NJ Politics Digest: Soccer Star Gives Governor’s Team the Boot

Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan (1) celebrates with her teammates after making a game saving PK save during the NWSL soccer match between the Orlando Pride and New Jersey Sky Blue FC on August 5th, 2018.
Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan (1) celebrates with her teammates after making a game saving PK save during the NWSL soccer match between the Orlando Pride and New Jersey Sky Blue FC on August 5th, 2018. Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Just about every athlete dreams of playing in front of a hometown crowd. But, as New Jersey Advance Media reports, a New Jersey soccer star has decided she’d rather go to Europe than be drafted by a professional soccer team owned by Gov. Phil Murphy.

Julia Ashley, who was a high school star in Verona, made it clear she didn’t want Murphy’s team, Sky Blue FC, to pick her in the National Women’s Soccer League Draft. But they picked her. And Murphy himself apparently made a hard sell push for her to play during a phone call with Ashley and her manager, according to the report.

Murphy has already been criticized for conditions faced by Sky Blue players, a team that a Sports Illustrated reporter called a disgrace. As the New Jersey Advance report points out, team players have complained about poor housing and living conditions, bad facilities and difficulty getting expenses paid.

To avoid playing for Sky Blue, Ashley is moving to Sweden to play for a professional team there.
Sky Blue officials have said that a lot of the reports about bad conditions were not true, and that they were also working to make improvements, according to the report. But Ashley’s agent told NJ Advance that it is hard to believe the club will make changes now after failing to do so for so long.

Ashley, the report says, is still hoping Sky Blue trades her. If not, she’s prepared to play in Sweden.

Quote of the Day: “If you are going to be infuriated by Trump, if you are going to be infuriated by Harvey Weinstein, if you are going to be infuriated by [Brett] Kavanaugh, then you have to honestly ask yourself what you do when it comes to you,” — Katie Brennan, a former volunteer for Gov. Phil Murphy’s campaign, on the Murphy administration’s failures in handling of her allegations she was raped by a member of Murphy’s campaign staff.

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