The Wellington Phoenix have secured a key member of the Canterbury United Pride side that won six national titles in the past decade.
Canterbury centre back Rebecca Lake has signed on with the Phoenix for the 2023-24 Liberty A-League.
Lake, 24, has played for the Pride since 2014 and in 2020 captained the three-peat winning side, which featured Phoenix regulars Kate Taylor, Alyssa Whinham and Marisa van der Meer, and Football Ferns Annalie Longo and Gabi Rennie.
“I love the Pride and I’ve loved playing beside all of them,” Lake said. “I look up to them now, so it’ll be awesome to be playing alongside some of them again.
“I think this is the next step for me. I’ve watched a lot of A-League games over the past couple of seasons and I was like ‘I want to be a part of that’.
“Some of my really good football mates play for the Phoenix and it seems right to play for New Zealand’s only professional women’s team.
“I want to give professional football a shot and see what I can do.”
The proud Cantabrian is currently playing for Northern Tigers in the New South Wales National Premier Leagues (NPL) first grade competition after making the move to Sydney earlier this year, and has been named in the NSW NPL team of the week twice this season.
“I’ve lived in Christchurch most of my life and I’ve loved playing with the girls there, but I just felt like I needed to do something different this season.
“I wanted to play in the NPL over here. I heard the New South Wales NPL was the best in Aussie, underneath the A-League.
“I’ve found it to be competitive and I think it was a good learning curve for me to leave New Zealand.”
Rebecca Lake has represented New Zealand at U-17 and U-20 level and was one of eight uncapped players named in the Football Ferns squad for their two matches against the U.S.A. in January.
Alongside football, Lake works fulltime as an accountant and will soon become a fully qualified chartered accountant.
She plans to continue to work part-time when she arrives in Wellington for the start of pre-season and is excited about the chance to play professional football.
“I’m a centre back who focuses on composure, pass completion and aerial dominance. I’m looking forward to the challenge of the A-League and playing with the Phoenix this season.
“I’m going to be competing for a starting spot, but if I’m not there yet I’m still going to bring my leadership and support to the team.
“I was talking to (coach) Paul (Temple) and he was saying ‘your experience through football, but also life is paramount’ so hopefully I can be a bit of a leader and older head even though I’m only 24-years-old.”
Temple says Lake has earned her first professional contract by being a consistent high performer in the national league.
“It’s important there is a pathway for our young women who perform well domestically,” he said. “So many of our players came through the national league and it’s great to be able to give Bex an opportunity to join them at the next level.
“Despite being young she’s won numerous titles, and she’s a fierce competitor that will add leadership to our squad.
“Bex deserves this opportunity and I’m convinced she has the character and quality to step up into professional football.”
Rebecca Lake is the seventh player confirmed in the Wellington Phoenix women’s squad for the 2023-24 season, joining fellow defenders Mackenzie Barry and Marisa van der Meer, midfielders Chloe Knott and Alyssa Whinham and forwards Michaela Robertson and Emma Main.