Sky Blue FC closed out 2017 with a big trade with Utah Royals FC that will add youth to the team’s roster.
Forward Shea Groom, defender Christina Gibbons and Utah’s fourth overall selection in the 2018 NWSL College Draft are heading to Sky Blue in exchange for defender Kelley O’Hara, midfielder Taylor Lytle and the 25th pick in the upcoming NWSL draft.
“I am very excited about having 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.”
In addition, acquiring the fourth overall selection in the upcoming NWSL College Draft, which will be held in Philadelphia on January 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 will come in the second round (No. 15 overall) and fourth round (No. 35 overall).
Groom, 24, was selected as the 12th overall pick out of Texas A&M in the 2015 NWSL College Draft by FC Kansas City and was an integral part of the team’s NWSL Championship that year behind a four-goal and two-assist rookie season.
In her follow-up campaign in 2016, Groom was fifth in the league with a team-leading eight goals and received NWSL Second XI accolades. This past season, the Missouri native recorded a team-best five assists and finished 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. During her rookie season for FC Kansas City in 2017, Gibbons started 23 of 24 matches and played a total of 2083 minutes, 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 native has competed at the international level, representing the United States at the U-20 and U-23 levels. 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.
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 team’s second all-time goal-scorer with 15 goals over five seasons, while also holding the team record of 18 assists.
On the international front, O’Hara has more than 100 caps for the U.S. Women’s National Team, winning 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.