Less than 24 hours before the 2019 NWSL Draft, Sky Blue FC announced on Wednesday that they had traded forward Katie Johnson to Chicago Red Stars in return for the No. 6 overall pick in Thursday’s draft and the highest second-round pick in 2020.
The Mexican international played only one season with Sky Blue after being traded from Seattle Reign FC in a deal that included defender Rebekah Stott. In her singular season in New Jersey, Johnson tied for team lead in goals with four, recorded two assists, and made 19 total appearances.
Her most memorable performance of the year was a second-half brace scored in Sky Blue’s 3-2 home loss to the Houston Dash.
Last Friday The Equalizer’s Dan Lauletta reported on Twitter that Johnson was said to be contemplating a move to Europe after receiving at least one offer to play in England.
That lone tweet sparked a bit of an internet frenzy, with Sky Blue fans voicing their discontent at the team’s horrible playing conditions motivating many players to leave Sky Blue for greener pastures, while fans and journalists elsewhere in the league—most notably Chicago—expressed their desire to see a trade to bring Johnson to their team.
RE: Katie Johnson - all speculation, but, would like to believe that a deal between Chi/SBFC could be reached as 1 team will need another scoring option during WC, and another will need more draft picks to literally build a roster since players probably won't stop leaving.#NWSL— Sandra (@SandHerrera_) January 4, 2019
Johnson is now the third member of the 2018 Sky Blue roster to depart the team. Klepp Elite of Norway’s Topsserien league announced on November 14 that defender Amanda Frisbie had signed with the club, while New Zealand Football announced on November 19 that Stott had signed with Norway’s Avaldsnes.
That’s in addition to Janine Beckie, Micheala Abam, and Thaisa Morena, all of whom left Sky Blue for European clubs during the 2018 NWSL season.