Crowther secures keeper's contract

FORMER Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper Reece Crowther has been rewarded for an impressive trial with Wellington Phoenix, securing a one-year deal to join the club for the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season.

FORMER Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper Reece Crowther has been rewarded for an impressive trial with Wellington Phoenix, securing a one-year deal to join the club for the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season.

The 20-year-old Australian returns Down-under after several years playing in England, initially joining Crystal Palace before moving to Championship club QPR in 2006. Although Crowther did not appear for the first team at Loftus Rd, he was a regular starter for the QPR reserves.

Brought to Wellington at the start of May to trial with the Phoenix, Crowther has proven his immense talent and potential to head coach Ricki Herbert and the club-s goalkeeping coach, former Celtic stopper Jonathan Gould.

Phoenix chief executive Tony Pignata said the 1.96m Crowther was an excellent addition to the Phoenix-s squad for the 2009/10 campaign.

“Reece has played at a high level in England and we-re rapt to be able to bring him to Wellington. He-s a young, talented player who has fitted into the squad very well and he-s got the hunger and desire to perform.”

Crowther will be vying with incumbent Phoenix and New Zealand national team goalkeeper Mark Paston for the starting custodian-s role during the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season.

“We see him as more than capable of pushing for the starting spot,” said Pignata. “He hasn-t been signed as a ‘second keeper- - he-s here to challenge Mark and fuel competition for places in the first team. It-s good that we have two quality keepers in Mark and Reece in our squad.”

The talented youngster-s return to Australasia is further evidence of the growing attractiveness of the Hyundai A-League.

“It-s great for the competition,” said Pignata. “These young players are seeing that there are great opportunities and great futures in the Hyundai A-League and that they can make a good career out of it without having to go to the lower leagues in Europe or elsewhere. That bodes well for the future of the game in this part of the world.”

Crowther was thrilled with his one-year deal.

“I spent a few years away but the opportunity to come back and join the Phoenix was too good to pass up. The club is fantastic and the set-up is first-class, so I see it as the perfect place for me to advance my career.”

REECE CROWTHER

Date of birth:

November 28, 1988 in San Diego, United States Height, weight: 1.96m, 96kg Playing position: Goalkeeper

Club history: 2006-10 Queens Park Rangers, 2005 Crystal Palace.