Sky Blue adds Jill Loyden, Paul Greig to coaching staff

IMAGE, SKYBLUEFC.COM

by TOM SLATER

After taking all fall and half the winter to name a head coach, Sky Blue FC is moving much faster in adding to their staff.

New coach Christy Holly brought back former Sky Blue goalkeeper Jill Lloyden to the staff to work with the club’s goalkeepers  (what else) and also added Paul Greig, a coach with international experience.

“Both Jill and Paul are two coaches I am very much excited to work alongside,” said Christy Holly, Sky Blue FC head coach. “They will bring a tremendous amount of experience, knowledge and energy to our team environment. I have no doubt that they will both be incredible assets as we set out to achieve success this season.”

A Vineland native, Loyden rejoins Sky Blue FC as an assistant coach. Loyden joined Sky Blue FC in 2012 as part of the United States Women’s National Team allocation and spent her final two years as a professional player with the New Jersey club. Over that pair of seasons, she registered a cumulative 8-7-6 record over 21 starts with five shutouts and 115 saves.

Her time with the club dates back to the origins of the franchise, when she was a goalkeeper for Jersey Sky Blue of the USL W-League. Collegiately, she was a three-time Big East Goalkeeper of the Year at Villanova University before being drafted by Saint Louis Athletica in the 2009 Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) College Draft. The following season, she was signed by the Chicago Red Stars as their starting goalkeeper, compiling a 1.17 GAA (Goals Against Average) before bettering that number with a 1.13 GAA the next year for magicJack SC.

In international play, Loyden worked her way onto the Women’s National Team in 2010, earning her first cap on October of that year when she backstopped her team to a 2-1 victory over China. The following year, she earned a spot on the U.S. WNT roster for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany, and she served as an alternate in London for the Gold Medal winning U.S. WNT side at the 2012 Olympic Games.

“I am really excited to join this staff and be back at the place where I finished my career,” Loyden said. “I look forward to helping Sky Blue FC seek a second championship. I am excited to add to the goalkeeping environment and to really raise the level by giving back to our next generation of goalkeepers. It will be great to reunite with some of my old teammates such as Christie Rampone, and collaborating with her is something I truly value. I really want to do everything I can to help the organization do well while also raising awareness for women’s soccer in this area. New Jersey deserves a great soccer team, and I look forward to being able to add to that dynamic.”

Loyden is also the owner and operator of The Keeper Institute (TKI) in Sewell, N.J.,  a goalkeepers training school. Additionally, she founded the Jillian Loyden Foundation in 2012, which was established with a mission to create and support signature programs and activities that motivate young people by empowering them and helping them find value in themselves. The JL Foundation hosts an annual “Break the Silence” Gala each year, conducted to raise awareness and empower people to help victims of domestic violence.

Loyden will have work cut out for her. At this time, there is only one goalkeeper on the roster, rookie Caroline Casey of Utah, a third-round draft pick in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) draft three weeks ago.
Greig, 28, comes to Sky Blue FC with vast international coaching experience, including stops in his native Scotland, England, Sweden, Spain and most recently in New Zealand, where he was the head coach of Northern Football this past season. In what his first year as coach, Greig led Northern Football to the ASB Women’s League championship to become the youngest coach in New Zealand history to manage his club to a National League title (men’s or women’s team). The side was the highest scoring team in club history, with 37 goals in nine matches.

“I am excited to be joining Sky Blue FC and to work alongside Christy, Jill and the staff,” Greig said. “The NWSL is one of the best leagues in the world, and the opportunity to be working with such a fantastic playing group day in, day out was an opportunity I jumped at when talking to Christy. This season will be exciting, both on and off the field, and I cannot wait to be a part of the journey.”