Phoenix re-sign an international aspirant after successful stint on injury-replacement deal

Wellington Phoenix have re-signed Australian defender Tiana Jaber for the 2024-25 Liberty A-League season.

The 24-year-old initially joined the ‘Nix on an injury-replacement contract midway through the 2023-24 campaign, and strung together 11 consecutive appearances to end the season.

Jaber’s form through the backend of her first campaign in Wellington impressed head coach Paul Temple, who has ensured the defender will return to the club for a full season in 2024-25.

“I had the best time in Wellington,” Jaber said. “I was actually sad to return home to Sydney at the end of the season.

“The people that I was around, the environment, the lifestyle we had every day at training; everything was just amazing and professional, and I can’t wait to be a part of it again.”

“I know it’s the right environment for me to grow as a player and to keep developing. I’m really excited to keep moving forward under Paul (Temple) and his coaching staff.

“I’m really hoping this season I can keep starting every week and grow into the player I know I can be.

“I’m very, very excited to move back and get back to work with the Nix and hopefully we’ll make the finals this season.”

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Born in Australia to a Lebanese father and Italian mother, Jaber is intent to become a fully-fledged international in the next phase of her career and could achieve that goal prior to the new Liberty A-League campaign having been called into an international training camp with Lebanon this month.

“It’s my first national team camp. We’re going to be training and hopefully playing a friendly game,” Jaber said.

“My culture is everything to me. It’s who I am. I am proud to be Italian and Lebanese and it’ll be a dream come true to represent Lebanon, Italy or Australia.”

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Tiana Jaber.

Jaber is the third player to re-sign with Wellington ahead of the new season, alongside Rebecca Lake and Marisa van der Meer. Temple says the 24-year-old’s ability to play a number of positions made her return to the club an important piece of business to complete prior to the start of pre-season training.

“We’re super impressed with Tiana as a person and as a player,” Temple said.

“When she came in after Christmas she added so much value across everything we were doing. We really loved her mentality, competitive spirit and edge. She ended up playing a lot of minutes for us and I think she fitted in really well.

“At the end of the season it was really a no-brainer re-sign her and I’m delighted she was so keen to come back.”

“Tiana has that ability to play centre back, play in a back three and play fullback as well.

“Knowing she can cover off a few different positions and a few different shapes is another reason we wanted to bring her back.”

For all the latest transfer news involving your Liberty A-League club, make sure to stay across our dedicated Transfer Centre