The Wellington Phoenix Reserves have confirmed a 23-man squad for the newly named ISPS Handa Men’s Premiership 2020/21 competition, which kicks off on 14 November 2020.
Led by returning centre back and newly minted captain Kurtis Mogg, the Phoenix Academy’s first match will be on the competition’s opening day – versus Team Wellington at Fraser Park in Lower Hutt, 2pm on Saturday 14 November.
The 2020/21 squad sees eight new additions this season: Jaylen Rodwell, Ollie van Rijssel, Oscar Hough, Kees Sims and Alex Clayton all come across from Western Suburbs / Ole Academy, while Noah Boyce and Jonty Roubos both join from Wairarapa United and George Ott has been added from the Hamilton Wanderers.
The squad will also feature returning Academy players in Thomas Raimbault (Vancouver Whitecaps), Liam Moore (Loyola University/Eastern Suburbs) and Kieran Richards (East Tennessee University).
In addition, 12 players from Lower Hutt AFC who played in the 2019/20 National League will return for the 2020/21 season: Alex Paulsen, Harry Bark, Mogg, Finn Surman, Adam Hillis, Luis Toomey, Henry Hamilton, Riley Bidois, Ben Old, Kris Naicker, Oskar van Hattum and Joseph Lee.
Wellington Phoenix Reserves Head Coach, Paul Temple says that the club finds themselves in a unique situation from previous years.
“It gives our young players an opportunity to showcase themselves week in, week out in our premier competition; with U20 & U17 World Cups coming up in 2021, plus the incentives of breaking into our first team and following the path of Ben [Waine] & Sam [Sutton], there is a lot for these boys to play for.
“We’ve brought in some very good players to add to the boys we already had during the winter season, so there will be competition for places and standards will be high – which is exactly what you want.”
Temple says he is excited by the potential of the squad this season.
“As always, we will be focused on performances and helping to improve the players across the season. We know history tells us there are always a few players who make big strides forward and put themselves in the shop window, and this summer will be no different.”
Temple says that he knows how hard people at the clubs and across the game have worked to get the season off the ground.
“We need to thank everyone who has worked so hard to make the league happen, it’s been a tough year for everyone – so to be playing National League football, and to crowds no less, is a fantastic outcome for us and the fans.”
2020/21 Squad: 1. Alex Paulsen (G), 2.Alex Clayton, 3.Harry Bark, 4.Kurtis Mogg (C), 5. Finn Surman, 6.Adam Hillis, 7.Luis Toomey, 8. Henry Hamilton, 9.Riley Bidois, 10.Ben Old, 11.Thomas Raimbault, 12.Kris Naicker, 13.Jaylen Rodwell, 14.Oskar van Hattum, 15.Liam Moore, 16.Noah Boyce, 17.Oscar Hough, 18.Ollie van Rijssel, 19.George Ott, 20.Kees Sims (G), 21.Kieran Richards, 22.Jonty Roubos, 23.Joseph Lee.