February 26, 2013
A HELPING HAND
Van Bennekom Sky Blue assistant coach
MORRISTOWN, N.J. - Sky Blue FC has named Erwin van Bennekom assistant coach.
Van Bennekom will concurrently serve as the head coach of the WPSL Elite team. the Jersey Blues FC (now known as the Jersey Sky Blues), which will operate as the official reserve club for Sky Blue FC.
"Within the structure for any professional soccer team, you must have continuity on your staff," Sky Blue head coach Jim Gabarra said. "Having Erwin as my assistant while also serving as the head coach of our reserve team will provide us with the type of continuity that we need to be successful. I am looking forward to working with him at Sky Blue FC."
Van Bennekom has spent the previous two seasons in the Women's Premier Soccer League as the head coach for the Jersey Select and New Jersey Blaze. He also serves as an assistant coach for the women's program at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and he has also performed coaching duties for various teams aligned with the STA Youth Soccer Club.
The Netherlands native began coaching in Europe, earning his UEFA B and C Licenses while also achieving various coaching diplomas since moving to the United States seven years ago. He also brings professional playing experience to Sky Blue FC in both futsal and soccer.
"I am thrilled to join the Sky Blue FC organization and to start working alongside Jim Gabarra," van Bennekom said. "The opportunity to work with some of the best players in the world is an honor and something I've been aspiring towards for several years. I can't wait to get started on the field and help continuing the growth of Sky Blue FC and the National Women's Soccer League."
With van Bennekom on board as assistant coach, Sky Blue FC put into motion its partnership with Jersey Blues FC, which is part of the New Jersey Soccer Group.
"This partnership is a terrific endeavor for both organizations," said Thomas Hofstetter, president and CEO of Sky Blue FC. "Sky Blue FC is very excited to have Jersey Blues as our reserve team in 2013. The reserve team is an extremely important component for our professional team."
Under the partnership, players from the Jersey Sky Blues will train with Sky Blue FC, and the opportunity to earn a roster spot is also available to those players. Gabarra said that the competitive environment that will be created will be beneficial to players from both clubs.
"Player development is critical to the overall success of a club," he said. "We are committed to the development of players within our market, and we look forward to the promotion of players from Jersey Blues to Sky Blue FC."
Sky Blue FC will kick off its National Women's Soccer League season, hosting the Western New York Flash at Yurcak Field at Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J. on April 14.