July 19, 2010

Miettinen Out at Sky Blue; Stainton Becomes 5th Head Coach

Sky Blue head coach Pauliina Miettinen and assistant coach Anne Parnila have been relieved of their positions with the New Jersey club. Assistant coach Rick Stainton was named as Sky Blue's fifth head coach.

From the Sky Blue press release: “We respect Pauliina a great deal and appreciate the effort she put forth for our organization,” Sky Blue FC General Manager Gerry Marrone stated. “Her hard work and passion for the team and the game were never in question. Sometimes, a situation simply does not work out. That is part of the learning process involved when it comes to professional sports. We have to be resilient, as well as continue to adapt and grow.”

Stainton has experience coaching at all levels from high school through professional, including positions with Caldwell College, Rider University, and Seton Hall. He also served as goalkeeper coach for the New Jersey Wildcats of the W-League.

Under Miettinen, Sky Blue was in 3rd place with a 5-6-3 record and 18 points, but they have struggled lately, having been shut out in three consecutive matches. Just three weeks ago, Sky Blue had beaten Gold Pride on the road to move within five points of the league lead.

Ironically, Sky Blue had the exact same record after 14 matches last season and went on to win the championship. However, expectations were much higher this season after last season's accomplishments.

Injuries have plagued Sky Blue, losing both goalkeepers, including Jen Branam before the season even started and Karen Bardsley during All-Star training. Natasha Kai and Meghan Schnur have been hurt off and on throughout the season and Christie Rampone missed most of the first half of the season on maternity leave.

The dismissal of Miettinen means that there is currently no woman head coach in WPS. Emma Hayes had been dismissed earlier in the season as coach of the Chicago Red Stars.

Sky Blue travels to Philadelphia to play the Independence next Saturday in a battle for 2nd place.