals and three assists in six games). Joining her at the forward position will be Maya Hayes in her second season, with discovery player Shawna Gordon and 2015 fourth round draft selection Lo’eau LaBonta rounding out the group.
Returning for her third season in the Sky Blue FC midfield will be playmaker Katy Freels, who shined throughout the entire preseason for the New Jersey side. A player whom she has developed great chemistry since the start of camp is 2015 second overall draft pick Sarah Killion, and the duo will hold court together in the center of the field. Returning after a season ending injury in 2014 will be Taylor Lytle, with second-year player Nikki Stanton and Gordon also working into the mix in the midfield.
On the back line, Sky Blue FC will have the services of Rampone and O’Hara for the first three contests of the regular season. The team is exceptionally deep at the defender position, with Lindsi Cutshall, Cami Levin, Meg Morris and Hayley Haagsma all returning. Stanton has also impressed at the position this preseason. One newcomer who has made a huge impression since the start of camp is 2015 second round draft selection Kristin Grubka, who won a NCAA National Championship this past fall at Florida State University.
Sky Blue FC also looks solid at the goalkeeper position, where veteran netminder Brittany Cameron returns for her third year in New Jersey, while discovery player Aubrey Bledsoe has proven to be a strong stablemate for her this preseason.
SKY BLUE FC ROSTER (ALPHABETICAL ORDER)
GOALKEEPERS: Aubrey Bledsoe (Wake Forest), Brittany Cameron (San Diego)
DEFENDERS: Lindsi Cutshall (Brigham Young), Caitlin Foord (Australia), Kristin Grubka (Florida State), Hayley Haagsma (Texas Tech), Cami Levin (Stanford), Meg Morris (North Carolina), Kelley O’Hara (Stanford), Christie Rampone (Monmouth)
MIDFIELDERS: Katy Freels (Auburn), Shawna Gordon (Cal State Long Beach), Sarah Killion (UCLA), Taylor Lytle (Texas Tech), Nikki Stanton (Fairfield)
FORWARDS: Jonelle Filigno (Rutgers), Maya Hayes (Penn State), Samantha Kerr (Australia), Lo’eau LaBonta (Stanford), Nadia Nadim (Denmark), Monica Ocampo (Mexico)
Sky Blue FC individual and season tickets (10 home games) are on sale now, with season ticket packages starting as low as $12 per game. Make sure you catch all of the world class NWSL action this season at Yurcak Field by calling 888-SBFC-TIX (888-723-2849)!