In a series of tweets meant to excite fans of both Sky Blue FC and women’s soccer alike, the team announced the signing of forward Tasha Kai to the roster for the upcoming 2016 season.
"I am very happy to be back in New Jersey and part of Sky Blue FC again, not to mention playing alongside Christie Rampone like old times" Kai said in a statement released by the team on Feb. 11.
Kai, who hails from Kahuku, Hawaii, was allocated to Sky Blue FC in the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) league in 2009, where she played for two years. She was instrumental in helping the team win the WPS championship that year, scoring a goal in the quarterfinal against the Washington Freedom and serving up the game-winning assist in the championship match against the Los Angeles Sol.
Kai finished out the regular season with five goals and one assist in addition to those scored in the playoffs, and she racked up five goals in 19 appearances for the team in 2010.
"We are beyond excited to bring in a player of Tasha’s quality and proven track record. She is going to give us so many options on the field," head coach Christy Holly said. "What a great addition to what we are trying to achieve this season and beyond."
For over four years, Kai also played on the U.S. Women’s National Team, earning a spot on both the 2007 Women’s World Cup team, which finished in third place, and the 2008 Olympic gold-medal winning team. In those Summer Games, she was instrumental to the team’s success, scoring the game-winning goal in extra time of the quarterfinal match against Canada.
In her time with the senior national team, Kai appeared in 67 matches and scored 24 goals and 13 assists.
Before her stint with the national team, Kai was a star forward at the University of Hawaii. While there, Kai was named the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Player of the Year three times, becoming the first person ever to achieve that feat. She completed her college career with 72 goals in 73 matches and a total of 162 points, both totals ranking second best in WAC history.
"This is an exciting signing for both Sky Blue FC and the women’s game in general," Tony Novo, Sky Blue FC President & General Manager said. "We are very pleased to have Tasha coming back to New Jersey, and we know she will have a tremendous impact on our club, both on and off the field."
Of Sky Blue’s roster, Kai said, "I don’t think the fans are ready to see the captain of the ship [Rampone], two MAC Hermann Trophy winners [Kelley O’Hara and Raquel Rodriguez], one crazy Hawaiian and all of my teammates on the pitch together. 2016 will be an interesting year. Let the fun begin!"