Sky Blue Rookies Evelyne Viens and Jennifer Cudjoe Make NWSL Debuts in First Challenge Cup Match

By: Shannon Duffy

Recent Sky Blue additions Evelyne Viens and Jennifer Cudjoe both played in their first career National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) game Tuesday night against OL Reign. 

In the 60th minute, midfielder Jennifer Cudjoe entered the match for Domi Richardson. Cudjoe helped shut down the Reign’s attack, as she gained five possessions and won 62.5% of her duels, the second-highest percentage on the team. On the other side of the ball, Cudjoe completed all 13 of her passes, helping the team maintain possession in what was a very tight match. The Sky Blue newcomer signed with the team after impressing the coaches in open tryouts. After a solid performance Tuesday night, Cudjoe will likely be impressing many more people in the league throughout the tournament.

“I feel extremely amazing to be able to play my first ever professional game and also getting the minutes and playing with my teammates,” said Cudjoe following Tuesday’s match. “It’s been an incredible journey for me and it was really, really special. The NWSL has been one of the top leagues in the world and also the toughest league to play in. It’s a learning process and there is still more room for me to grow and adapt to the play.”

Sky Blue forward Evelyne Viens entered the match in the 77th minute, replacing Ifeoma Onumonu. She immediately brought energy to the attack, as she made a few darting runs into the final third. Sky Blue picked Viens fifth overall in the 2020 NWSL Draft because of her ability to create offensive opportunities, which is something fans can look forward to seeing on display throughout the rest of the tournament.

“I think it was great to just get in and get a chance to help the team get a tie,” said Viens following the match. “We had a good amount of preseason and just being able to step on the field and get those first minutes of professional was a great experience and I’m so happy I got to do it with Sky Blue.”

“You need to do everything a second faster, so that’s a major difference,” said Viens of the speed of play difference between the college game and the pros. “Of course everyone is a great athlete here, so you need to be strong and just be able to compete.”

The journey continues for Cudjoe, Viens, and the rest of Sky Blue later today at 12:30 p.m. ET as the team faces off against the Utah Royals. Fans in the U.S. and Canada can watch the match on CBS All Access while international fans can see the action live on Twitch.