The Wellington Phoenix is excited to announce goalkeeper Lily Alfeld as the first signing for its brand-new A-League Women’s squad, which is set to kick off its inaugural season in December this year.
To be part of the first, inaugural season [with the Phoenix], it’s a chance to create a bit of history so I would love to go out and have a positive start for what will hopefully be many seasons to come; it’s a role I’m very honoured to get a chance to do and I can’t wait to get started.
Kiwi-born Alfeld, 26, spent last season with Perth Glory, starting all 12 matches and making a league-leading 53 saves. As one of seven New Zealand players in the A-League Women’s competition last season, Alfeld joins with fellow Kiwi Claudia Bunge as one of only 14 players to play all 1080 minutes across the season.
Known as an acrobatic defender, Alfeld’s achievements in her maiden campaign saw her named as a nominee for the PFA Player of the Month Award for December/January, while also winning the Save of the Week Award on two straight occasions.
Prior to this, Alfeld had spent four seasons at Louisiana State University in the United States, before returning home in 2018 to be part of NZ Football’s Future Ferns Domestic Programme (FFDP) – which helps young Kiwi women make the jump from domestic football and into their professional careers.
Alfeld says that she is ‘beyond stoked’ to be joining the Phoenix for its inaugural season.
“I’m thrilled to get this opportunity, I grew up watching the Men’s Phoenix team and back then I never really thought it’d be an option for me; obviously I’m just so excited it’s happening, to be able to get to play professionally at ‘home’ is pretty special,” says Alfeld.
Reflecting back on her first season in the A-League Women’s competition, Alfred says it was a ‘rough season’ at times but she enjoyed the experience.
“It was an amazing opportunity and my first go playing professional football, so there was a lot to learn in that season and at times it was pretty tough – but overall such a positive experience.
“I think season [with the Phoenix] it’ll be kind of a similar situation, in that a lot of the girls in the squad are quite young and are going into this as a development experience – but I’m excited to be going into this season knowing what I’m going to face and with some A-League experience under my belt.”
Wellington Phoenix Women’s Head Coach, Gemma Lewis says that Alfeld will be counted on to bring her A-League experience into a squad primarily made up of young players new to the professional football space.
“We know Lily is a quality goalkeeper and we also know she had a positive impact on her squad last season – both on and off the field,” says Lewis.
“She will bring a lot of stability and leadership to this team and we know the younger players will look up to her, as she has that professional experience and knows the A-League Women’s competition.
“We’re very excited that Lily is our first signing for the Phoenix Women’s side and we’re keen to announce the rest of the squad over the coming week.”
Alfeld says that she is excited to be part of history, as a member of New Zealand’s first professional women’s football club.
“To be part of the first, inaugural season [with the Phoenix], it’s a chance to create a bit of history so I would love to go out and have a positive start for what will hopefully be many seasons to come; it’s a role I’m very honoured to get a chance to do and I can’t wait to get started.”
Alfeld and the rest of the NZ-based Wellington Phoenix squad will soon make their way to New South Wales, Australia as they prepare for the start of the 2021/22 A-League Women’s season. The Club’s first ever match in this competition is scheduled for 5 pm AEDT, 3 December – opening night – versus the Western Sydney Wanderers.