Sky Blue FC forward Maya Hayes has notified the club that she will sit out the 2018 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season in order to pursue her Master's Degree.
“This was a really hard decision to make," said Hayes in a team press release. "After taking a lot of time to think and talk with friends and family, it just seemed like the timing was right to switch gears a little bit.”
“Getting my Master’s is something that I have been wanting to do for a long time. Some good opportunities arose for me, and I ultimately decided to take advantage of them. Obviously, I am going to miss Sky Blue FC a lot, but I want to wish the team and organization all the best. The future is still open, so I definitely do not want to call this an official retirement.”
Hayes has played for Sky Blue FC since being drafted no. 6 overall by the organization in the 2014 NWSL College Draft. In four seasons with the club, the New Jersey native scored nine goals and six assists in 74 appearances, earning 44 starts in that span. In 2017, Hayes had her most dominate statistical season in her professional career, scoring a team second-best five goals and adding four assists.
Thanks to @SkyBlueFC for fulfilling a little girl's dream of one day becoming a professional soccer player! I'll miss you all and wish you guys nothing but the best this season! It's not goodbye.. it's see ya later! #beezUP https://t.co/oXjzLe6oev— Maya Hayes (@Hayzee11) February 17, 2018
“On behalf of everybody at Sky Blue FC, we want to wish Maya all the best as she enters this exciting new chapter of her professional life,” said Tony Novo, Sky Blue FC President & General Manager. “We cannot thank Maya enough for her contributions over the past four seasons. Needless to say, we would love to see her put on the boots again in the future if she feels the timing is right. We know she will remain a strong supporter of Sky Blue FC on the field, and her work ethic will certainly lead her to continued success back in the classroom.”
Hayes is one of the most decorated players in Penn State women's soccer history. She was named a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist for three consecutive years, including her being a finalist in 2011. Hayes was a three-time NSCAA All-American, a three-time first team All-Big Ten selection, and the Big Ten Forward of the Year in 2011 and 2012. She finished her collegiate career with 71 career goals, the third most in program history, and is also ranked third in career points with 163.
On the international front, the former U.S. U-23 WNT player was a member of a U.S. side that won the 2012 FIFA Women’s U-20 World Cup, as well as the 2010 and 2012 CONCACAF U20 Women’s Championship.