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Sky Blue FC signs defender Estelle Johnson to new contract

Johnson joined Sky Blue in 2019, appearing in 15 matches.

Sky Blue's defender Estelle Johnson signs autographs after the National Womens Soccer league match between Sky Blue and Washington Spirit on July 24, 2019 at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, New Jersey. - Washington Spirit won 1 - 0 (Kena Betancur /AFP/Getty Images)

NEW YORK — After a standout debut season with the New Jersey-based club, Estelle Johnson has re-signed with Sky Blue FC ahead of the 2020 National Women’s Soccer League season, the club announced Wednesday.

Johnson joined the team last year after being traded from the Washington Spirit, where she had been since 2015. For Sky Blue, she played 15 matches in 2019 while splitting time with the Cameroon national team, for whom she played at last year’s World Cup in France.

A veteran of women’s soccer in the United States, Johnson, 31, began her career with the Philadelphia Independence of Women’s Professional Soccer in 2010. She has played in all but one NWSL season, and made her 100th league appearance in August.

“I am delighted to have Estelle continue to play for Sky Blue,” Sky Blue head coach Freya Coombe said in a statement. “She is a solid defender that brings great experience and leadership to the team. She will be key to the success of the team this season.”

The deal rewards Johnson for being arguably Sky Blue’s most consistent defender last season, and it also demonstrates a commitment from the club to keep valued players around.

Johnson’s deal follows a similar announcement from the club last week when captain Sarah Killion re-signed, demonstrating the club’s interest in keeping some of last year’s best performers as it rebuilds its squad for an overall transformation the team is undergoing.

The 5-foot-6 defender started each of the 15 matches she appeared in last season for Sky Blue, racking up 73 clearances, 10 tackles, 18 blocks, 15 interceptions and an 81.8 percent success rate on passes.

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