Phoenix make first foreign signing after game-changing move but reveal two exits

In a game-changing move for Wellington Phoenix, Football Australia (FA) has relaxed restrictions on foreign A-League Women signings for the upcoming season after the Liberty A-League club announced the signing of American Hope Breslin.

The US attacking midfielder arrives as a visa player for the 2023-24 season, though head coach Paul Temple confirmed Paige Satchell and Emma Rolston will not be returning.

“We now can bring in visa players that aren’t at the expense of our Kiwis and build a squad that’s based on the ability of the players and the balance of the squad,” Temple said.

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The Phoenix were admitted to the A-League Women two seasons ago but asked to fill their squad with New Zealand and Australian players, in part to help development of local players for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Football Australia’s rule tweak means they are now free to compete for imports like Breslin.

The 24-year-old is a teammate of New Zealand captain Ali Riley at Angel City in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) and is in the middle of a loan spell at Houston Dash.

“From seeing all the (World Cup) games and the amazing stadiums and atmosphere here in Australia as well as New Zealand … it made me super excited, super eager,” she said.

Breslin said her biggest strengths were her “technical ability and vision of the field” while she could operate best as a central midfielder or wide forward.

Temple now has a 12-woman squad for the upcoming campaign and is still in negotiations with other visa players, as well as Football Ferns.

“There’s been some conversations,” he said.

“But a lot of those Football Ferns did perform well (in the World Cup) so they’ve attracted interest from other parts of the world.

“There’s some more visa players to come.”

Temple is eager for new fans to the sport to maintain their interest from the World Cup in the upcoming A-League Women’s season, beginning in October.

“Let’s turn that into attendances for the Phoenix and keep surfing the wave,” he said.


Goalkeepers: Brianna Edwards

Defenders: Michaela Foster, Kate Taylor, Mackenzie Barry, Marisa van der Meer, Rebecca Lake

Midfielders: Hope Breslin, Chloe Knott, Grace Wisnewski, Alyssa Whinham

Forwards: Emma Main, Michaela Robertson