Wellington Phoenix have announced that kiwi midfielder Clayton Lewis has signed a one-year contract with the club.
To be able to join the Phoenix has always been kind of a dream of mine - I was born and raised in Wellington so it’s an exciting opportunity for me.
23-year-old Lewis joins the Phoenix after playing last season with Auckland City in the ISPS Handa Men’s Premiership, where he made nine appearances and scored a goal.
Prior to this, Lewis spent two seasons playing for Scunthorpe United FC in English football’s League Two division, as well as a previous stint with Auckland City in which he made 29 appearances and scored nine goals.
Lewis also has significant All Whites experiences under this belt, having made 14 international appearances during his career – including scoring four goals while playing in the New Zealand Under-20 team and participating in both the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup and 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.
Wellington Phoenix Head Coach, Ufuk Talay, says that Lewis is a solid signing for the club heading into next season.
“Clayton is a local product – having played for St Pats in Wellington in his youth – and a known commodity for us, having spent time with our first team last season for the Sydney pre-season camp.
“He’s shown a good feel for the game and has proved himself for the All Whites in the past, so he’ll be given an opportunity to push for a spot in our midfield rotation - which is already one of the best in the A-League.”
Lewis says that he is looking forward to playing in the A-League next season with his hometown team, albeit from an Australian base.
“To be able to join the Phoenix has always been kind of a dream of mine, I was born and raised in Wellington so it’s an exciting opportunity for me – I can’t wait to get started.
“I’ve played with quite a few of the boys [on the squad last season] in Alex Rufer, Oli Sail and Te Atawhai Hudson-Wihongi, I’m looking forward to working with these players and obviously Ufuk [Talay] as well.”
Lewis says he wants to help the team any way he can.
“I know I’ve got a lot of creativity and I thrive on my passing abilities, hopefully I can score some goals, do whatever the team needs me to do.
“I’m looking forward to showcasing what I can do and I think it’s going to be an exciting season – I hope the Phoenix fans are going to be excited as well.”