Mackenzie Barry is the first women’s player to commit to the Wellington Phoenix beyond the upcoming Liberty A-League season.
The combative centre back has re-signed with the Phoenix through until the end of the 2024-25 A-League.
A founding member of the club’s women’s team, Barry was one of just three Nix players to start all 18 matches in their second season and was substituted just twice.
She led the team in most defensive categories and was second in the league in duels won and fourth in interceptions.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time with the girls and the fans at the Phoenix,” Barry said. “The whole atmosphere of the club is amazing so I’m really happy to be staying in Wellington for another couple of seasons.
“I never thought of playing for any other club. If I want to be playing in the A-League, then I’m always going to be playing for the Phoenix because I feel committed to the club and all the supporters.
“I really want the Phoenix to do well. I’m really passionate about the team and the club and hopefully we can progress a bit further this year.”
Mackenzie Barry has made seven appearances for the Football Ferns since making her international debut against Japan in October and has been training with the wider national squad since the start of May to prepare for the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup.
“It’s been really challenging, but really exciting and motivating at the same time for my future.
“Hosting the World Cup is awesome and everybody wants to be part of the Ferns squad.
“The Phoenix women’s team are a legacy of the tournament and I want to stay with my home club.”
New head coach Paul Temple says Barry was one of the first players he wanted to re-sign when he took charge.
“Everyone describes Mack as a bit of a beast, but that’s a compliment,” Temple said. “Her athleticism is fantastic.
“She’s quick, strong, dynamic and powerful and they’re all great assets to have as a central defender.
“Mack’s improved in possession as well and now she’s more composed. She’s becoming that all-round modern centre back that can play out from the back and build attacks from deep.
“Overall, she’s an experienced defender that can do a little bit of everything. Mack’s great to have on your team and I don’t think opponents like playing against her.”
The two-year contract “shows the club really values her and is a reward for her extremely consistent performances over the first two seasons”.
“It provides a bit more security for Mack with her ambition to head to the Paris Olympics with the Ferns next year. She can go into the next off-season knowing her club football is sorted and she can just focus on making the Olympic squad.
“The two-year deal is beneficial for both parties. It’s good for her as a player and good for us as a club.
“We’ll see the women signing longer-term deals more often as the competition evolves and the players are more comfortable with the workings of the A-League.”
Mackenzie Barry is the fifth Phoenix women’s player contracted for the 2023-24 A-League, joining Chloe Knott, Alyssa Whinham, Michaela Robertson and Emma Main in the squad. The club plan to make further player announcements in the coming weeks.
“Dealing with the players has been really good,” Temple said. “They’re very open, professional and want to keep learning and improving.
“Their mentality has been really good and there is a real energy to get back to Wellington.”