It's Black Friday and the official start of the holiday shopping marathon. (Ok, Ok. I know for some it actually started just as the Thanksgiving table was cleared)
Good luck to everyone, but especially Sky Blue FC, who need to get an early Christmas present by getting a new coach.
It's been nearly six weeks since the club parted ways with coach and technical director Jim Gabarra, who, as predicted, accepted the coach's job with the Washington Spirit. The move was the last one in a National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) coaching carousel. Boston, Washington and Portland all swapped coaches but leaving the Sky Blue the lone club in the league without a boss.
And this came during a frantic, busier-than-ever-before off-season that included blockbuster trades with US national team players and a full expansion draft to stock the new Orlando franchise.
Sky Blue FC says there's no timetable established on naming a new coach. But time is quickly becoming of the essence. Right now, there's three names out there.
Once is assistant coach Christy Holly, who is probably most likely to get the job. Club official said he will have more of a role in player personnel and assumedly was instrumental in developing the team's protected player's list leading up to the expansion draft. Holly has also been the one quoted in press releases during the off-season.
An Irish native, Holly joined the Sky Blue staff this season but was previously assistant coach at Georgian Court College in Lakewood. He also was an assistant for Sky Blue FC's reserve team for two seasons.
A few other names have popped up regarding the open coaching job.
One is Paul Riley, who was let go by Portland Thorns after seasons end. He coached the Thorns for two seasons, which included a playoff berth in 2014. The team finished with a losing record and out of the playoffs in 2015, leading to his firing.
An English native, Riley does have ties to the East Coast. He coached at CW Post in New York for six years and coached both men and women's sides in Long Island for most of the 2000s. He also coached Philadelphia in the defunct Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) league.
The third name being mentioned is player and captain Christie Rampone. All actions indicate Rampone is serious about continuing her playing career for at least one more year in the NWSL. She's the coaching experience once before with outstanding results. In Sky Blue's inaugural WPS season, she became player-coach with a third of the season left and led Sky Blue to the final and championship. It was later revealed she was three months pregnant at the time.
Rampone's leadership is unquestionable. She's Captain America with the US Women's National Team and she's been captain of Sky Blue since day one. She would also offer the rare women's touch in a league heavy on male coaching.
It's been so quiet on the Sky Blue FC front, it's hard to pick if there's a front runner. Personally, I would like to see what Rampone would do. It would be a wonderful first step into a potentially new career for her. Her natural leadership abilities and vision of what the game should like would serve her well.
And although there's no official timetable, a new coach should be named soon to begin the assessment for potential picks in January's college draft.
Hopefully, the new coach will be delivered in time for Christmas.