Wellington Phoenix have announced that defender James McGarry has signed a one-year contract with the club.
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When the opportunity came up I kinda grabbed it with both hands.
22-year-old McGarry was born in Mosgiel and played his youth career at Southern United before joining the Phoenix Academy in 2014.
He re-joins the Wellington Phoenix after spending four seasons with the club from 2014-2018, making two appearances for the first team and 52 appearances for the Phoenix Reserves in the ISPS Handa Men’s Premiership – scoring 11 goals for the latter.
Most recently McGarry spent two seasons playing for Eredivisie club Willem II in the Netherlands, where he made six appearances.
McGarry has also represented New Zealand on 16 occasions over the past five years, including the national Under-17, Under-20 and Under-23 squads. This includes McGarry representing New Zealand at both the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup and the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup, and making his national team debut against Lithuania last November.
Wellington Phoenix Head Coach, Ufuk Talay says that McGarry will get every opportunity to make an impact on the squad for the 2020/21 A-League season.
“We welcome James back to the team and we’re confident he’ll be able to contribute next season – we’re already aware of his ability and his two seasons with Willem II have only helped to grow him as a player and a defender.”
McGarry says that it “means a lot” to be able to join the Phoenix for the upcoming season.
“The potential to come back to the Phoenix was on the cards with Libby leaving, so when the opportunity came up I kinda grabbed it with both hands – it’s a good opportunity to come back and get some experience with a good side that I watched a lot of last season.
“I know a lot of the players on the squad, obviously [Alex] Rufer, [Louis] Fenton and [Oliver] Sail from when I was last there, and I’ve played with others in the national squad – so it’s going to be easy to get along with the squad.”
McGarry says he spoke with Coach Talay recently around his expectations for next season and where he sees himself fitting into the squad.
“Ufuk outlined to me the style of play, what he wants from players – including myself – and made it clear that he sees me in that attacking left back role which is where I want to play.
“I’m really looking forward to it and can’t wait to get started – it’s a big year for me, I’m 22 years old and I really want to come in and show what I can do.”