Sky Blue lose duo to WPS draft

Sky Blue FC players Jen Buczkowski and Noelle Keselica were selected today in the Women’s Professional Soccer Expansion Draft. Buczkowski went to the Philadelphia Independence with the No. 3 pick in the draft while Keselica was tabbed by the Atlanta Beat with the No. 12 selection.

“We were sorry to see both Buzz and Noelle go,” said Sky Blue FC General Manager Gerry Marrone. “They both contributed to the success of this team. While we hated to lose anyone, however, we are gratified that we came away with a solid starting 11 and they were part of our championship team.”

Buczkowski became a key contributor for Sky Blue FC late in the season starting all three matches as a defender during the team’s WPS Championship playoff run. She appeared in 16 games during the inaugural WPS season playing both on defense and in the midfield.

Originally signed as an undrafted developmental player, Keselica made five appearances in the regular season for Sky Blue FC. She came on as a substitute in the WPS Championship – a 1-0 victory for Sky Blue FC over the Los Angeles Sol.

In total, 14 players were selected by Atlanta and Philadelphia. Leigh-Ann Robinson from FC Gold Pride was selected with the first pick by the Beat and the Independence followed by picking Lori Lindsey from the Washington Freedom.

“We’re the returning WPS Champions; we’re not looking to remake our team,” Marrone said. “Some other teams may be trying to rebuild, but that isn’t the case with us. Right up to and including this draft, I consulted with Christie Rampone and Mike Lyons, the team’s coaches. We’ve made the decisions together, full well knowing that the organization is looking to hire a new coach for next year.”

Regarding the search for a new Sky Blue FC coach for the 2010 season, Marrone said that Sky Blue FC has a list of 15 qualified candidates and that he is in the process of narrowing down that list.

“The next step in the process is to begin renewing the contract options of our existing players,” Marrone said. “Various players have various contracts, so now that the “quiet time” is over, we can begin to work on renewing deals.”

Sky Blue FC will supplement its roster when the league holds the WPS 2010 Draft on January 15, 2010. The draft will be held in Philadelphia in conjunction with the NSCAA Convention.