On the eve of her departure from her native Finland and to the shores of the East Coast and New Jersey, Sky Blue FC had a chance to catch up with Head Coach Pauliina Miettinen.
Q: How is it going with your player acquisitions and preparation for the draft?
A: I think it is going very well. We're just about done with internationals, and we're preparing for the (college) draft. I'm excited for both the draft and the Open Tryouts, and to get the best we can. I believe we need the best possible 22 players, and that includes developmental, and for all of them to be high quality.
Q: What is process of building a team like?
A: Because I'm currently in Europe, I've had more activity here, and less contact on the U.S. side. Here in Europe, I've seen as many national team games as I can. I travel to Sweden and Iceland to see teams train. It's a lot of traveling.
And that's exciting—always to see players in a new environment, and in different leagues. My U.S. connection will be increasing when I move there next week. Then, I'll place all my efforts there. I feel all the international players and issues need to be settled before I leave though.
Q: What are, in fact, the advantages or disadvantages of being in Europe?
A: I think it's an advantage to be here. A lot of countries are very close together. It is easy to fly, or drive, to see a game. I can talk to a lot of players, and talk to others about them and their personalities. A lot of Finns are playing in Norway and Sweden, and I get a lot of insight and help from them.
Q: So you see them in the game, and then you further "network" to research them?
A: Yes, you talk a lot, and not only about them playing-wise. And you also want to know about their play over the long term. You might see them once or twice, say in the Euros (Championships). In that time, they may have a good or bad game. You also want to talk to others about how they play on a regular basis. I also want to know what they are really like, day-to-day, and also about their personality.
Q: What would you say to those players eligible for the team's open tryouts in December?
A: If I were at this stage of my career, and hoping to play in a pro league, it's a one-time possibility, and a chance of a lifetime. A player can really be sharp one or two times, such as in these tryouts, and that might be enough to convince a coach.
She might play very well and be successful. And this is also a chance to play against the competition you've always wanted to.
It's a chance for the players to shine at the right time. For those who are ready, it's a great time to be a star and make their dream come true.
I just hope were going to see the best people at the tryouts. If your dream is still alive, give us a chance to see you play. You're not going to get seen if you don't show up! I want to see a lot of people, and see how many of them want to put their whole heart into it.
Q: What will you do first when you get here?
A: After I settle in, I'll be traveling to Texas for the women's college Final Four. I love watching the top teams play. It's been interesting following the college results. I've seen the tournaments and other games online. Then, we are on to the open tryouts, the WinterFest and all the other clinics and activities. I'm anxious to get to work!
OPEN TRYOUTS: Sky Blue FC recently announced a pair of open tryouts that will take place on December 15-16th and January 5-6th at Robbinsville Field House at 153 Manor Way in Robbinsville, New Jersey. Registration for each player combine is $75 and must be paid through the Sky Blue FC online registration that is listed below.
The registration deadline for the December tryout is Thursday, December 10th, and the deadline for the January combine is Tuesday, December 29th. Hotel and additional information is also available on the online registration page.
December 15-16: Click here to register! January 5-6: Click here to register!
Each session of the open tryouts will run from 1-5:30 pm, and the combines will include both tactical and technical training that will be led by the Sky Blue FC coaching staff. Players must arrive game-ready (cleats, no screw-ins) and be prepared to participate on both days of their respective combine.
ABOUT SKY BLUE FC
Operated by Sky Blue Soccer, Sky Blue FC is the New Jersey/New York franchise in Women's Professional Soccer. In 2009, Sky Blue FC captured the inaugural WPS Championship presented by MedImmune with an inspirational run through the playoffs.
Sky Blue FC plays its home matches at Yurcak Field on the campus of Rutgers University in Piscataway, New Jersey. For season ticket information, visit www.SkyBlueFC.com
ABOUT WOMEN'S PROFESSIONAL SOCCER (WPS)
Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) is the premier women's soccer league in the world and the global standard by which women's professional sports are measured. The Inaugural Season kicked off in March 2009 with seven WPS teams based in the Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Jersey/New York, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C.
The league's eighth and ninth franchises, Philadelphia and Atlanta, will begin play in the 2010 WPS Season, which kicks-off March 2010. For more information and tickets, visit www.womensprosoccer.com.