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Archive for January 16, 2020

Jan. 16, 2020 — From sad-sack to hope?

Today, the National Women’s Soccer League draft occurred in Baltimore. With it, the nine teams in the league added to their rosters from the available pool of college players, plus a number of teams made trades in order to either move up or down in the draft order.

Or, in the case of SkyBlue FC, perhaps make the moves necessary to win the 2020 NWSL title.

Yup, THAT SkyBlueFC, which not only has never finished above sixth place in the history of the NWSL, it’s the SkyBlue FC which:

  • Lost 50 games in the last four years;
  • Saw a supporters’ revolt when the team didn’t respond to calls to upgrade its facilities or hire a new coach;
  • Found itself being owned by the current governor of the state of New Jersey, creating a number of possible conflicts of interest.

And yet — and yet — SkyBlue FC has agreed to move its home matches to the state-of-the-art Red Bull Arena in 2020, and traded for U.S. women’s national teamers McCall Zerboni and Mallory Pugh during the draft. Add those two pieces to national team veteran Carli Lloyd, and it’s entirely possible that the team can finally shed its sad-sack fortunes.

Those fortunes were in contrast to how the Sky Blues entered into its life as a pro team in the days of WPS. In the first year of the league, 2009, the team sneaked into the playoffs by one point over the Boston Breakers, then took advantage of the “stepladder” format of the league, getting better every week until beating a well-rested (and rusty) Los Angeles Sol in the grand final.

More than a decade later, and after much heartbreak, is it possible that the supporters of this team will be on Cloud 9 once the league final is decided this summer?