Nix confirm women’s departures

The Wellington Phoenix have farewelled six women’s players, including five founding squad members.

Forwards Ava Pritchard and Charlotte Lancaster, midfielders Isabel Gomez and Te Reremoana Walker, defender Saskia Vosper and goalkeeper Georgia Candy won’t be returning to Wellington for the 2023-24 Liberty A-League season.

Pritchard, Lancaster, Vosper, Gomez and Walker have been with the Phoenix since the women’s team was formed in 2021, while Candy was the squad’s back-up ‘keeper last season.

New head coach Paul Temple has thanked all six players for their contributions to the club.

“They have all helped establish the first professional women’s football team in New Zealand and have left a lasting legacy,” Temple said.

“I spoke to all of six players to let them know they wouldn’t be offered contracts for next season. 

“They were tough calls to make, especially to Ava who has been a mainstay of the team over the first two seasons.”

PERTH, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 15: Ava Pritchard of the Phoenix looks to pass the ball during the round 10 A-League Women’s match between Perth Glory and Wellington Phoenix at Macedonia Park, on January 15, 2023, in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images)

Pritchard featured in all the women’s matches over the past two A-League seasons.

The 20-year-old will forever be remembered as the team’s first goal scorer. She found the back of the net five times in 32 matches.

Gomez, 20, was limited to five appearances off the bench in the 2022-23 A-League, after featuring in all 14 games in the team’s inaugural campaign.

She memorably provided a no-look pass that led to Betsy Hassett’s second goal in the Phoenix’s 5-0 win over Canberra United in January.

Vosper, 24, featured 25 times for Wellington over the past two seasons, including starting the team’s maiden match against Western Sydney Wanderers.

She started three matches in the 2022-23 A-League, all of which came in succession either side of Christmas.

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – JANUARY 02: Saskia Vosper of the Phoenix passes during the round eight A-League Women’s match between Wellington Phoenix and Western Sydney Wanderers at Sky Stadium, on January 02, 2023, in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Walker played just five times as a substitute last season, after featuring in all but one of the Nix’s 14 games in their maiden campaign.

She was one of four scholarship players in the 2022-23 squad.

Fellow 19-year-old Lancaster was on a scholarship contract for the past two seasons.

She made 12 appearances off the bench before making her first start for the club in late March, when she provided the assist for Chloe Knott’s goal in the 3-1 win over Adelaide United.

Candy, 22, was in goal for that match after deputising for Brianna Edwards throughout the 2022-23 season, having joined the Phoenix as a scholarship player in October.

The Wellington Phoenix wish them all the best for their footballing futures.