Nix secure first-choice Football Ferns forward

Paige Satchell has chosen to continue her football career in New Zealand in the lead-up to next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The pacey Football Ferns forward has signed with the Wellington Phoenix for the 2022-23 Liberty A-League, after playing for Canberra United and Sydney FC the previous two seasons.

“I’m excited for this new adventure with the Wellington Phoenix,” Satchell, 24, said. “I’m excited to see what the girls can do and I’m ready to get going.

“I’m always looking to push myself and leading into the World Cup it’s going to be an important season for me.

“Game time’s really important so I’m going to make the most of any game time I get and push myself to make sure I’m in the best form coming into the World Cup.”

Getting the chance to play regularly in New Zealand in the lead-up to the country co-hosting the world’s biggest women’s sporting event is also a major drawcard for Satchell.

“That’s huge. There are some other girls in the team that could also potentially be in the Ferns squad for the World Cup next year so that’ll be great to play alongside them and get to know them a little bit more.

“It’s great that we can play at home during the A-League season and continue that at the World Cup next year as well.

“It will really build momentum leading up to the tournament as well, getting some support from fans in New Zealand.”

Her family are also looking forward to seeing the Tokyo Olympian play, with just one of her 30 international caps being in Aotearoa since she made her debut in 2016.

“They’re super excited. They haven’t been able to see me play at home for quite a long time so they can’t wait.

“They’ll definitely be flying down to watch some of the games, which will be awesome.”

CARSON, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 17: Paige Satchell #13 of New Zealand runs with the ball during the match between New Zealand and Ireland as part of SheBelieves Cup 2022 at Dignity Health Sports Park on February 17, 2022 in Carson, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Phoenix head coach Gemma Lewis expects Satchell to fill the goalscoring void left by Grace Jale’s departure.

“We don’t feel like we’re necessarily missing out by losing Grace,” Lewis said.

“She’s a great player but by signing a starting Fern, one that has scored goals on an international stage with the qualities that Paige has, we don’t feel we have a hole.

“We’ve filled that gap with somebody that has a lot of experience and a lot to offer.”

One of Satchell’s main attributes is her speed.

“We saw ourselves how much we struggled to deal with that sort of pace,” Lewis said.

“You can see it has an impact at the highest international level, so within the A-League it’s definitely something that players and teams will be worried about.

“For us it’s going to be about how we utilise that and how we give her the best opportunity and provide her with enough ball that she can really show what she can do.”

Paige Satchell is the Phoenix’s third signing for the 2022-23 Liberty A-League season, joining foundation players Mackenzie Barry and Alyssa Whinham in the squad.

The Phoenix plan to announce further signings over the coming weeks.