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Grading the 2019 Sky Blue Draft


Gary Gibson


It has been said that it takes 3 years to truly judge a draft class. This is the second edition of this content. Last season I dissected the 2018 here: https://www.soccerovergotham.com/post/grading-the-2018-sky-blue-draft-class


This draft has a ton of twists and turns. One of the most chaotic times for the club. To know just how crazy this draft was you have to know what the club was going through at the time.


It had been made public that players and staff complained about the untenable conditions around the club. General Manager Tony Novo had been under fire for under investment in the club that led to housing where players complained of broken windows and finding drugs in their beds. Sky Blue were using Yurkac field at Rutgers which did not have showers in the locker rooms for the players. You can read more here: https://www.onceametro.com/2018/7/17/17583026/sky-blue-fc-created-untenable-player-conditions-years-nwsl


Head coach Denise Reddy was entering her second season as head coach after Christy Holly had stepped down. This would ultimately be Reddy's final run with the club that ended with a coaching record of 1-24-8.


Sky Blue came into this offseason without superstar Sam Kerr as she left the club to play in Chicago. The club also lost Shea Groom to Seattle.


Gotham had a real chance to bolster the roster with 8 picks and four of the first 11. Let go through each of them and see how they turned out.


Round 1:

Pick 2: Halie Mace D UCLA

Mace ultimately decided against signing with the club. Sky Blue held her rights so the player left the states and signed with Melbourne City FC of the Australian A-League. Her rights were then traded in 2020 to the North Carolina Courage in exchange for McCall Zerboni.


Pick 5: Julia Ashley D North Carolina

Julia also decided against signing with the club. The player left the states as well to play for Linköpings FC in the Damallsvenskan in Sweden with Sky Blue holding her player rights. Julia then moved to Adelaide United of the Australian A-league after struggling through injuries and a lack of playing time. Sky Blue traded her playing right to OL Reign (then Reign FC).


Round 2:

Pick 10: Paige Monaghan F Butler

Paige was the first of the class to sign with the club. Quickly becoming a fan favorite and appearing in 75 matches with the club, scoring 8 times. Paige currently out of contract but a new contract has been offered according to a Gotham FC press release.


Pick 11: Julie James M Baylor

Julia signed with the club but didn't make an impact. Featuring in 1 game.


Round 3:

Pick 19: Kyra Carusa F Georgetown

Kyra never played for Sky Blue. Instead she joined French club Le Havre AC' then moved to Danish club HB Køge in Kvinde 1. division, in February 2020 where she has been since. Has made appearances for the Ireland National Team.


Round 4:

Pick 28: Kaylan Marckese K Florida

Kaylan played one season for Sky Blue but never made an appearance. Played in Iceland in 2020 and Denmark in 2021. Signed in June 2022 for Arsenal. Has yet to make an appearance.


Pick 29: Kenie Wright M Rutgers

Kenie played 2 season for Sky Blue FC and made 5 appearances. Retired and then was named Maryland women's soccer's first-ever Director of Player Development in January 2022.


Pick 34: Sabrina Flores D Notre Dame

Sabrina has appeared in 8 matches for the club. Has battled injuries through most of her career. Sabrina's contract status is unknown. In the background of O'Hara announcing her intentions to sign with Gotham it stated "Joins Sabrina Flores". Which may mean that Sabrina has signed a new contract. Gotham has yet to expand on that statement.


Conclusion:

Drafts are a gamble. A decent draft is one where you hit on one draft pick if you have a normal 4 picks, one in each round. Sky Blue had 8 picks in the draft. Therefore you would hope they hit on 2 of those picks. 3 of the 8 picks never signed with the club.


Ultimately, Sky Blue FC ended up with 1 regular starter out of that group and that was the only one who made an impact. Paige Monaghan has been a model teammate, a tireless worker on the field and a great interview if we say so ourselves. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cV_bWzZCXU


Sabrina Flores is a wait and see player. If Sabrina is back with the club she is behind a bevy of solid outside backs and may not see the field this season. Sabrina does a ton of work in the background as a community organizer.


Verdict: D

Considering the chaos around the club and the two first-round draft picks not signing with the club, Paige has been a revelation. A solid contributor that represents the heart, competitiveness, and grit that are hallmarks of this club. Being a Roxbury NJ native she embodies everything you believe about Gotham FC players. If Paige does not return to the club that would possibly leave Flores as the only player of 8 draft picks still with the club. A D grade ultimately feels a bit generous, no?!


What are your thoughts Gotham fans?

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