Allie Long: “Playing at the Rutgers stadium is doing a disservice to the growth of the league and the players playing. Don’t get me wrong the grass field is great. Everything else is wrong. I’m ecstatic to be able to shower at the stadium after a game.” (Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)
By Michael Lewis
Allie Long has played at Red Bull Arena before, with the U.S. women’s national team, but Sunday’s game will be a special match for the Northport, N.Y. native.
It will be the first time she will perform in a National Women’s Soccer League contest at the Harrison, N.J. stadium.
For the first time, Sky Blue FC has switched a home game from Yurcak Field to the Red Bulls’ home venue.
“I don’t think there is one player across the entire league who isn’t very happy about this decision,” Long said in a recent internet interview. “We have all been waiting for Sky Blue FC and Red Bulls to work together to raise the standards and provide the best environment for teams, coaches and fans.”
Long, a member of the U.S. squad that captured the Women’s World Cup in France last month, loves RBA.
“The Red Bulls’ stadium is one of the best pitches I have played on in the U.S.,” she said. “To finally have the opportunity to play there in the NWSL is a testament to the growth of the women’s game.
“It also is enabling Sky Blue to maximize the experience for the fans to want to come back and watch again. Playing at the Rutgers stadium is doing a disservice to the growth of the league and the players playing. Don’t get me wrong the grass field is great. Everything else is wrong. I’m ecstatic to be able to shower at the stadium after a game.”
Yurcak doesn’t have showers for players.
Reign FC (7-4-5, 26 points) is in fourth place while Sky Blue FC (3-11-3, 12) moved out of the NWSL basement with its 2-1 home win over the Chicago Red Stars Wednesday, past the Orlando Pride (3-10-2, 8).