Sky Blue FC hires Miettinen as head coach
SOMERSET, N.J. -- Maybe the newest coach of Sky Blue FC will stick around.
Former Finnish national team player Pauliina Miettinen was announced Tuesday by Sky Blue, the fourth coach for the franchise that won the inaugural Women's Professional Soccer title.
U.S. national team captain Christie Rampone served as player-coach as the New Jersey-based franchise qualified for the playoffs and advanced through the postseason. With a baby due in March, she probably won't return to the field as a player until June.
Miettinen had coached in the Finnish Premier League. She also worked at Florida State when the Seminoles reached the 2005 NCAA semifinals.
Sky Blue fired its first coach, Ian Sawyers, in May. Replacement Kelly Lindsey abruptly resigned late in the regular season.
"After I visited New Jersey and the Sky Blue FC organization, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to be a part of this family," Miettinen said. "I am looking forward to coaching these dynamic athletes, and to working hard to prepare for the 2010 season and ensure the success of this team in the world's most competitive women's soccer league."
Miettinen was an assistant at Franklin Pierce College in 1999, helping her alma mater to its fourth national championship in five years. The Finnish native then joined the coaching staff at Barry University in Miami Shores, Fla., in 2001, where she assisted the soccer program to three consecutive NSCAA Top 11 finishes. She then became an assistant at Florida State in 2005 and helped the Seminoles to the NCAA semifinals.
"We decided our goal was to have a female coach since we are a female team in a female league," general manager Gerry Marrone said. "Pauliina is an experienced player at the highest level. Her successful versatility as a player is matched by her ability as a coach, having had success at both the American collegiate level and internationally in Finland. What's more, she is a great communicator with a dynamic personality, supplemented by her training in psychology."
Rampone called Miettinen a wonderful person who comes highly recommended.
"Pauliina will bring a new style and flavor from her experiences as an elite player and coach in Finland, and I look forward to assisting her with knowledge of the league and our team," Rampone said. "The Sky Blue FC players adjust well, and I know we will achieve success together."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press