In what was a unusual and unique draft for the National Women's Soccer League, New Jersey based Sky Blue FC came out of the night with four draft selections, a ton of allocation money, and an acquisition of a familiar face.
With the No. 3 overall pick, Sky Blue FC selected Brianna Pinto, a midfielder from the University of North Carolina. Pinto has stated her desire to play her final collegiate season this spring and would join Sky Blue upon conclusion. She has started 64 of her 65 matches, scored 23 goals with six of them being game-winners, and notched 16 assists in 3,705 minutes. In 2019, Pinto was named the 2019 U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year.
At only 20 years old, Pinto has quite an international resume. Pinto played on both the U.S. U-17 and U-20 FIFA World Cup teams in 2016 and 2018. She made her debut for the full USWNT in 2017 when she was named to the 2017 She Believes Cup roster at just 16 years old.
“It is an honor, a privilege, and a dream come true,” said Pinto. “Being drafted by Sky Blue is going to be something that I remember forever.”
Sky Blue also held the No. 4 overall pick but decided to cash in on that and trade the slot in exchange for $175,000 in allocation money. Later on, Sky Blue also acquired $100,000 in allocation money and the 2022 natural second-round draft pick from the Washington Spirit.
Sky Blue then acquired midfielder Jennifer Cudjoe from Racing Louisville FC before selecting midfielder Taryn Torres with the 23rd overall pick. Thus far in her collegiate career at the University of Virginia, Torres has started 60 of her 64 matches, scored 11 goals with three of them being game-winners, and notched 10 assists in 4,538 minutes.
Just ten picks later, Sky Blue drafted defender Delanie Sheehan at 33rd overall, and finished off the draft by selecting midfielder/forward Tess Boade with the 40th overall pick.
“I am really happy with another great draft day for Sky Blue,” said Head Coach Freya Coombe. “We were able to get our top targets and welcome the return of Jennifer Cudjoe. We have also been able to acquire allocation money to continue the development of the roster.”
Sky Blue FC begins the 2021 pre-season on February 1, with the NWSL Challenge Cup set to kick-off mid-April. The team is preparing for a 24-match season in 2021, starting in mid-May.
Gregg has lived in New Jersey is entire life and is a current resident of Somerset County. As a huge sports fan, he is passionate about NJ sports at all levels. The former owner of Double G Sports, Gregg has vast experience in sports media and journalism.