PISCATAWAY, NJ–Sky Blue FC, the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) club that utilizes Rutgers University’s Yurcak Field for home matches, hired Denise Reddy as its new head coach, the team announced on November 15.
Reddy, a “Jersey Girl” who was an All-American in her college days at Rutgers, has years of coaching experience in the United States and Europe.
She began coaching in 2007 as head coach of Jersey Sky Blue, the W-League club that preceded Sky Blue FC as a pro club prior to NWSL’s launch.
“I’m extremely excited and honored to be representing Sky Blue as the new head coach,” said Reddy on a conference call November 15.
“I feel Sky Blue has a young and exciting roster with a tremendous amount of quality.”
During the call, Reddy said she’d work to support female players looking to transition to head coaching slots, or the next level of coaching.
“I want to be a big part of the support system for females,” Reddy said.
“I don’t know if I’m going to feel any pressure. I’m going to coach the same way whether it’s all females or whether I’m the only one.”
Sky Blue FC’s president/general manager Tony Novo said Reddy is “part of the fabric” highlighting NJ soccer for many years, and “brings a coaching outlook that holds various elements” from Sweden and Denmark where she previously coached three clubs: Linköpings FC in Sweden, B93/HIK/Skjold in Denmark, and Vittsjö GIK in Sweden.
“We are very excited to see what the future holds with [Reddy],” said Novo.
Most recently an assistant coach with the Washington Spirit, Reddy is a NJ native who previously served as a head coach in three different countries. She was an assistant coach with the Chicago Red Stars in Women’s Professional Soccer, and for the last two seasons she’s been the Spirit’s assistant.
“[New Jersey] is where my coaching career started,” said Reddy.
“It feels great to be back,” she said, adding, she “cannot wait to get on the pitch.”
When she begins working with her “big and young” players and gets to know them, said Reddy on the call, she envisions those with experience “mix(ing) with the young ones.”
I will bring a “more identifiable style of play … that can fluctuate in and out of specific playing systems,” she said, adding that the teams “style” may depend on “the technical, tactical, mental, and the physical.”
“I really am happy to be back home,” added Reddy.
Reddy is Sky Blue’s third full-time coach. Jim Gabarra, the renowned NWSL coach for the club from 2013 to 2015, now coach/general manager of the Spirit, Washington’s NWSL club chimed in:
“When Denise came to the Spirit, we were all aware of and supported her ambition to become a head coach in the NWSL,” he said.
“She has been a tremendous resource for our club the past two seasons and instrumental to our success. This is a great opportunity for her, and we wish her the best of luck with Sky Blue.”
For the moment, Reddy is the only female head coach in the NWSL, though Seattle Reign FC had a female coach for the past four seasons. But last week, Laura Harvey, Seattles coach, stepped down.