The troubled professional women’s soccer team owned by Gov. Phil Murphy has replaced their general manager one week before the start of the season, the team announced today.
The move comes as First Lady Tammy Murphy has stepped up to take a more active role in the day-to-day management of the team.
Tony Novo, the president and general manager of Sky Blue FC, is returning to his job as a residential mortgage lender. He is being replaced on an interim basis by Alyse LaHue, a veteran sports executive.
Tony has been an integral part of the growth of Sky Blue and we appreciate his dedication to the team and the sport,” said Tammy Murphy. “For the past 6 1/2 years, he has been a passionate supporter of professional women’s soccer and has worked tirelessly to get the team to where it is today. We are grateful for his time with Sky Blue and wish him well in his future endeavors.”
In January, Gov. Murphy called attention to attention to his continued involvement in the operations of the team when he tried and failed to convince Julia Ashley, the first-round pick in the 2019 National Women’s Soccer League college draft, to play to play for his team.
Following published reports last July that Sky Blue players were living in housing that used plastic bags as windows, lacked shower space, and were slow to get reimbursed for medical bills, Murphy accepted responsibility – “the buck stops with me” – and said he had spoken to his partner and was working to fix the problems.
Ashley reportedly cited shoddy player conditions as the reason why she would not sign with Murphy’s team and would instead play in Sweden.
Sky Blue’s season against the Washington Spirit will be played on April 13. The home opener will be played on April 20 against the Houston Dash at Rutgers’ Yurcak Field.