Wellington Phoenix have re-signed 23-year-old A-League defender James McGarry on a one-year deal.
McGarry is a former Eredivisie defender with Willem II, making six appearances in the Dutch top tier in addition to another 26 for the club's youth teams.
The Kiwi international was also previously a prolific goalscorer for Wellington's reserve team, scoring 11 times in 52 appearances, and made 22 A-League appearances for the Nix last season.
McGarry has one New Zealand senior cap and 13 appearances for the national youth sides, and is currently a reserve for the team's Tokyo 2021 Olympics campaign.
"I’m massively looking forward to getting back to Wellington and playing at Sky Stadium; I can’t wait to step out on the pitch again in front of the crowd and the Yellow Fever and put in performances with the team," he said.
“I’m really happy and excited to sign on with the Phoenix for another season, I enjoyed last season in Wollongong and got on well with the other players.
“It took me a few games to adjust into the A-League, but having the pre-season in Australia probably helped me adjust a bit both physically and mentally, just preparing for the weather – I haven’t really played anywhere that had similar humidity to that.
“I’m comfortable playing at this level and I’m looking forward to pushing myself really hard and having a really big year.
“I’m happy to be back in New Zealand [next season], back in Wellington where we belong – I’m looking forward to getting stuck into pre-season in the next couple of weeks, it’ll just be good to catch up with the boys and get back into work.
“It’s a new season coming up so it’ll be good to come into the pre-season, starting fresh and setting new goals for the season and working really hard with the boys.
“And it’s good we’ve kept the vast majority of our squad from last season; I definitely believe there’s enough quality there to push top six and even further.”
Ufuk Talay says McGarry is a sign that the club is locking down a solid foundation early.
“Jimmy was good for us as an attacking left back this past season, he’s got some solid attributes at that position which helps the squad,” says Talay.
“It’s good for the Club to have players like Jimmy – who played a lot of minutes for us this past season - locked in early as we start preparing for next season; it gives us that added consistency in the squad and familiarity between all the returning players.
“I’m excited for next season and bringing back the core of a squad which has the potential to achieve some great things.”