W-League Introduce New Zealand’s First Professional Women’s Football Team
ellington Phoenix will join the W-league for the 2021-22 season starting in November, becoming New Zealand’s first professional women’s football team.
The Kiwi addition will become the 10th team in the Tran-Tasman competition with New Zealand Football chief executive, Andrew Pragnell, saying that the establishment of this new professional pathway is a huge moment for women’s football in New Zealand.
Pragnell said in a statement: “This is the culmination of years of work between New Zealand Football, Wellington Phoenix, Football Australia and latterly APL to bring a Kiwi side to the W-League and I want to applaud everyone who has played a role in making it happen.”
“This represents a moment of true collaboration to benefit the game on both sides of the Tasman ahead of our co-hosting of the Fifa Women’s World Cup 2023,” Pragnell said.
The timing of the announcement means Wellington will be able to compete in two W-League competitions, before Australia and New Zeland co-host the Fifa Women’s World Cup in 2023.
The inclusion of a 10th team will remove the weekly competition bye and there will be an additional game played each week.
Phoenix general manager, David Dome, said: “We’ve all been busy in the background over the past few years, working towards this exact moment.”
“Now that we’ve been given the green light, I’m confident that the club can finalise the squad relatively quickly in preparation for the season start.
“We’re really looking forward to making history for women’s football in New Zealand.”
The W-league season will kick off on Saturday, November 13, with fans able to tune in to watch the game on network 10 and Paramount+.