Sport: 2 1st-round NWSL draft picks may refuse to play for Sky Blue FC after reports of squalid living and practice conditions for players - PressFrom - US
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Sport2 1st-round NWSL draft picks may refuse to play for Sky Blue FC after reports of squalid living and practice conditions for players

04:40  12 january  2019
04:40  12 january  2019 Source:   businessinsider.com

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Two first - round NWSL draft picks may refuse to play for Sky Blue FC after reports of squalid living and practice conditions for players . Before the draft , Mace indicated to The Equalizer's Dan Lauletta that she had no intention of playing for Sky Blue if they selected her.

^ Sky Blue FC → Portland Thorns → Boston Breakers. January 13, 2016: Houston Dash acquired FC Kansas City's 1 st Round Pick in the 2016 NWSL College Draft and an international slot in exchange for Tiffany McCarty and Jessica McDonald.[8].

2 1st-round NWSL draft picks may refuse to play for Sky Blue FC after reports of squalid living and practice conditions for players © AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, file
  • Sky Blue FC was a dumpster fire on the field and off last season, and now the New Jersey club may have trouble retaining its first-round draft picks as a result.
  • The team selected UCLA Bruins defender Hailie Mace and North Carolina Tar Heels defender Julia Ashley with the second and sixth picks of Thursday's NSWL draft, but both have - to varying degrees - expressed their reservations about joining the club due to previously reported issues with playing and living facilities.
  • Club President and General Manager Tony Novo assured the press that the team is "going to continue to improve" and that he was confident that both Mace and Ashley would sign with Sky Blue.

The 2019 National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) Draft represented an opportunity for teams to invest in the future by bringing fresh, young talent into their ranks.

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2018 NWSL Draft . (photo courtesy of Sky Blue FC ). It's been a rough year for Sky Blue FC , and much of it has been self-inflicted, with player "It's pretty incredible to think that I have the opportunity to play with my home team," she said on the NWSL Draft broadcast just after getting picked .

Eligible players who opt out of the draft would not be eligible to play in the 2018 NWSL season. Available players for selection. Announced on January 29, 2018.[ 2 ]. Sky Blue FC traded the No. 1 overall pick in the dispersal draft to the Washington Spirit in return for the No. 2 overall pick in

But for Sky Blue FC - the NWSL team based out of New Jersey - Thursday's draft was a reminder of lingering issues that have made them the league's worst team both on the pitch and off.

Sky Blue selected UCLA Bruins defender Hailie Mace and North Carolina Tar Heels defender Julia Ashley with the second and sixth picks of the draft, respectively, but both have - to varying degrees - expressed their concerns with joining the club due to issues with playing and living facilities.

Before the draft, Mace indicated to The Equalizer's Dan Lauletta that she had no intention of playing for Sky Blue if they selected her. After budding USWNT star Tierna Davidson made a last-minute decision to enter the draft, Mace was considered a lock for the New Jersey club's second overall pick and subsequently chose not to attend the draft events in Chicago.

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Sky Blue FC is the longest operating women’s professional soccer club in the United States. Former assistant coach David Hodgson was initially hired as a sport scientist for Sky Blue FC . No current Sky Blue FC players or staff members agreed to speak with us for this story.

Sky Blue FC suppporters group Cloud 9 followed up with their own statement on July 8. August also said that this season players were once asked to bring their own water to practice because the It’s uncertain what improvement might mean. The league may put certain benchmarks in place for Sky

Meanwhile, Verona, New Jersey, native Ashley was present at the draft festivities and did not appear entirely opposed to joining her hometown team in the spring, though she admitted that she was considering opportunities to play the beautiful game abroad.

"I'm excited for this opportunity. I'm really happy that Denise [Reddy, Sky Blue head coach] believes in me," Ashley said Thursday, per Lauletta. "I'm from New Jersey, but I'm not positive of what I want to do in regards to if I'm going to stay or go abroad. I have to explore those options."

Both players' reluctance to join the team likely stems from reports that Sky Blue players - including USWNT star Carli Lloyd - endured gruesome living situations and substandard playing conditions during their abysmal single-win season last year. According to reporting from Deadspin's Erica L. Ayala and RJ Allen, some players lived in homes with trash bags and cardboard for windows, while the entire team practiced at a facility without running water.

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Sky Blue FC actually wound up picking three players in a row in the first round after a big trade during the draft itself. The Houston Dash and the Chicago Red Stars swapped the sixth and seventh picks in the draft , with Houston getting an international spot and a player to be named later.

"I'm just going to say the girls deserve better, and leave it at that," NWSL star and former Sky Blue player Sam Kerr told The Equalizer after facing her former team last season. "These girls are great girls. They give everything for this club and this league, and they just deserve better. I scored a hat trick, but I wasn't myself today. I feel sick playing against these girls."

Sky Blue's President and General Manager Tony Novo - who came under fire last year for neglecting player needs and promoting such a substandard atmosphere for a professional club - acknowledged his draft picks' reasons for concern.

"There's a lot of things that we have to overcome and a lot of things that we're going to continue to improve: housing, training facilities, all of the above," Novo said, per Once a Metro's Allison Lee. "And I think those are concerns anybody has, and we're trying to eliminate those concerns.

"Perception is something that we have to change," he told SBNation's Kim McCauley. "We will make changes. When we make those changes, I'll be glad to share with everybody."

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Sky Blue FC is a professional soccer team based in Piscataway Township, New Jersey, which has participated in the National Women's Soccer League since 2013.

^ "Thorns FC acquire rights to Caitlin Foord, 2020 NWSL draft pick from Seattle Reign FC in exchange for Allie Long". May 9, 2018. ^ "Canadian international Melissa Tancredi off to Chicago of the NWSL ". ^ "Lady Andrade to play for WNY Flash". ^ " Sky Blue FC Signs Nadia Nadim for 2015 Season".

Novo also maintained his optimism that the team's first-round draft picks would report when the preseason arrives.

"There's challenges with [Mace]," Novo said. "But I think that she will be here once we talk to her and get by some of the negativity we've had in the past... [I'm] very confident we'll be able to sign [Ashley]."

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