Sky Blue Trio Spending NWSL Off-Season Down Under

Sky Blue,
Sky Blue FC's Raquel Rodriguez. Robyn McNeil, ISI Photos

Three members of Sky Blue FC are heading down under to play in the 2017-18 Westfield W-League with Perth Glory.

Forward Sam Kerr and midfielder Nikki Stanton will be returning to Southwestern Australia and this season will be joined by their Sky Blue teammate midfielder Raquel Rodriguez. Kerr and Stanton will be playing with Perth on loan, while a new contract offer has been extended to Rodriguez for the upcoming NWSL season.

Kerr, 24, will return to Perth this year for her fourth consecutive W-League season with the team. The 2017 NWSL Most Valuable Player previously played for Glory from 2008-11 before spending two seasons with Sydney FC. Following the 2016-17 campaign, she was awarded the Julie Dolan Medal, which is presented to the W-League Most Valuable Player.

Kerr recently completed her third season with Sky Blue FC, her fifth overall year in the NWSL. During this past NWSL campaign, she became the league’s career goal leader (43), and the 2017 Golden Boot winner broke the single-season record by scoring 17 goals. The Perth native, who was named to the NWSL Best XI, also became the first player in league history to score two hat tricks in a season and four goals in a single match.

Stanton, 26, joins Kerr in Perth for a third straight W-League season. The Washington native fully established herself as a key player for Sky Blue FC during the 2017 NWSL season, her fourth campaign in New Jersey. On the year, she registered an assist on a career-high 13 starts over 16 appearances, earning recognition as the 2017 Sky Blue FC Unsung Hero.

Rodriguez, 23, was awarded 2016 NWSL Rookie of the Year accolades and recently completed her second season with Sky Blue FC. The Costa Rica international made 17 starts in 21 matches during the 2017 NWSL campaign, recording four goals. She also etched her name into the NWSL record books when she scored a goal 24 seconds into a game against Portland Thorns FC, the fastest in league history.

Perth will open the W-League season Friday, October 27, when it faces Melbourne City in a rematch of the 2017 Westfield W-League Grand Final. The W-League season runs until February of 2018, and all three players will return to Sky Blue FC prior to the start of the 2018 NWSL season.