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Sky Blue trade for Ifeoma Onumonu, send Julia Ashley’s rights to Reign FC

Sky Blue add another forward in an attempt to correct poor offensive showings in 2018 and 2019

North Carolina's Julia Ashley dribbles up the field against Florida State in the 2018 College Cup Final on Dec. 2, 2018 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. (Mitchell Northam / Pro Soccer USA)

NEW YORK — Sky Blue FC’s busy offseason continued Friday, with the club announcing Friday that it acquired forward Ifeoma Onumonu in a trade with Reign FC. Rights for midfielder Julia Ashley went in exchange.

Onumonu joined the Reign in May as a national team replacement player and impressed enough to earn a spot on the supplemental roster the following month.

She scored three goals in 21 matches, including the Reign’s equalizer against the North Carolina Courage in the National Women’s Soccer League playoff semifinal. She previously played for the Portland Thorns and the Boston Breakers, who drafted her out of the University of California in 2017.

The forward is just one of several currently on Sky Blue’s roster, and head coach Freya Coombe expressed a desire to improve paltry goal tallies in seasons past. The team traded for Mallory Pugh and Midge Purce recently, and picked up Evelyne Viens in Thursday’s College Draft. Other options in the position include Carli Lloyd, Paige Monaghan, Jen Hoy, and Nahomi Kawasumi.

Going the other way are the rights to Julia Ashley, who Sky Blue drafted in 2019 but never signed. Along with the other Sky Blue first round draft pick Hailie Mace, Ashley rejected the opportunity to join the club after reports of below standard working and playing conditions for players. She later joined Linköpings FC in Sweden before moving to Australian side Adelaide United.

The rights to both Ashley and Mace have proved valuable to Sky Blue during this offseason, as both are highly regarded defenders. Sky Blue was able to flip Mace’s rights last week, picking up McCall Zerboni from the Courage in exchange.

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