Getting to know Lukas Kelly-Heald

Wellington Phoenix academy graduate Lukas Kelly-Heald is the latest addition to Giancarlo Italiano’s 2023-24 A-League men’s squad, with the 18-year-old signing a landmark four-year deal with the Nix.

Kelly-Heald has been a regular for the Phoenix reserves for the past two years and recently represented New Zealand at the FIFA U-20 World Cup held in Argentina, starting three of the Junior All Whites’ four matches.

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – JULY 06: Lukas Kelly-Heald poses after signing with the Wellington Phoenix during a media opportunity at NZCIS on July 06, 2023 in Upper Hutt, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Here are five things to know about Lukas Kelly-Heald:

He has an identical twin who also plays for the Phoenix

Lukas’ twin brother Alby is the Phoenix reserves no.1 goalkeeper and was also part of the New Zealand squad at the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Argentina. Alby is currently training with the first team alongside contracted ‘keepers Alex Paulsen and Jack Duncan.

Lukas is a proud Wellingtonian

He was born and raised in the capital and played for both Island Bay United and North Wellington AFC before joining the Phoenix academy at the start of 2021. Lukas attended Houghton Valley School, South Wellington Intermediate, Wellington College and St Patricks College Town.

His parents know their coffee!

The capital is known for its great cafes and Lukas’ parents run two of the best. They own Lyall Bay’s Maranui Café, which is a Wellington institution, and ATCO Corner Store and Coffee Bar in neighbouring Island Bay.

Lukas has joined a growing list of Island Bay United alumni

All Whites and former Phoenix fullback Liberato Cacace also played his junior football at Island Bay, as did former academy player Henry Hamilton who is now at college in the U.S.. NZ Futsal representatives Sam Wright and Izaac O’Hara and former NZ secondary schools international Anna McCarthy are others to have recently come through the club.

He loves a good choccy milk

Chocolate milk is good for recovery after a training session or a long workout, but for Lukas, it’s simply one of his favourite drinks. His favourite brand is Tararua Protein Hit.