Sky Blue Signs Nadia Nadim

IMAGE, SKYBLUEFC.COM

by CHRIS HENDERSON
Staff Writer

The final and likely most important move of Sky Blue FC’s off-season is complete. Nadia Nadim is coming back.

Nadim, 27, who led the team in scoring and sparked a run that nearly culminated in reaching the playoffs during her short stay at the tail end of last season, will be on the field when the team kicks off on April 12 in Kansas City. The Danish international officially signed a deal on Monday that will keep her with the team for the entirety of the 2015 NWSL season.

If all goes according to plan, she will guide the team’s attack for all 20 games and into the post-season.

“Signing Nadia was our top objective coming out of last season,” head coach Jim Gabarra said. “We had some great momentum when she arrived last year, and we want to continue that momentum into this season. This is huge for both Sky Blue FC and the league itself in signing a player of Nadia’s caliber, and we are very much looking forward to having her for the entire season.”

As with all NWSL contracts, details of the agreement between Nadim, Sky Blue and her Danish club Fortuna Hjørring were not disclosed. It would appear that the deal is part of the partnership announced by the Danish team in late January that reportedly pools the resources of Sky Blue, Fortuna Hjørring, and England’s Chelsea through player exchanges and the sharing of coaching expertise.

Nadim’s return adds another aspect to a potentially loaded Sky Blue attack. She joins new addition Australian striker Sam Kerr, who scored 9 goals for Western New York and American Kelley O’Hara, who Nadim partnered well with in 2014. Nadim’s acquisition is all the more relevant as both Kerr and O’Hara, along with captain Christie Rampone, Jonelle Filigno, Caitlin Foord and Maria Ocampo will miss much of May and June for the World Cup and the training camps that proceed it.

Nadim’s Denmark failed to qualify, and therefore she will be in New Jersey for the entire season.

During her six game stint with the team in July and August last year, Nadim scored seven goals and assisted three more. Perhaps more importantly, the team won four of five games that Nadim started and nearly picked off the last playoff spot after struggling for the first part of the season.

Her return to New Jersey is the next challenge in a journey that began in Afghanistan. At age 12, she and her sisters fled with her mother to Denmark, when her father, who served in the military, was executed by the Taliban. Aside from excelling in soccer enough to make the Danish national team at age 18, she has gained fluency in five languages and is currently in the midst of completing medical school at Aarhus University.