Nix secure young midfielder on multi-year deal

The Wellington Phoenix have signed Macey Fraser to the longest contract in the women’s team’s short history.

The attacking midfielder has committed to the Phoenix for the next three Liberty A-League seasons.

Fraser, 21, is in her third year at the club’s academy and has been a key member of the women’s reserves for the past two seasons, initially playing under new head coach Paul Temple.

“It’s a really cool feeling to sign my first pro contract,” she said. “I’m so grateful to Paul for giving me the opportunity, and I can’t wait to get started and do as well as I can for the Phoenix.

“When I came into the academy Paul sat down with me and asked what I wanted to do, and I said be a professional footballer. He said ‘okay, let’s do it’.

“He’s been such a big help to me and my skills as a player and as a person.

“My coach this year Katie Barrott has also been a huge help for me, as has Issy Coombes, our sports scientist.

“In fact all of the staff at the academy have helped me so much along my journey and I’m grateful to all of them for what they’ve done for me.”

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – SEPTEMBER 10: Wellington Phoenix academy players Tui Dugan (L) and Macey Fraser pose with a scarf during a Wellington Phoenix media opportunity at Sky Stadium on September 10, 2021 in Wellington, New Zealand. The Phoenix today announced the inclusion of their women’s football team into the W-League beginning in season 2021/22. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Fraser was part of the history-making New Zealand squad that finished third at the 2018 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay, along with Phoenix regulars Mackenzie Barry, Grace Wisnewski and Marisa van der Meer.

“The under-17 World Cup was one of the best times of my life. It was such a cool trip and to come third and make some history was pretty awesome too.”

She also attended the 2022 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica, alongside Wisnewski and van der Meer, and founding Nix squad members Kate Taylor, Alyssa Whinham and Brianna Edwards.

“I’m quite close with a lot of those girls so it will be so cool to be training with them again.”

Macey Fraser has had to wait a little longer than a number of her national age-group team-mates to get an opportunity in the professional ranks.

“Everyone has a different journey and this is mine. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s made me grow as a person and I’m just so excited to finally be signing a professional contract.

“I’ve been working hard for a number of years now and I think it’s finally my time to show what I can do.”

Macey Fraser in action for the Phoenix women’s reserves in June 2023. Photo: Cam McIntosh/Photomac.

Fraser’s footballing journey started in north Canterbury, where she played with her two older brothers in the backyard before joining Waimakariri United.

She was on Paul Temple’s radar well before joining him at the academy.“For a number of years Macey has been somebody that a lot of people have regarded as a super young talent coming through the system in New Zealand,” Temple said.

“I remember watching her play futsal for Canterbury a number of years ago at the ASB Centre in Wellington and thinking ‘wow, this kid is pretty special. Who’s she?’.

“Macey’s talent has always shone through. For her it was about finding a home where she was comfortable and that she could be consistent with what she does.

“Over the last two years she’s been fantastic in terms of her commitment to becoming better on and off the pitch in all aspects of her game. She’s really matured as a person and as a footballer.”

He believes Phoenix “fans will love her”.

“Macey’s really good to watch. She’s technically one of the better players I’ve worked with, and she’s got goals in her.

“She scored a number of goals for the reserves team from midfield so she’s a goalscoring midfielder, which is great for us and the team.

“I think the contract length shows everybody how serious we are about her and how much we see her as part of the future.”

Macey Fraser in action for the Phoenix women’s reserves in June 2023. Photo: Cam McIntosh/Photomac.

Fraser already has a big following on TikTok because of her footballing skills.

“I know a lot of the younger academy girls idolise her in terms of this technical player that can do things with the ball that are pretty amazing,” Temple said.

“A lot of the players in the academy will be buzzing for her moving into the first team.

“Hopefully she can go on and continue to inspire those younger players to follow her pathway and the journey, and what it takes to get there.”

Macey Fraser is the 14th player confirmed in the Wellington Phoenix women’s squad for the 2023-24 Liberty A-League, joining fellow midfielders Hope Breslin, Chloe Knott, Grace Wisnewski and Alyssa Whinham, goalkeeper Brianna Edwards, defenders Hailey Davidson, Michaela Foster, Kate Taylor, Mackenzie Barry, Marisa van der Meer and Rebecca Lake, and forwards Emma Main and Michaela Robertson.

Fraser will join the Phoenix women for the start of pre-season training on September 8.