Van der Meer looking to relaunch her career at the Nix

The Wellington Phoenix have further bolstered the women’s backline for the 2024-25 Liberty A-League.

The Phoenix have re-signed defender Marisa van deer Meer. She joins fellow centre backs Mackenzie Barry and Rebecca Lake in Paul Temple’s squad.

Van der Meer, 22, has been sidelined since early December when she ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right knee while on international duty with the Football Ferns.

“It’s been a long rehab so I’ve been thinking about what I want to do and obviously football is something I love to do,” she said. “I want to get back on the pitch and I want to keep playing.

“I started my rehab at the Phoenix, and I want to continue it with the club.

“I’m excited to see the team again and see who’s joining and who’s staying.”

GOSFORD, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 18: Marisa van der Meer of the Phoenix with the ball during the A-League Women round five match between Central Coast Mariners and Wellington Phoenix at , on November 18, 2023, in Gosford, Australia. (Photo by Scott Gardiner/Getty Images)

Van der Meer is progressing well little over five months since having surgery.

“I’ve been doing a lot of change of direction, introducing that. I’ve been kicking a ball which is also nice, just dribbling.

“It’s the same thing every week but then slowly adding in new things. I’ve been hopping and jumping as well.

“I’m doing a lot more which is great, and the physios up here are taking care of me really well.

“My nine to 12 month mark will be September to December, so we’ll see how we go. There isn’t any urgency. I just need to be feeling good and passing my return to play tests.”

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – DECEMBER 23: Player mascots wear jerseys in recognition of injured players Marisa van der Meer and Grace Wisnewski of the Phoenix during the A-League Women round nine match between Wellington Phoenix and Newcastle Jets at Sky Stadium, on December 23, 2023, in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

While she’s in Auckland Marisa van der Meer is also completing the final placement for her physiotherapy degree.

“It’s a four year degree and it’s only taken me four and a half years so I’ve been able to manage it pretty well with football.

“It’ll be nice to tick off and then I won’t have to do any more study. I’ll be working and learning instead.

“I’m not too sure what capacity it’ll look like but I’m looking at trying to do some work alongside football.”

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – OCTOBER 15: Macey Fraser (L) and Marisa van der Meer of the Phoenix during the round one A-League Women match between Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne City at Sky Stadium on October 15, 2023 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Van der Meer is also looking forward to renewing her centre back partnership with Phoenix women’s player of the year Mackenzie Barry.

The duo started the first six matches of the 2023-24 season as the team made their best ever start to a campaign with four wins.

“It’s been so cool seeing Mack doing so well.

“I’m really excited about playing with her again and it’ll be nice to have that solid duo together at the back.”

Phoenix head coach Paul Temple is delighted van der Meer has signed a contract extension.

“Marisa is a great person within our squad,” Temple said. “She brings significant value to the team and I’m excited to see her playing again on return from her injury.

“Her partnership with Mack was a big reason why our start to the season was so strong and we missed her a lot for the rest of the campaign.

“So I’m very happy Marisa’s returning and I can’t wait to get back to work with her on the training pitch.”

Paul Temple now has seven players contracted for the 2024-25 A-League season, with discussions continuing with other off-contract players.