Alex Rufer has recommitted to the Wellington Phoenix, extending his tenure at the club well into a second decade.
The central midfielder has re-signed with the Phoenix through until the end of the 2025-26 Isuzu UTE A-League season.
Rufer is in his 10th A-League season with the Nix, despite being just 26-years-old, and has led the team since the start of the 2021-22 campaign when he was appointed the club’s first homegrown captain.
He is one of a select group of Phoenix centurions and memorably broke through for his maiden goal for Wellington in his 107th A-League game in January.
“I love this club and I want to win something here,” Rufer said.
“I’ve been at the Phoenix for many years now and I’ve grown from a young boy into a man.
“I’ve learnt so much here, played with some amazing players and I’m really happy in Wellington.
“I’m really looking forward to the next three years. I think it’s important to have that security so I can worry about playing my best football, and I believe that’s still to come.”
Rufer missed the start of this season after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in March last year.
He returned eight months after his operation, coming off the bench in the team’s final two matches of 2022, and has started every game for the Phoenix since round 11.
His form at the heart of the Wellington midfield led to him being recalled to the All Whites after a long absence and he started the first international against China at Mt Smart Stadium last week.
“Coming back from this injury has made me better and stronger.
“Thank you to the club for putting faith in me and my family for always being there for me.”
Phoenix director of football Shaun Gill has hailed Rufer’s commitment to the club.
“Rufs is part of the fabric of the Wellington Phoenix,” Gill said.
“He’s not only a great leader, but he’s the linchpin of the men’s midfield.
“Rufs has been through great highs and lows, both personally and with the club, over the past decade, and has shown incredible resilience to come back from serious injuries on two occasions.
“It was a priority to secure his signature and we are delighted he is going to be sticking around for another three years.”
Alex Rufer’s re-signing means 12 of the current men’s squad are now contracted to the club beyond this season.