The Wellington Phoenix are excited to announce that Head Coach, Ufuk Talay, has extended his contract for two more seasons – ensuring he will be leading the Nix through the 2022/23 season.
I also understand that the role is not an easy one, it’s a privilege as the Phoenix is the only professional football club in the country – and I thoroughly enjoy my job, I love football and if I can help the Club achieve what it wants to achieve in the next few seasons then that’s a great thing.
Coach Talay first joined the Phoenix prior to the 2019/20 season, in his first season leading Wellington to a Club-record third-place regular season finish; before the escalating Covid situation halted the team’s momentum last March, with a forced relocation to Australia to ensure the A-League could complete its season.
This season, despite the team facing the immense challenge of basing themselves in a temporary home in Wollongong, Australia – often referred to as a ‘six month-long road trip’ – due to Covid, the Phoenix are still in contention for a top six finish.
Wellington Phoenix Chairman Rob Morrison says that re-signing Talay was a priority for the club this season, especially as it wants to build consistency and keep improving.
“Uffy has been a key part of the Phoenix’s success last season, both the with players he’s bought in and the structure he’s put in place as coach,” said Morrison.
“It’s an appealing style of play for players and fans, and it wins us games – something we need to keep doing if we’re to achieve the Club’s goal of winning the A-League.
“The club gave Uffy his first professional coaching position and he has repaid the faith we’ve shown by signing on for two more years.”
Morrison says that as coach, Talay brings a lot of elite qualities to the Club.
“He’s a leader – which any coach has to be – but he’s also a mentor, particularly for some of the younger members of the squad; and he’s respected by the players, especially as someone who has played at an elite level himself in football.
“Uffy is a tactician, and he’s also incredible evaluator of talent; he and his staff spend hundreds of hours poring over data and videos of players from around the world, and through this effort he’s able to find and develop top-level talent like Ulises Davila, Reno Piscopo and Tim Payne.”
Talay says he is excited to continue his future at the Phoenix and there were a lot of factors in his decision.
“The biggest thing for me with my decision was having been here for two years already, already having a great relationship with Rob, the Board, the Club and of course the fans,” said Talay.
And what we achieved in season one [was a factor], while season two has been a more challenging one for myself and for the players – but we’ve still played a great brand of football, we’ve been very competitive and we’re still in the mix for Finals football which is great thing.”
“So for me, I was always here with a plan to be here for a while – I think it’s important to have longevity with a club and so to sign on for another two years is great for myself, and also for the Club in terms of both that stability and consistency for the future.
Talay says that he considers it an absolute privilege to be Head Coach of the Wellington Phoenix.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time last season while we lived in Wellington, as did my family, and this Club gave me my first opportunity as coach in the A-League so I owe them a bit of gratitude as well.
“I also understand that the role is not an easy one, it’s a privilege as the Phoenix is the only professional football club in the country – and I thoroughly enjoy my job, I love football and if I can help the Club achieve what it wants to achieve in the next few seasons then that’s a great thing.''