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Sky Blue FC begins preseason with eyes on a better 2019

(Courtesy Sky Blue FC)

Preparations for the 2019 season are underway for Sky Blue FC. The team reunited at indoor training facility Sportika Sports on Monday with plans to improve its nine-point showing after 24 matches last season.

The team will do so mostly with a group of players present for last year’s struggles.

There were a few key departures, such as forward Shea Groom, who was traded to Reign FC, and defender Christina Gibbons, who retired in January, but many members of the 2018 team return. Head coach Denise Reddy is back after her first season in charge, as well as a number of the team’s more well-known players — star Carli Lloyd, Costa Rican midfielder Raquel Rodriguez and last year’s NWSL rookie of the year, midfielder Imani Dorsey.

Sky Blue did make a few significant additions during the offseason. Though the team could not secure the signatures of draft picks Hailie Mace and Julia Ashley, it recently signed draft picks Julie James, a midfielder from Baylor, and Butler striker Paige Monaghan. And the remaining four draft picks — goalkeeper Kaylan Marckese, defender Sabrina Flores, midfielder Kenie Wright and forward Kyra Carusa — are still in training.

Additionally, Sky Blue made some noteworthy trades, adding Japanese forward Nahomi Kawasumi from Reign FC and defenders Caprice Dydasco and Estelle Johnson from the Washington Spirit.

While in the early stages of preseason, the team will be missing some players because of national team commitments. Lloyd is on her way back after completing her duties with the United States women’s national team at the SheBelieves Cup, where the U.S. placed second to England. Goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan will return after Canada’s Wednesday Algarve Cup finale. Goalkeeper Didi Haracic will miss the opening days as she wraps up a European trip with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Sky Blue will open the 2019 NWSL season at the Washington Spirit on April 13. Before that, it will play four preseason matches: March 16 vs. St. John’s University, 3 p.m. ET; March 23 vs. University of West Virginia, 3 p.m.; March 29 vs. Rutgers University, 7 p.m.; April 6 vs. University of North Carolina, 3 p.m.

Tickets to all preseason matches are free, but fans must RSVP in advance.

Preseason roster

GOALKEEPERS (4): Grace Bendon (NRI), Didi Haracic (NYR), Kaylan Marckese (CDP), Kailen Sheridan (FED-CAN; NYR)

DEFENDERS (8): Caprice Dydasco, Sabrina Flores (CDP), Mandy Freeman, Asako Ideue (NRI), Estelle Johnson, Amandine Pierre-Louis, Domi Richardson, Erica Skroski

MIDFIELDERS (10): Imani Dorsey, Julie James, Sarah Killion, Carli Lloyd (FED-USA, NYR), Paige Monaghan, Gabriela Morais (NRI), Shade Pratt (NRI), Raquel Rodriguez, Madison Tiernan, Kenie Wright (CDP)

FORWARDS (6): Kyra Carusa (CDP), Nahomi Kawasumi, Jen Hoy, Savannah McCaskill, McKenzie Meehan, Elle Sweeney (NRI)

  • FED – 2019 Federation Player
  • CDP – 2019 NWSL College Draft pick
  • NRI – Non-Roster Invitee
  • NYR – Not Yet Reported to Camp

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