There’s no denying that Sky Blue FC had a difficult year in 2018. In competition, the team only won one game and that lone victory came in the final match of the season. Off the field, multiple reports came out detailing subpar housing and training conditions for the players.
Over the winter, the struggle continued, as many of Sky Blue’s talented players left the club and the franchise’s two first-round draft picks decided to sign abroad rather than play for the team. Then the team opened up their 2019 campaign winless in its first nine games.
However, over the past few months, momentum has slowly shifted in Sky Blue’s favor. Following a coaching change in June, the team won its first match of 2019, and then another. On July 24, Sky Blue more than tripled their average attendance in their first home game following the World Cup, and the team recently announced that their August 18 match will be played at Red Bull Arena—in part to accommodate another attendance bump.
Sky Blue’s front office is also actively looking for a new home venue for the 2020 season, a move that would finally get them out of Yurcak Field, a stadium that lacks the most basic amenities—including showers for the players.
At the heart of many of these positive changes is interim general manager Alyse LaHue, who gained some recent celebrity among National Women’s Soccer League fans when she created an impromptu beer garden. Following a snafu with Rutgers’ liquor license, which meant there would be no alcohol sales for the match on July 24, LaHue decided to stock a fan tailgate herself with a trip to the liquor store.
Since becoming interim general manager three and half months ago, LaHue—who also previously served as the general manager for the Chicago Red Stars—has worked hard to restore fans’ faith in the New Jersey club.
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