NWSL Weekend: Sky Blue FC acquires McCall Zerboni, re-signs Sarah Killion

McCall Zerboni NWSL
CARY, NC — OCTOBER 27: McCall Zerboni #7 of the North Carolina Courage in the pre-game huddle during a game between Chicago Red Stars and North Carolina Courage at Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park on October 27, 2019 in Cary, North Carolina. The North Carolina Courage defeated the Chicago Red Stars 4-0 to win the 2019 NWSL Championship. (Photo by Andy Mead/ISI Photos/Getty Images).

Howell, New Jersey — McCall Zerboni has been in the National Women’s Soccer League for a plentiful number of years. When she landed in North Carolina, when the Western New York Flash folded and became the NC Courage, it looked like she found her landing spot.

However, after a busy week of NWSL trades and signings, Friday provided one more, with Zerboni’s name on it. Sky Blue FC traded with the Courage to acquire Zerboni, a veteran of the league. In return, Sky Blue traded the rights to Hailie Mace, who has been in Europe, to North Carolina.

Zerboni comes to New Jersey after a slow 2019 season. She finished the season with another NWSL Championship trophy in her hands, but also returned from an elbow injury. Zerboni featured in 24 matches, totaling 1,716 minutes and providing only one assist. She did not score any goals last season.

However, despite the lack of numbers, Zerboni provides a veteran leadership. This season will be her eighth season in the NWSL.

“We are ecstatic to welcome McCall to Sky Blue,” Freya Coombe, Sky Blue head coach, said. “She’s a highly decorated player in the league who adds quality and experience to our midfield. As a proven winner, we know she has the right mentality to help us succeed.”

Meanwhile. Zerboni’s former coach, Paul Riley, raved about her. Riley called Zerboni “irreplaceable” and one of the great players and humans he’s had the pleasure of coaching and knowing.

“She has left a footprint and a legacy in our club that will live forever,” Riley said. “She’s a warrior, a thoroughbred and a real footballer. She will be fantastic for Sky Blue and we wish McCall a tremendous future in the sport she has done so much to build.”

Hailie Mace heads to North Carolina

On the other side of the Zerboni trade is Mace.

Riley said that he’s looking forward to her arrival in North Carolina, saying that she’ll be a revelation. Mace featured collegiately for the University of California, Los Angeles, where she featured for four seasons. She scored 25 goals in 79 matches, while also providing 12 assists.

After being drafted by Sky Blue in 2019, Mace signed with Melbourne City in Australia. Then, she made her way to Europe, signing with FC Rosengard in Sweden. Mace scored four goals in 16 appearances, while also recording two assists.

“She has a ton of ability and tools,” Riley said. “She will love the culture and training environment. I sincerely believe she has the raw talent to be a regular on the USWNT. Hailie has pace, athleticism, intelligence and is very talented on the ball. She’s coming to a team that will get the best out of her and the competitiveness of the squad will be huge in her ability to improve and develop all facets of her game.”

Mace has three appearances for the U.S. Women’s National Team.

Sky Blue re-signs co-captain Killion

Sky Blue picked up with more news on Monday afternoon. The club announced the re-signing of co-captain and midfielder Sarah Killion.

Killion has been with Sky Blue FC since 2015, when she was drafted. She reached the 100 regular-season appearance mark this past season at Red Bull Arena. Killion featured every single minute of action for Sky Blue in 2019, recording one goal and three assists. She was voted as the team’s Unsung Hero of the Year by her teammates.

Overall, Killion holds 106 Sky Blue appearances to her name. She has featured for the club for a total of 9,164 minutes, with a potential chance to reach the 10,000-minute mark this season. Throughout her career, she has scored 11 goals and recorded nine assists.

“I feel so excited to be back for another year with Sky Blue,” Killion said. “The momentum that we developed over the second half of last season is going to carry over this year. I love this group of girls and playing at Red Bull Arena is going to bring a new identity and a new energy to our team. I believe in this group and can’t wait to support this club in any way that I can!”

Alyse LaHue, Sky Blue general manager, called Killion a quintessential part of Sky Blue.

“She is one of our team leaders who has quietly become one of the most important players in this league, so having her continue in this role during a historic season for this club is tremendous,” LaHue said.

Killion does not have any senior USWNT appearances. However, she was called into December’s Identification Camp by head coach Vlatko Andonovski.

Nikki Stanton heading to Norway

Nikki Stanton is leaving Chicago.

The midfielder is leaving the NWSL and the Red Stars and heading to Norway. Stanton announced on her own Instagram page that she signed with Klepp Elite. In Chicago, Stanton made 40 appearances with the Red Stars. She did not score or provide any assists as a Red Star.

“I want to thank all of Chicago for the last two years,” Stanton said. “It’s been an absolute blast. I’ve made life long friends and unforgettable memories. Shoutout to Chicago for being the best fans to play in front of. It was an honor representing this city and club.”

Before coming to Chicago, Stanton featured for Sky Blue FC. She made 41 appearances for the New Jersey club. Stanton has also featured in Australia’s W-League in previous seasons, for Perth Glory.

 

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