Injuries forcing Sky Blue’s Cutshall to sit out 2016 NWSL season

lindsi

by TOM SLATER

Defender Lindsi Cutshall, who was one of the top defenders in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), is the latest Sky Blue FC player who won’t be back this summer.

Sky Blue FC announced today that Cutshall was advised by doctors to sit out the year due to a series of injuries over the past few seasons.

“On the advice of numerous specialists, I have decided to take an extended break from the game I love,” Cutshall said in a team press release. “I will miss the game, my teammates and my fans tremendously. I give the greatest thanks to the Sky Blue FC staff and ownership for their support in all that I do as a player. I have complete confidence in Christy Holly as a coach, on and off the field. He is a terrific coach and will undoubtedly add value in a big way this year.

“I look forward to getting back out on the field to compete in the game I so love as soon as I can.”

Cutshall is coming off a 2015 season in which she started 18 times over 18 appearances at central defender for Sky Blue FC.  When Christie Rampone returned from the Women’s World Cup, the two formed a very formidable duo. Last year, former Sky Blue FC coach Jim Gabarra called them “the best tandem of central defenders in the league.”

Cutshall’s announcement continues a trend of turnover in the Sky Blue roster for this summer. The team has lost Katy Freels and Hayley (Haagsma) McCall to retirement, striker Nadia Nadim to trade, goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe and Cami Levin to the expansion draft and last year’s Most Valuable Player Brittany Cameron to Japan.

Depth at defender is good, however. 2015 draft pick Erica Skroski now has a legitimate chance to start with Kristin Grupka, converted striker Maya Hayes, Meg Morris and CoCo Goodson all available for playing time. They could join Rampone and Australian international Caitlin Foord on the Sky Blue backline.

“It is disappointing to lose a player of Lindsi’s caliber for the season,” said Holly. “She will definitely be missed by the team, both on and off the field. She became a very important piece of what we are trying to build, and we wish her the best in her extended period away from the game. “We will need to have some players step up in Lindsi’s absence. However, we do have a lot of defensive depth and experience on our roster, and we are confident that we will be able to make a smooth transition.”