Head coach Pauliina Miettinen leads Sky Blue FC into 2010 (Photo by Howard Smith - ISI Photos).
2009 League Champions Hosting Chicago Red Stars at Yurcak Field
Somerset, N.J. (Friday, April 9, 2010) – After months of preparation, the 2010 Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) Kick-Off Week is finally upon us. League action will begin tomorrow evening, and 2009 WPS Champions Sky Blue FC will host the Chicago Red Stars in the weekend’s finale at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday night at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, New Jersey.
“I couldn’t ask for a more talented and committed group of players, or any better preparation than we have had,” Sky Blue FC head coach Pauliina Miettinen stated. “With a 24-2 goal margin in our favor in preseason scrimmages, we have set the tone for a stellar start to our season.”
The only two goals yielded by the Sky Blue FC defense was a pair of tallies in a 2-2 draw with the Arsenal World Class U-17 boys’ team this past Monday night. While the result gave the team a cumulative 5-0-1 unbeaten preseason record, it did come with a bit of a cost. On a first half challenge in that match, goalkeeper Jenni Branam suffered a knee injury that landed her on the 60-day injured reserve list. Branam underwent a successful surgery this morning by Dr. David Abrutyn of Somerset Medical Center, who is the official health care provider of Sky Blue FC.
“The surgery was a complete success,” team trainer Paul Kolody confirmed. “We fully expect Jenni to be back on the field by the end of the 60 days.”
Starting in net for Sky Blue FC this Sunday will be English National Team goalkeeper Karen Bardsley. In four starts for the team last season, Bardsley went 1-1-2 with a 0.57 goals against average.
“We have 100% trust in all of our goalkeepers,” Miettinen said of the situation. “Karen has international experience, a good frame and a positive mindset. I have complete confidence in her ability, and I know she will do a wonderful job.”
Joining the Sky Blue FC roster on Sunday is Delran native and U.S. National Team midfielder Carli Lloyd, who will be making her homecoming to New Jersey after the team acquired her in the offseason. The Rutgers graduate spent last year with the Red Stars and played her college soccer at Yurcak Field, so the night will be filled with many familiar faces for her.
“It is a great feeling,” Lloyd said of returning to the Garden State. “Never in a million years would I have thought I’d be back playing at Rutgers. When I came to play Sky Blue FC last year, I had a lot of fans still cheering for me in the New Jersey area and that to me is priceless. I’m a Jersey girl, and I like being here.”
The excitement surrounding the 2010 Sky Blue FC home opener has spread throughout the region and the organization, and in no other person is that more relevant than General Manager Gerry Marrone.
“The staff is ready; the coaches are ready; the players are ready,” Marrone remarked. “I expect we will have a full house, and the atmosphere will be electric. I could not be any more proud of how hard the entire staff has worked, and we are confident that we will make the home opener the kind of event that sets a great tone for the season to come.”
Cabana seating and multiple sections of Yurcak Field have already been sold out for Sunday, and all other sections in the stadium are moving fast as well. Sky Blue FC also offers fans the unique experience of on-field seating, with only a handful of those still remaining. One more aspect that has been added to the game day experience is the “Sky Blue Moon” Beer Garden, presented by Blue Moon and Coors Light. All fans in attendance on Sunday will also have the exclusive opportunity to have their photo taken with the WPS Championship Trophy, as part of the team’s celebration during Champion’s Night.
Anyone interested in purchasing tickets for Sunday’s home opener are encouraged to do so quickly by calling 1-888-SBFC-TIX or by clicking here.