Ahead of its Saturday match-up against the Washington Spirit, Sky Blue FC announced Friday that it had signed three players to national team replacement contracts.
They were midfielder Eliza Bona, defender Gabby Cuevas and midfielder Nickolette Driesse.
Bona, 24, finished her collegiate career in 2016 as one of the most decorated players in Central Michigan University history. The Ann Arbor, Mich. native was the first CMU player to earn National Soccer Coaches Association of America first team All Region accolades. The three-year captain suited up for CMU on 79 occasions, registering 26 points on nine goals and eight assists. Bona played with the Colorado Pride of United Women’s Soccer in 2018. She also served as an assistant coach to then Mount St. Mary’s University head coach and current Sky Blue FC assistant coach Joe Nemzer in 2017.
Cuevas, 25, began her college career at the University of Connecticut before heading to the Jersey Shore to play for Monmouth University over her final two years of eligibility. While suiting up for UConn, the Wayne, N.J. native made 31 starts over 38 appearances. In her first year, she suffered a season-ending injury before starting all 20 games during the 2013 campaign. She then started four matches in 2014, but she again fell victim to injury and was sidelined for the rest of the year. During her 2015 season, she had six starts in 13 matches before making the move to Monmouth in 2016. During her two red shirt years at Monmouth, she recorded four goals and one assist while helping the Hawks to 17 shutouts, earning MAAC Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2017. Currently, Cuevas serves as a volunteer assistant coach at Monmouth.
Driesse, 23, most recently played in the National Women’s Soccer League for the Orlando Pride in 2017. The Wayne, N.J. native competed at Sky Blue FC academy partner PDA as a youth player before heading to Florida State University in 2013. She played in 48 matches for the Seminoles, tallying one goal and eight assists over two seasons. Additionally, she competed in back-to-back NCAA Women’s College Cup Finals, helping Florida State win the NCAA Division I crown in 2014. Driesse transferred to Penn State University the following year, where she joined Sky Blue FC midfielder Raquel Rodriguez in Happy Valley. She recorded four goals and six assists as a junior as the Nittany Lions eventually won the 2015 NCAA title. It was her third consecutive appearance in the title game, and her second straight national championship. Driesse finished off her college career in 2016 with one goal and six assists at Penn State, receiving All Big Ten first team honors.
Sky Blue FC continues its four-game road stretch Saturday against the Washington Spirit before returning home to Yurcak Field for its season finale on Saturday, Sept. 8, hosting the Orlando Pride for a noon kickoff.