Sky Blue FC announced today that head coach Christy Holly had stepped down, effective immediately. Although no reason for Holly’s departure was given, his decision to leave the position was mutually agreed upon between him and the club, per the team’s official statement. No interim head coach has been named at this time.
“At this point in my life I have made the decision to step aside from coaching this exceptional group of players. While I look forward to what is next for me, I will always look fondly on my time at Sky Blue and the opportunity to work with the players and the entire organization,” Holly said in a statement posted to social media.
The Derry, Ireland native was in his second year at the helm of the New Jersey-based NWSL club after serving as an assistant coach to Jim Gabarra in previous seasons. Holly was hired as Gabarra’s successor in January 2016, just days before the NWSL College Draft in which he drafted the 2016 NWSL Rookie of the Year, Raquel Rodriguez, and three other players (Erica Skroski, Leah Galton, and Caroline Casey) who are all still with the club.
He then led the team to a 7-8-5 record, resulting in a middle of the table finish, a result that was not quite disappointing considering the youth and inexperience of a majority of the team. Sky Blue also surprised many fans around the league by becoming a serious playoff contender during the summer months, but they were unable to finish as strong and did not advance to postseason play.
“First and foremost, we want to thank Christy Holly for everything he has done for Sky Blue FC,” said Tony Novo, Sky Blue FC President & General Manager, in the team’s statement. “From the first day he came to our club as an assistant coach, Christy has always been committed to Sky Blue FC, and we wish him nothing but the greatest of successes in whatever he chooses to do going forward. That said, we know that Sky Blue FC remains in great hands with Jill Loyden, Dave Hodgson, Paul Greig and Maria Dorris as we approach the remainder of the regular season with a full ambition of reaching the NWSL Playoffs.”
Sky Blue currently sits in sixth place with a 7-9-2 record. They next take the field on Saturday, August 19 when they face off against the visiting Seattle Reign FC at Yurcak Field.
Holly’s full statement is below.