Sky Blue FC Acquires Shea Groom and Christina Gibbons from Utah Royals FC

Shea Groom Christina Gibbons
Photos by ISI Photos.

Sky Blue FC Also Receives No. 4 Overall Selection in 2018 NWSL College Draft

Sky Blue FC of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) announced today that it has completed a trade with the Utah Royals FC, as the New Jersey club has acquired forward Shea Groom, defender Christina Gibbons and the no. 4 overall selection in the 2018 NWSL College Draft in exchange for defender Kelley O’Hara, midfielder Taylor Lytle and the no. 25 overall pick in the 2018 NWSL College Draft.

“I am very excited about having both Groom and Gibbons join our club and believe they will fill a distinct need for our team,” said Denise Reddy, Sky Blue FC head coach. “Groom has an incredible attacking presence and can be a difference maker, especially in the final third. Gibbons has the ability to make a major impact at multiple positions on the field.”

Groom, 24, was a two-time NSCAA All-American at Texas A&M after registering 41 goals and 25 assists during her college career. She was then selected as the no. 12 overall pick in the 2015 NWSL College Draft by FC Kansas City, helping them to the NWSL Championship that year behind a four-goal and two-assist rookie season. In her follow-up 2016 campaign, Groom was fifth in the league with a team-leading eight goals and received NWSL Second XI accolades. This past season, the Missouri native had another well-accomplished year for FC Kansas City, recording a team-best five assists and finishing second on her club with five goals. On the international front, Groom represented the U.S. U-23 Women’s National Team in the 2015 La Manga Tournament in Spain.

Gibbons, 22, was the no. 5 overall selection of FC Kansas City in the 2017 NWSL College Draft after a standout career at Duke University. While playing for the Blue Devils, she started in 87 of the 88 matches she appeared, earning NSCAA All-America honors twice and All-ACC First Team accolades on three occasions. During her rookie season for FC Kansas City in 2017, Gibbons started 23 of 24 contests and played a total of 2083 minutes, which was the most of any field player on the roster. She also made significant contributions to the FC Kansas City attack, registering a goal and team second-best three assists. The Cincinnati, Ohio, native has competed at the international level, representing the United States on both the U-20 and U-23 stage. Currently, Gibbons is playing in Australia for Melbourne Victory of the Westfield W-League, but she will arrive in New Jersey ahead of the 2018 NWSL season.

“Shea and Christina are two exceptional players, and we cannot wait to have them both playing with us this season,” said Tony Novo, Sky Blue FC President & General Manager. “On behalf of everyone here at Sky Blue FC, we also want to thank Kelley and Taylor for all they have done over the past five seasons. They made major contributions to our club, both on and off the field, and they played significant roles in helping to develop professional women’s soccer here in New Jersey. We truly want to wish them all the best as they begin their new chapter in Utah.”

O’Hara and Lytle were two of the original members of Sky Blue FC from when the NWSL kicked off in 2013. O’Hara exits New Jersey as the no. 2 all-time goal-scorer for Sky Blue FC on 15 tallies over five seasons, while she also holds a team record of 18 assists. On the international front, she has more than 100 caps for the U.S. Women’s National Team, helping her country to the 2012 Olympic Gold Medal and 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup championship.

Lytle has been a member of Sky Blue FC for the entirety of her professional career to date, finishing her time in New Jersey with five goals and 11 assists over five seasons.

By acquiring the no. 4 overall selection in the 2018 NWSL College Draft, which will be held in Philadelphia on Jan. 18, Sky Blue FC now has a pair of first-round picks and will select back-to-back at no. 4 and no. 5 overall. Its final two selections next month will come in the second round (no. 15 overall) and fourth round (no. 35 overall).

Note: The former FC Kansas City players were assigned to the Utah Royals FC after the club officially entered the NWSL in November of this year.

Sky Blue FC recently announced that the team will be holding its 2018 open tryouts on February 14-15 at Sportika Sports in Manalapan, N.J. The registration process for the tryouts is now open, and interested players can sign up today online.

2018 Sky Blue FC season and half-season tickets are on sale now, and fans can purchase them today by calling 888-SBFC-TIX (888-723-2849). For all of the latest news on Sky Blue FC, visit the team online and follow us on social media: @SkyBlueFC

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