Sky Blue FC is now sending six players to the WPS All-Star Game (Photos by Howard C. Smith, ISI Photos).
Tasha Kai, Laura Kalmari and Christie Rampone Receive All-Star Nods
Somerset, N.J. (Monday, June 14, 2010) – Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) announced today its reserves for the 2010 WPS All-Star Game presented by U.S. Coast Guard Reserve, with a trio of Sky Blue FC players receiving invitations. The three players named were forward Tasha Kai, midfielder Laura Kalmari and defender Christie Rampone, who were each named reserves following a selection process conducted by WPS Commissioner Tonya Antonucci and the two head coaches of the All-Star Game, Albertin Montoya (FC Gold Pride) and Paul Riley (Philadelphia Independence).
“In selecting my fellow Finn Laura Kalmari, a player I have long recognized for her outstanding ability, the incomparable leader and defender Christie Rampone, and the athletic and dynamic Tasha Kai - Sky Blue FC shows its true "Championship" colors in the WPS All-Star game!” Sky Blue FC head coach Pauliina Miettinen said of the selections.
The addition of Kai, Kalmari and Rampone brings the total number of Sky Blue FC players in the WPS All-Star Game to six. The Sky Blue FC players who were named starters last week were goalkeeper Karen Bardsley, midfielder Heather O’Reilly and defender Brittany Taylor.
“We are honored to have Laura, Christie and Tasha designated as WPS All-Stars,” Sky Blue FC General Manager Gerry Marrone stated. “These three fit the bill both on and off the field, and they are instrumental in adding to the stellar roster of stars at the upcoming WPS All-Star Game.”
The top two overall vote-getters in the WPS All-Star Game balloting were forwards Abby Wambach (Washington Freedom) and Marta (FC Gold Pride), making the duo captains for the “Pick ‘Em” format under which the team selections will be conducted. Wambach will choose “Abby’s XI” with Philadelphia Independence head coach Paul Riley, while Marta will chose “Marta’s XI” with FC Gold Pride head coach Albertin Montoya on Monday, June 28th, two days prior to the WPS All-Star Game. The selection of coaches was made from the top two teams in the league standings on Monday, June 7th.
The 2010 WPS All-Star Game will be televised live on Fox Soccer Channel and regionally on select Fox Sports Net affiliates (check local listings). Game coverage will start at 7:30pm EST on June 30th with a half-hour pregame show.
Sky Blue FC will now return to New Jersey this Saturday when the team hosts the Philadelphia Independence, and tickets are available now by calling 1-888-SBFC-TIX. The first 1,000 fans who come through the gates on Saturday will receive a free Heather O’Reilly player card, courtesy of Big Apple Soccer.
Also beginning this Saturday, Sky Blue FC is partnering with Jen Plante and the Atlanta Beat Soccer Foundation’s Donate Your Gear program in an effort to collect gently used soccer gear to be sent to the Schools of Niger, Africa. Despite its hardships, Niger is a nation fighting to persevere from the many obstacles it faces, such as a severe lack of education and health care. Schools of Niger was created to increase the focus on education in the African nation, and the collection of gently used soccer gear is being done in an effort to encourage young people in Niger to enroll in its schooling system.
“We are proud to partner with Jen Plante and the Atlanta Beat on this project,” Marrone commented on the program. “It is very important for Sky Blue FC, and WPS, to stress to our community the bigger picture, and our ability to contribute to the Donate Your Gear program is a tangible way for our fans to become involved.”
Among the items which fans are encourage to bring to any of the remaining Sky Blue FC home games include clothing, cleats, balls, equipment, coaches' gear and water bottles. Drop boxes will be positioned at the entrance to Yurcak Field for those who wish to contribute.