Mandy Freeman is preparing for her fifth season with Sky Blue FC. (Photo courtesy of Sky Blue FC)

HARRISON, N.J. – Sky Blue FC has signed defender Mandy Freeman to a new contract for the 2021 National Women’s Soccer League season, it was announced Friday.

Terms of the deal include a one-year contract with a second-year option.

“I am excited to be continuing my journey with Sky Blue,” Freeman said in a statement. “I feel that I have grown a lot over the past four years as a player and person, right alongside the growth of this Club. I am really looking forward to starting year five!”

Freeman joined Sky Blue after being drafted as the 10th overall pick in the 2017 NWSL college draft. During her rookie season, Freeman started 20 of her 21 appearances, playing over 1,800 minutes. During her first two years, Freeman made 41 starts and completed more than 78 percent of her passes while recording 136 clearances, 82 interceptions, and 29 blocks.

She suffered a torn right achilles during the 2019 preseason that caused her to miss the season. Freeman returned to the pitch in the 2020 NWSL Fall Series. She started all four matches and recorded nine clearances, three blocks, and three interceptions while completing more than 82 percent of her passes to anchor the backline.

“It was great to see Mandy return to the pitch this year,” Sky Blue FC head coach Freya Coombe said in a statement. “During the Fall Series, she demonstrated her fantastic ability to read the game and be an excellent distributor of the ball. She has worked incredibly hard to return from injury and has the attributes to be one of the league’s top center backs this year.”

Added general manager Alyse LaHue: “Mandy has had a long journey back from recovery, so to see her start to return to form with solid minutes this season was fantastic. We look forward to what she will bring in 2021.”

Sky Blue FC will begin pre-season Feb. 1, with the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup set to kick-off mid-April. The team is preparing for a 24-match season, beginning in mid-May.