HARRISON, N.J. – Sky Blue FC has signed Gina Lewandowski, the team’s 2020 defender of the year, to a new contract for next season, the National Women’s Soccer League club announced Tuesday.

Terms of the signing include a one-year contract with an option for a second year.

“I am excited to sign another year with Sky Blue FC,” Lewandowski said in a statement. “Everything about this Club and everyone involved made the decision to continue another year very easy for me. This Club has a vision and bright future and I want to be part of it any way I can. Since I have been with the Club, I have been able to grow as a person and player both on and off the pitch. I am grateful for the opportunity to keep playing close to home and continuing to build the game in the Tri-State area.”

Lewandowski was a crucial piece in Sky Blue’s semifinal 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup run, in which she played in all 540 minutes and helped lead secure two clean sheets in six matches. She recorded three blocks, 14 interceptions, and 25 clearances while completing more than 86 percent of her passes.

During the 2020 NWSL Fall Series, Lewandowski started two matches and made her presence felt on defense with three interceptions and six clearances. She once again posted a passing accuracy rate, completing 90 percent of her 134 passes

“Gina brought a wealth of experience and was a big contributor to the success of Sky Blue at the Challenge Cup,” head coach Freya Coombe said in a statement. “The high level of professionalism she possesses was a key factor in her being available to play every minute of the tournament. Having experienced players like Gina in the locker room is important as we continue to develop young talent at the club.”

Before joining Sky Blue in 2019, Lewandowski won a treble (Bundesliga, German Cup, UEFA Women’s Cup/Champions League) with FFC Frankfurt in the 2007-08 season. Lewandowski later joined German powerhouse Bayern Munich in 2012. With Bayern, Lewandowski made 119 appearances and scored 18 goals while winning the Bundesliga in 2015 and 2016.

“Gina spent a tremendous amount of time in the off-season working herself back from injury to be ready to play this year,” general manager Alyse LaHue said in a statement. “Her performance and durability during the Cup were a great testament to that and we’re grateful to have her back another season for the efforts she brings both on and off the pitch.”

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