Sky Blue Announces Preseason Roster — Without Retired Goodson

IMAGE, SKYBLUEFC.COM

by CHRIS HENDERSON
NWSL Beatwriter

The opening of Sky Blue FC training camp on Monday provided the first look at the potential roster that will start the NWSL season in just under five weeks in Kansas City.

Even as the team welcomed a slew of rookies and trialists, the biggest news of day one was defender Coco Goodson’s retirement.

Goodson was expected to be part of the rotation of central defenders to fill starting roles while captain Christie Rampone is away at World Cup, but instead, posted news of her retirement on Twitter late Sunday night.  “I have made memories that will last me a lifetime and friends that will forever be in my life,” she wrote. “I have made the difficult decision to start the next chapter of my life and pursue a new career.”

Goodson joins seven other players departing from the team that barely missed the postseason last year, including starters midfielder Sophie Schmidt and goalkeeper Jill Loyden. Their exits, along with the expected lengthy World Cup absences of six of Sky Blue’s most prominent players, means that there are opportunities for newcomers to grab spots on the 20-player roster during training camp.

The six World Cup-bound players — Canada’s Jonelle Filigno, Mexico’s Monica Ocampo, Australians Caitlin Foord and Sam Kerr, and Americans Rampone and Kelley O’Hara, along with star attacker Nadia Nadim — were the notable absences at the opening of camp. Filigno, Ocampo and the Australians will not join the team until after the tournament in July. Rampone and O’Hara are in Portugal finishing up the Algarve Cup in Portugal with the US team. They may join the team later in camp and for as many as three games early in the season, according to coach Jim Gabarra. Nadim is expected to arrive for the full season well before it starts on April 12.

But for all the focus on who was not there, a bevy of newcomers reported to The Atlantic Club Turf Training Center in Manasquan on Monday including top draft picks midfielder Sarah Killion and defender Kristin Grubka who will be looking to secure places in the starting eleven. Fellow draft picks Shade Pratt and Lo’eau LaBonta also reported, while third rounder Daphne Corboz and fourth rounder Chioma Ubogagu did not, as they are expected with to play this season with Manchester City and Arsenal, respectively. Veteran acquisitions midfielder Shawna Gordon and goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe, who will to compete with returnee Brittany Cameron for the starting spot, also showed up on the first day.

In addition to welcoming the new players and a handful of returnees, the team has invited 13 players on trial including four who impressed coaches at this past weekend’s open tryouts: goalkeeper Shannon O’Brien, forward Gibby Wagner, midfielder Sheree Dillard and defender Kim Elmore. The team opens its four game pre-season slate on Saturday at Wexler Field in Scotch Plains against St. John’s University at 2pm.

PLAYERS UNDER CONTRACT/DRAFTED PLAYERS IN CAMP

GOALKEEPERS: Aubrey Bledsoe (Wake Forest), Brittany Cameron (San Diego), DEFENDERS: Lindsi Cutshall (Brigham Young) Kristin Grubka (Florida State), Hayley Haagsma (Texas Tech), Meg Morris (North Carolina), Shade Pratt (Maryland), MIDFIELDERS: Katy Freels (Auburn), Shawna Gordon (Cal State Long Beach), Sarah Killion (UCLA), Lo’eau LaBonta (Stanford), Nikki Stanton (Fairfield), FORWARDS: Maya Hayes (Penn State)

PLAYERS ON TRIAL

GOALKEEPERS: Shannon O’Brien (Arizona), Genevieve Richard (Wisconsin), DEFENDERS: Kim Elmore (Belmont), MIDFIELDERS: Rachel Breton (Rutgers), Theresa Diederich (Alabama), Sheree Dillard (Penn State), Maruschka Waldus (Alabama), FORWARDS: Maryam Huseini (La Salle), Stef Scholz (Rutgers), Shelbee Stilwell (Oklahoma State), Amber Stobbs (Hofstra), Shu Tseng (Chinese Taipei), Gibby Wagner (Boston College)

PLAYERS UNDER CONTRACT NOT YET REPORTED

DEFENDERS: Caitlin Foord (Australia), Cami Levin (Stanford) Kelley O’Hara (Stanford), Christie Rampone (Monmouth), MIDFIELDERS: Taylor Lytle (Texas Tech), FORWARDS: Jonelle Filigno (Rutgers) Samantha Kerr (Australia), Nadia Nadim (Denmark), Monica Ocampo (Mexico)