Team History: Representing both New York and New Jersey, SBFC is part of the huge Sky Blue Soccer organization, a developmental program that churns out some of America’s best young players. Headquartered in Somerset, New Jersey, SBFC is poised to be a force to be reckoned with during the inaugural season of WPS, and can’t be overlooked.
The Coach: Ian Sawyers is an experienced coach who should take Sky Blue far this season. He coached the San Jose WUSA side during its entire existence and was named WUSA Coach of the Year in 2001. He is also married to US WNT legend Julie Foudy and with her consultation help, I believe Sawyers is primed to be a top coach in WPS as well.
The Players: SBFC probably had the best US WNT allocation of all, getting prolific scorer and tattoo collector Natasha Kai, on-field general Heather O’Reilly and stifling defender Christie Rampone. In addition, they got two fine Brazilian players in the international allocation and have signed some up and coming prospects for 2009.
The Venue: SBFC will call TD Bank Ballpark home for the first two games and then move to Yurcak Field at Rutgers for the remainder of the season. Yurcak is a small stadium (5,000 capacity), so I think the large region’s soccer fans should have no problem filling it. The larger venue will be used for the first two games so more fans can be present.
The Prediction: SBFC has a nice core group of talented players, and one of the best coaches in the league, so I think they will finish near the top of the table this year. The only question is whether they have the depth to compete over the course of the entire season. I love this team (and their unis), so I am willing to wager they make the playoffs in 2009.