It’s been more than a month since reports first surfaced in The Equalizer and Once A Metro about the abysmal training, living, and traveling conditions endured by players at Sky Blue FC, a pro women’s soccer team based in New Jersey that competes in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).
At the time, owners of the club — including majority owner and state Governor Phil Murphy (D-NJ), and minority owner Steven Tamares, CEO of retail giant Bed Bath & Beyond — acknowledged the conditions were “not acceptable,” and that the players “deserve better,” while insisting management must “improve” the situation. (Murphy has a daughter, after all! He cares!)
Four weeks later and — spoiler alert! —nothing much has changed.
According to a statement released on Monday by Cloud 9, the official fan club of Sky Blue FC, the players still do not have running water at their training facility — the only usable bathrooms are porta-potties, and the only shower is located in an old trailer that was parked near the facility right after the conditions became public. Remember, this was initially presented as a temporary solution.
“A month later and the trailer is still there, with little hope that the front office will come through on their promise of adequate facilities,” Cloud 9 said in its statement.
— Cloud 9 (@Cloud9SBFC) August 20, 2018
This means that Carli Lloyd, one of the best soccer players in the world, 2015 World Cup Hero, is using a porta potty if she needs to go to the bathroom during practice. Every single day. And if she wants to take an ice bath to help with recovery — a reasonable request for world class athlete who wants to keep her body healthy for next year’s World Cup — well, they put a bunch of ice into a trash can, and she hops in. Yes, a trash can.
ThinkProgress reached out to Sky Blue for comment, but have not heard back at the time of publication.
— Allison Lee (@allibecc) July 18, 2018
Due to the lack of progress over the last month, Cloud 9 is now publicly calling for the resignation or firing of Tony Novo, the President and General Manager of Sky Blue FC. As it is, this is only a part-time job for Novo.
“This is not a hit piece on Tony, where we think he’s a bad person. He’s always treated us well,”Jen Muller, a Cloud 9 leader, told ThinkProgress. “But this is all about the players. Without them, we have no team to support. It’s depressing having to cheer for these players every game knowing how bad things are for them. So we’re doing this exclusively for them, because when players don’t want to come here, what do we have left? Who is going to want to stay here? Who is going to want to come here?”
Indeed, the future of the organization is on the line, and right now, it looks bleak. The fact that the entire Sky Blue organization — not to mention the NWSL and USA Soccer, which owns the league — didn’t leap into action the second these reports surfaced last month is a devastating indictment about their intentions. And it’s clearly hurting the team’s performance, too.
Nobody is asking for five-star accommodations. They just want to be able to flush the toilet. Is that really too much to ask?