Sky Blue FC of Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) announced today the player pool for an upcoming Japanese tour with Plenus Nadeshiko League club INAC Kobe Leonessa. The two teams will be playing a pair of exhibition matches in Kagoshima and Okinawa this March, with Sky Blue FC spending a total of 10 days in Japan.
"This is a unique situation in that it was originally planned as a preseason event," Sky Blue FC head coach Jim Gabarra said of the trip. "When putting together the player pool, we originally went back to our initial roster and presented this opportunity to those players who had signed to play for Sky Blue FC this season. When the league suspended operations, we then reached out to Western New York to see if they had some players they wanted to add. A special thanks and acknowledgement is needed for Sky Blue FC ownership and staff in its support of this trip. I believe it shows the commitment of the club to the future of WPS, as well as the continued effort to build our brand.
"As a whole, the roster is comprised of players who were going to be on our team this season, as well as players from last year and others from additional WPS clubs. It is going to be a competitive roster, and this is going to be a good trip and experience for everyone who is going."
Gabarra also spoke about the exclusive opportunity this gives to those traveling players in competing against a top level international side.
"The only other times you can go and play other quality international clubs are with the national team or in the preseason like we planned this year and did in 2011 when we traveled to Turkey," he continued. "It is going to be a really good experience for our players to see how another league plays. The quality of the Japanese players is a little different in that our country is a little more physical in nature, and they are mostly focused upon the technical and tactical aspects of the game. This is something we will be able to look back upon and gain a lot of valuable knowledge and experience."
The team will depart from New York on March 15th and fly into Tokyo before traveling into Kagoshima to prepare for the first friendly with INAC Kobe Leonessa at Kagoshima Prefectural Kamioke Athletics Stadium on March 20th. The next destination for the two sides will be Okinawa, where they will meet on March 24th at Comprehensive Athletic Park. As part of the trip, the two teams will also be honored at receptions in both game cities, in addition to making community appearances as well.
Anita Asante - Defender
Jazmyne Avant - Defender
Carolyn Blank - Midfielder
Brittany Bock - Midfielder
Brittany Cameron - Goalkeeper
Amanda DaCosta - Midfielder
Kendall Fletcher - Defender
Beverly Goebel - Midfielder
Melissa Henderson - Forward
Laura Heyboer - Forward
Chantel Jones - Goalkeeper
Robyn Jones- Goalkeeper
Camille Levin - Defender/Midfielder
Taylor Lytle - Midfielder
Nikki Marshall - Defender
Rebecca Moros - Defender
Casey Nogueira - Forward
Alex Sahlen - Defender
Nikki Washington - Forward
McCall Zerboni - Midfielder
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