Long played a pivotal role for Sky Blue FC on both ends of the field (Photo by Howard C. Smith, ISI Photos).
Sky Blue FC Midfielder Receives First League Honor of 2011 Season
Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) has named the first recipient of its Player of the Week Award for the 2011 season, with Sky Blue FC midfielder Allie Long receiving the honor. Selected by a list of journalists from the North American Soccer Reporters, the accolade is the first for the North Carolina alumna since joining WPS in 2009.
“As with any individual award, it really comes down to the overall team effort,” Sky Blue FC head coach Jim Gabarra stated. “Allie put forth a great effort on both the offensive and defensive end of the field this past Sunday, and her distribution helped us create some very good scoring opportunities. Now in her third season, Allie has been establishing herself as a prominent player in this league, and I fully expect her to continue developing and helping our team to be successful.”
Long displayed significant field vision throughout the 90 minutes of a 2-2 result with the Philadelphia Independence in her team’s season opener, and that trait shined truest on a 18th minute goal that gave Sky Blue FC an early 1-0 advantage. After gaining possession in the center of the field, the New York native sent a ball forward to a streaking Brittany Taylor, who then fed it into the box where Finnish international Laura Kalmari fired it into the back of the net.
“Allie has been a tremendous asset for us with her ability to play on both ends of the ball,” assistant coach Rick Stainton remarked. “Both defensively and offensively, she makes a big impact to our team. She literally helps our attack with her distribution, and on the defensive end, she cuts down so many passing lanes. Her ability to tackle and start transition is truly remarkable.”
Prior to coming to New Jersey, Long played two seasons for Gabarra as a member of the Washington Freedom. A first round selection in the 2009 WPS Draft, she 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.
Next up for Sky Blue FC is a Saturday road pairing with the Atlanta Beat (0-1-0, 0 points), kicking off at 7:00 p.m. at KSU Stadium in Kennesaw, Georgia. The match will be the first of three consecutive games away from home for Sky Blue FC before returning to Yurcak Field on Saturday, May 21st, to host Atlanta at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for that contest are available now by calling 888-SBFC-TIX.
ResVideo: Allie Long Interview