Diego heading across the ditch

WELLINGTON Phoenix FC has secured a key addition to its squad for the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season, signing Brazilian attacking midfielder Diego Walsh on a two-year contract.

The 29-year-old will fill a crucial role in the Phoenix-s lineup for next season, charged with orchestrating attacking opportunities for the Wellington team.

Phoenix chief executive Tony Pignata said Diego would prove a superb addition to the club-s roster.

“He-s someone (coach) Ricki Herbert and I had been looking at for a while and he-s exactly the type of player we need. What we found this season is the need for an attacking midfield-style player. We had (Brazilian guest player) Fred for a few weeks and we really saw the difference he brought to the team.

“The agenda was to go out and get an attacking-minded midfielder and Diego really fits the bill.”

Diego was released by Adelaide United after three seasons in South Australia. Pignata said the Reds- decision not to re-sign the talented playmaker came as a surprise, though Adelaide-s loss is Wellington-s big gain.

“He-s a quality player and he-s done a great job for Adelaide, particularly during their recent Asian Champions League campaign. But these things happen and Diego is certainly looking forward to coming to Wellington and continuing to play in the Hyundai A-League.”

The signing of Diego completes a major phase of the Phoenix-s recruitment campaign for next season, with the club-s sights now set on securing two quality strikers.

“The key thing for us is to get three quality attacking players and we-ve secured an attacking midfielder in Diego,” said Pignata.

“Now we-re working on signing a couple of strikers. At the moment we-ve got quite a few we-re in discussions with and we-ll see what happens over the next few months.

“We-ve had a lot of names thrown at us and it has taken time to work through all the options. We want to meet candidates in person when we can – gone are the days of simply looking at DVDs or YouTube footage.

“It-s important to get a feel for the player you-re signing, the type of person they are, and in Diego we-ve got a player we know about who has played in the A-League and understands the competition.

“All that made it an easier decision to sign him.”


Date of birth:

December 8, 1979 in Santos, Sao Paulo (Brazil)
Height, weight: 1.83m, 84kg
Playing position: Attacking midfielder

Club history: 2006-09 Adelaide United, 2006 Miami FC (US), 2004-05 Kansas City (US), 2003 Columbus Crew (US).

Hyundai A-League statistics: 28 matches (1 goal, v Wellington Phoenix, September 22, 2007) for Adelaide United (debut v Sydney FC, Adelaide, January 14, 2007).