Rather Than Play For Sky Blue, Two Top 10 NWSL Draft Picks Opt To Leave The Country
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NWSL club Sky Blue FC has been down in the dumps recently due to poor working conditions for its professional athletes. It's so bad that newcomers that just achieved their lifelong dreams of playing professional soccer are refusing to sign with the team. Prior to being drafted, both draftees said they would not play for Sky Blue in hopes that manager Phil Murphy wouldn’t pick them. But Murphy chose Hailie Mace (No. 2 overall) and Julia Ashley (No. 6) to join the squad for the upcoming season.
With preseason right around the corner, reports of non-functioning bathrooms, poor housing situations and overall poor working conditions are something current and future Sky Blue players refuse to be a part of.
Just when you thought women’s soccer was starting to get better in the United States, you hear about the unfair treatment of these so-called professional athletes.
They did not have air conditioning, showers, locker rooms, proper benches and, worst of all, they had to use porta-potties for bathrooms. There are high schools that have better quality facilities than this. The low standards this club has for its players and facilities is something you definitely do not hear about in men's soccer. Could you imagine making Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo use a portable bathroom?
The word travels fast about conditions for different clubs, and as a result, Sky Blue lost two of their recent draft picks. Things seemed sketchy when Mace and Ashley did not post any Instagram pictures of the next chapter in their career. A social media post may not seem like a big deal, but when you get drafted in the first round you 100 percent deserve bragging rights.
The loss of a lethal defender and forward was big for Sky Blue. Instead of pursuing their careers in the U.S., they've decided to go overseas and continue their journey.
Mace is playing for Melbourne City FC in Australia, where she already made her mark by scoring her first goal in her debut as a professional.
— Liana Buratti (@lianaburatti) January 20, 2019
As for UNC standout Ashley, a New Jersey native so you'd think Sky Blue would've been an ideal fit for her, she decided to take her talents to Swedish club Linköpings FC. She preferred going 4,000 miles away from home rather than play for a team with concerning off-field treatment. If that isn't a red-flag than I don't know what is.
LFC welcomes Julia Ashley @juliashley11 to the team! “I am just so happy and honored about playing for a great club like Linköpings FC. I can’t wait to get to work, meet the team, and experience the great Swedish football culture, says Ashley”. @team.avsports— Linköpings FC (@LinkopingsFC) January 22, 2019
It's only a matter of time until the club sees its end. But for now, these two are just a couple examples of the several Sky Blue players that've decided to leave New Jersey and figure out their options. Amanda Frisbee and Rebekah Stott, who appeared in 26 games collectively last season, have also joined 24-year-old retiree Christina Gibbons in parting ways with a low-quality lifestyle.
It's sad to see an organization take such little pride in accommodating its players. With these poor conditions and the lack of professional treatment these women received, their rec-leagues better watch out because that's going to be their next destination.
In case you need more of an accurate depiction of Sky Blue, well, I’ll just leave this here.
— sonnett taught me how to pass (@oharaisbae) January 24, 2019