Tony Novo’s tenure as Sky Blue FC general manager has been a rocky one but is now over. The club on Tuesday said that Novo has resigned and will resume his career as a residential mortgage lender.
But Philly.com reported that Novo was fired just days before the team’s first match of the 2019 season on the road against the Washington Spirit. Novo declined to comment on his departure, the report said.
Alyse LaHue, Sky Blue vice president, will serve as interim general manager while team owners conduct a search to fill the general manager’s job and “reevaluate operations.”
“I am departing Sky Blue with confidence that Alyse will be a strong leader and advocate for the team,” Novo said in a statement released by the club.
LaHue is no stranger to the front office having served as general manager for Chicago Red Stars from 2012-2016. She has also held GM spots with the LA Blues of USL-PRO and Pali Blues for the former W-League in 2011. She joined Sky Blue in 2018.
Tammy Murphy, the wife of team co-owner and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, who has increased her involvement with the team this year, said Novo has been a “passionate supporter of professional women’s soccer and has worked tirelessly to get the team to where it is today.”
Novo’s tenure has not been without controversy. Published reports over the past year raised questions about what some former Sky Blue players said were inadequate training facilities, poor housing situations for the players and overall poor management off the field.
Dan Lauletta, managing editor of The Equalizer, tweeted comments from Kerr saying it was bittersweet playing against her former teammates.
“I’m just going to say the girls deserve better and I’m just going to leave it at that,” said Kerr, who won a league MVP while a member of Sky Blue FC. “These girls are great girls. They give everything of themselves for this club and this league and they just deserve better. I wish I could take every single one of them with me but that’s not the way it is. I felt like I was going to cry at some points in the game.”
The club this year has taken steps to address certain issues. It has increased spending on players’ housing allowances and moved its training facility to Georgian Court University in Lakewood, N.J.
But past controversies are still negatively impacting the team on the field. Sky Blue’s first-round draft picks, Julia Ashley and Hailie Mace, declined to join the club this season, instead choosing to sign professional contracts with teams in Sweden.