Phoenix star sheds light on reasons for sudden exit in viral social post

Wellington Phoenix vice-captain Chloe Knott shed more light on her sudden departure from the A-League Women club in a social media post on Thursday.

The Phoenix announced the exit of the 27-year-old midfielder who has played every match in the team’s history to date, explaining she “has made the difficult decision to put her professional footballer career on hold as she believes it is no longer sustainable for her to continue”.

Knott featured 38 times for the Phoenix and scored the winner in what was her final match for the club over the weekend in a 2-1 win over Perth Glory.

“I want to thank Chloe for the fantastic service she’s given this team and the club,” Phoenix coach Paul Temple said.

“Her attitude and commitment have always been incredibly professional. She’s an amazing person and we will certainly miss having her presence around the training ground.

“It’s without doubt disappointing to lose a player like Chloe, but we have to respect her decision and support her with finding a better work-life balance.”

In the hours after her decision to leave the club became public, Knott took to social media to share a lengthy statement about the reasons behind the move.

“Hey friends! I have resigned from the Wellington Phoenix because ultimately, it is no longer sustainable for me to continue, nor is it a place where I feel fulfilled,” Knott wrote in a post on her Instagram and Twitter accounts.

“I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to achieve my childhood dream of playing professional football.

“I feel lucky for he lessons and experiences I have had over the past 3 seasons, but mostly for the connections and friendships I’ll have for the rest of my life.

“Although the current financial situation is unsustainable for female footballers, it is not the only factor leading to my decision to leave the club.

“After being here for the start of the season, it’s become clear that my values no longer align with the club or current management.

“It is important for me to be in an environment that prioritises honesty, authenticity and genuine care for every individual and their development on and off the field.

“I want to work in an environment where all employees feel valued and respected at all ages and in every phase of their career, where their commitment and sacrifice is understood and appreciated, without needing to ask for it first.

“It’s not good enough to wait for something drastic to happen before changes are made.”

She continued: “I’m at a stage in my life where I have the luxury to choose the spaces that are most conducive to experiencing joy, personal fulfillment and growth.

“I am lucky to have had opportunities to develop my life away from football which gives me the freedom to return home mid-season and have a career to turn to.

“The decision to leave the team has been the toughest one I’ve ever had to make and is not something that I have taken lightly.

“I know without doubt that it is the right choice for me.

“I hope this creates conversation about the experience that professional footballers are having at their clubs.

“I hope that this can be a catalyst for systemic cultural change within the club and particularly the women’s game.

“I am so grateful to walk alongside and follow in the footsteps of some amazing people who have moved our game forward, and I hope I can leave a few of my own new footsteps in the right direction.

“Thank you to my people, who have believed in me and supported me throughout this journey.

“I’m proud to have been a part of the first professional women’s team in New Zealand and I’m excited to see here football can get to in this country.

“For now, I’ll be the team’s biggest fan and will take pride in watching them continue to play beautiful football this season. I’m going to enjoy being home with my family in Auckland and focus on creating the lifestyle that I want.

“I’m looking forward to this next phase of my life and everything that comes with it.”