Anita Asante started 16 games for Sky Blue FC in 2009 (Photo by Howard C. Smith, ISI Photos).
English National Team Defender Helped Team to 2009 WPS Championship
Sky Blue FC of Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) announced today that English National Team defender Anita Asante is returning to the team for the upcoming season of play. Asante was a key member of the Sky Blue FC back line in 2009, helping the franchise to the inaugural WPS Championship.
“I am really excited to have the opportunity to work with Anita again,” said Sky Blue FC head coach Jim Gabarra, who brought Asante to the Washington Freedom last year. “We look forward to having her on our back line this season, and it is an extra bonus to see her returning to Sky Blue FC. She was one of the first defenders we targeted for our team, and her versatility only extends how valuable she will be for us.”
Asante started 16 games for Sky Blue FC in 2009, playing as a central defender. She helped anchor a defensive front which eventually brought the first-ever league crown to the Garden State, allowing only a single goal in three road victories during the playoffs. This past year, she made stops with Saint Louis Athletica and the Chicago Red Stars before Gabarra made the move to bring her to Washington, registering eight starts in 13 total matches in 2010.
“This is an exciting move for both Sky Blue FC and the supporters of our organization,” General Manager Gerry Marrone stated. “Anita was a major contributor to our championship run in 2009, and she was always a huge fan favorite off the pitch. We have said from the beginning of the offseason that our goal is to return the WPS Trophy to New Jersey, and Anita is a player we feel will play a pivotal role in making that happen.”
A native of London, Asante has been a member of the English National Team since 2004, helping the Three Lionesses to the 2009 Cyprus Cup Championship. She also played every minute of four games for England in the 2007 FIFA World Cup. Prior to arriving in WPS, she spent 10 years with Arsenal before signing with Chelsea Ladies of the English Women’s Premier League in 2008. Among her club highlights in Europe include a stellar 2006-07 campaign that saw the Lady Gunners win the UEFA Women’s Cup, FA Women’s Cup, FA Women’s National Premier League Championship and FA Women’s Premier League Cup.
Note: All team transactions must be approved by WPS before becoming official.