Sky Blue FC Hosting Chicago on Sunday

Goalkeeper Jenni Branam returns Sunday for Sky Blue FC (ISI Photos).

Goalkeeper Jenni Branam to Make First Start of the Season

Somerset, N.J. (Friday, July 30, 2010) – When Sky Blue FC (5-7-3, 18 points) takes the field this Sunday to host the Chicago Red Stars (4-8-5, 17 points) at 7:00 p.m., there will be a familiar face in net. Marking her first start of the 2010 season will be goalkeeper Jenni Branam, who has worked her way back to playing form after suffering a knee injury during a preseason exhibition.

“Quite a bit of time has passed since the injury, and Jenni’s progression has been improving drastically,” Sky Blue FC head coach Rick Stainton commented. “She has truly been coming back into form over the past few weeks, and we anticipate her return being a great addition for our team.”

Branam started 16 games for Sky Blue FC in 2009, helping to lead the team to the inaugural Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) Championship. After colliding with an opposing player in the final match of the 2010 preseason, she has been actively rehabilitating a knee injury which has kept her sidelined for the first 15 games of this year.

“Jenni is a very experienced goalkeeper, particularly with this team, and that will make her transition back into the starting role go smoothly for us,” Stainton continued. “Due to her prior experience with the team and during the 2009 championship run, everyone here knows she is capable of playing at a very high level. We all have a lot of confidence in her ability, and her familiarity with our back line should truly solidify our defensive game plan.”

At the current moment, a mere three points separate third place from seventh in the WPS Standings. With the race for the playoffs being such a heated situation, Stainton admits that Sunday’s match has critical implications.

“This game is huge, and we have addressed that fact as a team this week at training,” he confirmed. “While we have been scrapping and clawing this season to make things work, the truth of the matter is that we are sitting in a situation that is very beneficial for us. We hold the fate of this season in our own hands, and now is the time to really take hold of the opportunity to make ourselves a better team. The only thing we need to worry about is ourselves and not be concerned about what other teams are doing.”

The action on Sunday will kick off at 7:00 p.m. with gates opening at 5:30 p.m. The first 200 fans to arrive at Yurcak Field will be treated to a free fan bag with a water bottle and coupons, courtesy of Dick’s Sporting Goods. All remaining center circle club seats are just $15 for Sunday’s game, and fans can call 1-888-SBFC-TIX to pruchase today.

Sky Blue FC is also an active participant in the Donate Your Gear program to benefit the Schools of Niger, Africa, and the team invites fans to join them in the worthy cause of donating new or gently used items for the fourth world nation. Among the items which fans are encouraged 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.

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