‘Very intelligent’ 17yo striker completes epic five-month rise with first A-Leagues deal

Wellington Phoenix have announced the signing of 17-year-old Luke Supyk to a three-year deal, with the attacker seemingly the final piece of business for Giancarlo Italiano’s side heading into the 2023-24 Isuzu UTE A-League season.

Supyk’s signing comes only five months after making his club debut for Wellington’s reserves, where he went on to score four goals in this year’s Central League.

The teenager recently made his senior debut in the Phoenix’s 3-0 loss to Melbourne City in the 2023 Australia Cup Round of 16, coming on as a late substitute at Jack Edwards Reserve.

Supyk has had success on the international stage too, being the top goal scorer at the OFC U-17 Championship in January to help New Zealand qualify for this year’s FIFA U-17 World Cup and recently spent time in Japan with the squad preparing for the upcoming tournament.

The first two years of the youngster’s contract will be on scholarship terms, before transitioning into a senior deal in the 2025-26 season.

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“Coming up through the academy it’s always been a dream to play for the Wellington Phoenix first team, and now it’s actually happening I’m buzzing,” Supyk said.

“I’ve always believed in myself that I can make the step up and I feel like I’m ready.

“I want to thank all of the coaches who have coached me up until this point at both the academy and back in Christchurch.

“I also want to thank Chiefy (Italiano) and the first team staff for putting trust in me so early in my football career. It’s now up to me to repay that faith.”

Supyk followed in his older brother Adam’s footsteps and initially joined the Phoenix Academy in 2021, after playing his junior football at Waimakariri United and Nomads United in Canterbury.

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He was with his dad when he got the news that Wellington Director of Football Shaun Gill was offering him his first senior deal.

“I just burst out smiling and told my dad as soon as I got off the call,” he said.

“We hugged then immediately phoned my mum to let her know. It was such a special moment for the family.

“My parents and Adam are super proud of me and happy for me because they know how much hard work I’ve put in.”

The striker is the club’s 19th and final signing ahead of the new season, as new coach Italiano looks to build much of his squad around a young core.

Supyk joins Lukas Kelly-Heald, Fin Conchie and Isaac Hughes as academy products to pen deals with the senior team this season.

Italiano said he has had his eye on Supyk for quite some time and believes he has the potential to push for a starting berth this season, as the 17-year-old competes with the likes of Oskar Zawada, David Ball, Kosta Barbarouses and Oskar van Hattum for a position up top.

“I caught wind of who he was last season and watched Luke play for the academy’s younger age-group teams,” Italiano said.

“He wasn’t in the first group of academy players to train with us in pre-season, but after watching him play in the Central League I called him up to first team training.

“Luke has impressed me in every game he’s played and in every training session he’s been involved in.


“He’s an exciting prospect and has very good instincts. He’s quick to identify where the space is and make the right run, and technically he’s a very good player.

“He’s a very intelligent footballer for his age. I think he has all the attributes to become a flourishing first team squad member.

“Everyone has the potential to start. I haven’t even come close to deciding who’s going to start the first game of the season against Wanderers.

“Anyone that signs and all the boys from the academy that are registered with us are all eligible to start.

“It’s an old adage, but if you’re good enough, you’re old enough. Whether he’s 16, whether he’s 19 or whether he’s 30 I’ll assess him in the same way.”

Despite the club confirming they wouldn’t be adding to their squad in an earlier media release, Italiano stated they could be looking at up to four youngsters to sign scholarship deals in his press conference on Wednesday morning.

“There’ll be potentially another attacking spot, looking at another fullback and then the other two players, potentially utility players that can play in the front line,” he said.

Italiano was also asked if the younger players coming through suit the style of football he’s looking to implement this season.

“The advantage I have now is because we’ve started so early, I can bring in these players at an early date, expose them to the environment and the ones that flourish, they need to show some consistency,” he said.

“I see things, because if they have speed, they have creativity, they have a bit of flair, whether they are good tactically, whether they adapt in the environment, they can handle themselves with the senior players.

“The answer is it allows me to pick who I think even at a younger age can be exposed to the environment and then have a higher chance of of flourishing.

“I mean, there’s one boy at the moment that we have, I think he might be 16, turning 17 and for me, I get excited when I see a player like that because I think if he’s in the environment for at least a year and he gets minutes in the A-League, everyone’s going to be talking about him in two years as the next big thing.

“That’s the advantage of having this club philosophy and identity is that we can pull these players in at an early stage and give them that exposure and then we’re able to kick their career forward.”

Wellington begin their season against Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday, October 22 at CommBank Stadium.