Long spent the past two seasons in Washington with current Sky Blue FC head coach Jim Gabarra (Photo by Tony Quinn, ISI Photos).
Versatile Midfielder Begins Free Agency Signings for New Jersey Club
Sky Blue FC of Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) officially put its free agency period into full swing today, announcing the signing of midfielder Allie Long. The New York native, who spent the past two seasons with current Sky Blue FC head coach Jim Gabarra as a member of the Washington Freedom, brings to New Jersey a talented player capable of performing at multiple positions.
“The versatility that Allie has as a player is something which will be very valuable for us,” Gabarra stated. “She can play in an attacking midfield role, and she also did a very good job last year as a holding midfielder. She will give us a lot of options relative to how we set up our midfield, regardless of whether it is with three or four players.”
WPS clubs will have some hardships to overcome with the FIFA Women’s World Cup on tap for next summer, and having a player of Long’s caliber for the full season is something Gabarra feels will be crucial for Sky Blue FC.
“In planning for next year with the World Cup, we are looking to bring in the best talent we can, but we also know there is a certain period of time that we will be without some top players,” he remarked. “Allie is a first-rate midfielder who is very close to being on the national team, and the fact she will be here for the whole season makes her a very important player for us.”
In two seasons for the Freedom, Long played in a total of 39 matches and made 32 starts, including all 21 of the contests she appeared in 2010. Despite playing from a holding midfield position, she was able to contribute two goals and an assist to the offensive cause last year, adding those numbers to a two-goal effort during her rookie campaign.
“We are very excited to get the free agency period started, and we know that Allie will be an important part of our plan for the 2011 season,” Sky Blue FC General Manager Gerry Marrone said. “As an organization, we are focused on giving our fans the best possible product that we can, and Allie is a player we feel accurately reflects those intentions.”
Long was taken in the first round of the 2009 WPS Draft when Washington made her the seventh overall selection. She had a stellar college career prior to arriving in WPS, playing a pair of seasons at Penn State before transferring to the University of North Carolina. She twice received All-Big Ten accolades with the Nittany Lions and eventually capped off her college campaign by winning the 2008 NCAA National Championship as a member of the Tar Heels.
Note: All team transactions must be approved by WPS before becoming official.