ONE of Wellington Phoenix’s arch-enemies in their inaugural season in the Hyundai A-League has now become an important ally, with the Wellington club confirming the signing of striker Adam Kwasnik from the Central Coast Mariners.
ONE of Wellington Phoenix-s arch-enemies in their inaugural season in the Hyundai A-League has now become an important ally, with the Wellington club confirming the signing of striker Adam Kwasnik from the Central Coast Mariners.
The 25-year-old joins the Phoenix on a one-year deal in what is a massive coup for the Hyundai A-League-s youngest club.
Phoenix chief executive Tony Pignata was happy and more than a little relieved to have secured the services of Kwasnik - the Mariners- leading goalscorer with 15 strikes in 62 Hyundai A-League matches.
“He-s a proven campaigner who has played in two A-League grand finals and has been with the Mariners for three years. He-s a proven goalscorer - including getting a couple of crackers against us last season.
“Adam will complement the team well and fill that crucial striking role.”
With the club-s bid for former Socceroos striker Joel Porter falling over, signing a player of the calibre of Kwasnik was crucial to the Phoenix-s ambitions in their second tilt in the Hyundai A-League.
“Our ambitions in terms of recruitment this season was to sign players we knew of and who were proven at an elite level,” Pignata said.
“We weren-t going to rely on DVDs to assist in recruiting and that was the reason we tried to sign Joel Porter, because he was a player whose skills and abilities we knew about.
“So when we missed out on Porter we immediately targeted Adam as a player we knew could do a job for us, and it-s great that we were able to secure his services for the 2008/09 season.”
Kwasnik, who arrives in Wellington early next week and will launch straight into pre-season training with his new teammates, was well aware that all eyes would be on him as a strike weapon for the Phoenix.
“I-ve got a lot to improve in my game and I know there are going to be a lot of expectations on me. I just want to work hard, strike up some good partnerships and see how we go.”
After a stellar career with the Mariners, Kwasnik admitted that leaving Gosford had been the toughest move of his career to date.
“I-ve been there from the beginning, since their inception in the A-League, so it was difficult making the decision to leave the boys and the coaching staff. But I felt that for the good of my game and my career that signing with the Phoenix was the right thing to do and I-m looking forward to bigger and better things in Wellington this season.”
The addition of Kwasnik means the Phoenix now have a squad of 21 of a possible 23. Pignata said the Phoenix were unlikely to fill the vacant spots on the roster until after pre-season assessments had been made.
“We-re going to hold off at 21 and review things after the pre-season. We-ve got until August 31 to sign anyone else but we-ll wait to see what we require. Having the two vacant spots gives us some options.
“We-re satisfied with the squad we-ve brought together. We-ve made some very good signings and everyone is very excited about our prospects this season.”
Phoenix squad:1. Mark PASTON, 2. Jeremy CHRISTIE, 3. Tony LOCHHEAD, 4. Jon McKAIN, 5. Karl DODD, 6. Tim BROWN, 7. Leo BERTOS, 8, Vaughan COVENY, 9. Shane SMELTZ, 10. Michael FERRANTE, 11. DANIEL, 12. Richard JOHNSON, 13. Troy HEARFIELD, 17. Vince LIA, 18. Ben SIGMUND, 19. Greg DRAPER, 20. Glen MOSS, 21. Leilei GAO, 23. Costa BARBAROUSES, 24. Andrew DURANTE, 27. Adam KWASNIK
Date of birth: May 31, 1983 in Sydney (25 years)
Height, weight: 1.79m, 76kg
Playing position: Striker
Club history: 2005-08 Central Coast Mariners, 2004-05 Blacktown City, 2002-04 Northern Spirit, 2001-02 Parramatta Power, 2000-01 Blacktown City
Hyundai A-League statistics: 62 matches (15 goals) for the Central Coast Mariners (debut v Newcastle Jets, Gosford, September 4, 2005).
Representative honours: Australia under-20
Biography: Comfortable in a traditional striker-s role or on either flank, Kwasnik-s pace and vision saw him become the Mariners- leading goalscorer in his three years with the Gosford club. Despite his young age, Kwasnik brings a wealth of experience to the Phoenix as well as a proven scoring pedigree, having consistently found the back of the net for every club he has represented.