It was a busy 2018 draft day for Sky Blue FC, which selected five players in the annual National Women’s Soccer League College Draft.
The team made three overall picks in the first round, taking forward Michaela Abam (West Virginia) at No. 4, forward Imani Dorsey (Duke) at No. 5 and defender Amandine Pierre-Louis (West Virginia) at No. 6. The Blues then selected goalkeeper Casey Murphy (Rutgers) with the no. 13 overall pick and midfielder Kiana Palacios (UC-Irvine) with the No. 35 overall selection.
Sky Blue FC also made a Draft Day trade with the Chicago Red Stars, that included the No. 6 and No. 13 overall picks in the 2018 NWSL College Draft (which became Amandine Pierre-Louis and Casey Murphy). The trade, which was completed after the draft included Carli Lloyd coming to Sky Blue and Sam Kerr heading to Chicago.
“Sky Blue FC had a really good day at the NWSL Draft,” said Denise Reddy, Sky Blue FC head coach. “We were able to acquire a group of high-quality players who address specific needs that will make our team stronger. Now that the majority of our roster is formed, I am really looking forward to getting on the pitch for preseason so we can begin implementing our style of play. February 19th cannot get here soon enough.”
A native of Houston, Texas, Michaela Abam completed her college career at West Virginia University with 100 points on 42 goals and 16 assists. The 42 goals stand as the third-highest mark in program history, and she led the Mountaineers in points over four consecutive seasons. She also holds a West Virginia record by making 95 appearances, including 79 starts. Abam earned All-Big 12 First Team honors over the past three years and was also named to the United Soccer Coaches All-America Second Team this past fall.
Imani Dorsey arrives at Sky Blue FC after being named the ACC Offensive Player of the Year in 2017 and receiving United Soccer Coaches First Team All-America accolades. This past fall, she had a historical year at Duke University, leading the Blue Devils with 47 shots, 38 points and a team-leading 14 goals. Additionally, she recorded five game-winners and made 25 starts. The Maryland native went on an incredible offensive run during her senior campaign, scoring in six straight contests. Internationally, Dorsey has also competed within the U.S. Women’s National Team system at the U-15, U-17, U-18 and U-19 levels.
Amandine Pierre-Louis earned United Soccer Coaches All-America Second Team honors this past season, and she was also named the 2017 Big 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year. Serving as the anchor of a Mountaineer backline that posted 13 shutouts and allowed just 16 goals, the Canada international also scored a team second-best five goals her senior year. The two-time All-Big 12 First Team honoree finished college as the third-most experienced player in program history, appearing in 92 matches. On the international front, Pierre-Louis has been a steady fixture within the Canada Women’s National Team system.
Casey Murphy will bring a wealth of experience at Yurcak Field to Sky Blue FC, with the Bridgewater, N.J. native playing her college soccer on Sky Blue FC’s home turf at Rutgers University. This past fall, she registered 16 shutouts en route to being named the Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year while also receiving All-Big Ten First Team honors for the second time. Additionally, she was named to the United Soccer Coaches All-America First Team. For her collegiate career, Murphy tallied 45 shutouts, which is a program record. Alongside now Sky Blue FC teammates Erica Skroski, Madison Tiernan and Cassidy Benintente, Murphy backstopped Rutgers to the NCAA College Cup Final Four in 2015. On the international front, Murphy redshirted her junior college season to compete as the starting goalkeeper for the U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team in the 2016 U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
A native of Lake Forest, Calif., Kiana Palacios brings additional international experience to Sky Blue FC after having competed with the Mexico Women’s National Team. She was selected to the All-Big West First Team this past fall, and she was also named the Big West Midfielder of the Year. Palacios played in 66 matches while attending UC-Irvine, finishing with 24 goals (including nine game-winners) and 62 points.