Sky Blue FC makes blockbuster trade, acquires Aluko, Kerr, and Heath
Sky Blue FC of Women’s Professional Soccer continues to make offseason moves, and Friday announced one of the biggest trades in WPS history. They acquired English international forward Eniola Aluko, midfielder Angie Kerr, and last year’s No. 1 overall pick, midfielder Tobin Heath, all from the Atlanta Beat in exchange for Sky Blue FC’s two first-round draft picks in the 2011 WPS Draft, as well as future considerations. Thursday, Sky Blue FC inked English international defender Anita Asante, and prior to that signed midfielders Allie Long and Carolyn Blank.
“Credit for this has to go to Jim (Gabarra) and our owners,” Sky Blue FC general manager Gerry Marrone said Friday morning. “Jim worked tirelessly for us. When an opportunity like this comes up, you have to take a hard look at it. Our ownership (group) is 100 percent committed to this league.”
Aluko has scored 15 goals in her two seasons in the WPS with Saint Louis and Atlanta combined. She has 36 starts in 39 games.
“For two years, we’ve struggled scoring goals. She (Aluko) is a proven goal-scorer in the league,” Marrone said. “She’s a student of the game. More than anything, she’s proven. That’s huge for us. By putting her on this team, it takes the pressure off (other players).”
Heath, who missed most of last year due to injury, starred at the University of North Carolina and helped lead the Tar Heels to three NCAA College Cup titles. Kerr started 18 games for Saint Louis in 2009 and started 19 of 22 games for the Beat in 2010.
Sky Blue FC now has 15 signed players, while Atlanta is all but decimated, having lost Aluko, Kerr, and Heath to Sky Blue FC, and Thursday, Beat midfielder McCall Zerboni signed with the Western New York Flash. The Beat now have 11 unsigned free agents and only four players under contract on their roster.