The National Women's Soccer League received some shocking news this afternoon as Christy Holly has stepped down as the head coach of Sky Blue FC effective immediately. This announcement comes as a surprise to many as Sky Blue is still in the hunt for a playoff spot and were seemingly in a good place in their season to make that final push. Holly also released a statement on his Twitter account announcing that he had decided to step away from the team for unspecified reasons.
Holly's departure leaves Sky Blue in the lurch
While the news continues to reverberate across the league, many Sky Blue fans will want to know where the team goes from here. Sky Blue FC President and General Manager, Tony Novo, was keen to stress that the club would move forward with their goals to reach the playoffs even though Holly has decided to move on. Novo believes the team is in "great hands" with Jill Loyden, Dave Hodgson, Paul Grieg and Maria Dorris, who make up the rest of the Sky Blue coaching staff.
Novo also thanked Holly for what he had achieved with Sky Blue during his time there and wished him success in whatever Holly was looking to do next. After appointing Holly as the permanent head coach in 2016, the club's administration will look to see out the rest of the season with those coaches still at the club but after that, it remains to be seen as to who will stay on if a new coach is brought in. Either way, it's a blow to Sky Blue's chances at reaching the playoffs as they have lost the man at the helm at a critical stage in the season.
Holly never quite reached the heights of 2013 with the team
Christy Holly was initially brought to Sky Blue FC as the assistant coach for head coach, Jim Gabarra, in 2013 and was present to watch the team reach two playoffs in two consecutive seasons. Since then, Sky Blue has finished near the bottom of the table and after Gabarra's departure last year, Holly was promoted to the head coaching position. His final record with Sky Blue FC finishes at 35%, with seven wins, eight draws and five losses in 20 games with the club.
Before his time with Sky Blue in the NWSL, Holly was an assistant coach with Georgian Court University but left the position to become a full-time coach with Sky Blue. The New Jersey side never reached the playoffs again after 2014 and even with Holly at the helm, failed to find the consistency needed to make the playoffs each season. That's not to say Holly did not have some kind of impact on the team, as he helped them recover from a poor 2015 season last year, and this year has them just three points off of fourth place. Now the question is, will the Sky Blue FC players maintain the level they previously had under Holly, or will his departure cause them to falter. As for replacements, do not be surprised to see Christie Pearce's name being bandied about during the offseason as many feel that she is ready to step into a coaching role once she retires from professional soccer.
Quotes via Skybluefc.com