New Jersey Youth Soccer recently partnered with Sky Blue FC of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) to provide a private webinar for its Olympic Development Program (ODP) players. On behalf of Sky Blue FC, forward Paige Monaghan and midfielder Kenie Wright attended the webinar to provide participants with personal insight as professional players.
“We continue to be proud of our partnership with Sky Blue FC, and this webinar provided yet another example of how lucky we feel,” said Evan Dabby, NJYS Executive Director. “Paige and Kenie were the consummate professionals, representing everything that a parent and coach desires. They were so effective in educating the players about ambition, persistence and overcoming adversity. It comes as no surprise that their talk was so well received and appreciated.”
Both Monaghan and Wright are New Jersey natives, and they each took the time to share some memories of being a youth player in the state. Additional topics that were discussed included training tips, the college recruitment process and what it is like to be a player at the professional level. In the latter part of the webinar, an open Q/A forum was held where ODP players were able to ask specific questions of the professional athletes.
“Kenie and I were excited to chat with the New Jersey ODP players,” said Monaghan. “It was cool to be on Zoom and able to talk about our experiences, but we most enjoyed answering the questions the athletes wanted to know. We talked about things from the mental side of the game to the joy of simply playing the game. We want this generation of New Jersey soccer players to stick to our roots of being gritty and talented, but also grow and continue to have athletes playing and loving the sport.”
Originally from Roxbury, Paige Monaghan was drafted by Sky Blue FC in the 2019 NWSL College Draft after attending Butler University. During college, she was twice named to the All-Big East First Team, and she also received 2017 Big East Offensive Player of the Year accolades. She has scored five goals across all competitions since joining Sky Blue FC, including two tallies in her NWSL Fall Series finale that led to her being named the NWSL Woman of the Week. On the international level, Monaghan was most recently called into the U.S. Women’s National Team ID Camp in December.
“It was awesome speaking to New Jersey Youth Soccer players, especially because Paige and I were once in their shoes,” said Wright. “You could see how excited they were when we told them that one day they too could be professional soccer players if they worked hard enough. Hopefully, this inspired the next generation of soccer players.”
A native of Mount Laurel, Kenie Wright was drafted by Sky Blue FC in the 2019 NWSL College Draft after playing college soccer at Rutgers University. She was an All-Big Ten Freshman in 2015 and received an All-Big Ten Second Team nod in 2018. She made five appearances for Sky Blue FC in 2019, notching one assist. Unfortunately, she suffered a torn ACL during the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup and is currently rehabilitating that injury.