The Wellington Phoenix are pleased to confirm the appointment of Weijie Lim as its new Head of Strength and Conditioning (HS&C) for the 2021/22 A-League season and beyond.
Lim, 28, has spent the last six years with the Wellington Phoenix – progressing from an internship with the first team in 2015 to joining the Phoenix Academy full-time in 2018 as its Academy HS&C, in addition to being the S&C Coach for the NZ Men’s U17 squad.
Lim says that he is grateful to be provided an opportunity by the Club to step into this pivotal role.
“I’m pretty excited and honoured to be given this role; I’ve been in the Academy space for several years now and this was a stepping-stone for me to move into my dream role.”
Wellington Phoenix General Manager, David Dome says that Lim joins a growing list of Phoenix Academy success stories for the Club.
“To date our extremely successful Academy has developed a number of exceptional young football players, players who have gone on to find success with our first team and beyond after developing their skills in our Academy setting,” says Dome.
“Weijie is leading the way in our off-the-field management programme, and we’ve been thrilled as we’ve monitored his development over the past several years - he comes into a vital role for the Phoenix this coming season, and we’re confident he’ll excel for us over the next few years.”
Lim says that the HS&C role with the first team focuses on the players’ conditioning levels.
“The most important component of the role is to develop and manage the physical conditioning of the players across the season, whether that’s on the training pitch or in the gym - it’s about ensuring the players are ready to perform week in, week out.
“The main difference with this role from the Academy setting will be the age of the players – working with men as opposed to youth, moving from that youth space into the professional space.
“But there’s a lot of similarities too, as both the Academy and the first team have the same guiding principles and similar tactical elements – what we do in the Reserves team often replicates what Uffy [Coach Ufuk Talay] does in the first team.”
Lim says that the upcoming pre-season is a vital time for the players to develop their fitness.
“Pre-season is essentially where the players put in the hard yards and improve their physical capacities, whereas during the season that time is predominantly spent on managing the player’s workload so they’re physically prepared and ready for game days.
“During the season we both maintain and slightly improve the player’s physical capacities, but pre-season is where all the hard work gets done.
“Myself, the medical team and physios also tend to focus a lot on prehab and in the injury and prevention space during pre-training - we look to implement different exercises and protocols for the players based on their individual screening results.”
Lim credits the pathways the Club has put in place as one of the reasons – in addition to his hard work - that he is now in his new role with the Phoenix first team.
“The Phoenix internship was my first opportunity to gain experience at a professional football club; I learnt a lot from the previous S&C coaches over the years and I’ve also developed a few things of my own in the Academy space and from being around the first team coaches as well.
“It’s one of those things where the opportunities are very limited – especially in the S&C space in a professional environment - and there’s just not many positions available, so being able to get your foot in the door early is a key reason I was able to progress down this career path.”
Dome says that the Academy is helping to shape the future leaders and key operational staff - like Lim - for the Wellington Phoenix.
“The Academy isn’t just about developing football players, it’s also about building the skills and experience of football staff and providing them a pathway into a variety of management positions in the senior club.
“With the addition of our AUT Diploma of Sport and Recreation based at the Academy, we are now developing both on-the-field and off-the-field talent with a formal tertiary qualification; we fully expect to see future marketing, commercial and event roles being filled by graduates from within our wider Academy programme.”
Looking ahead to next season, Lim wants to build on the success of his predecessor and to play a key role in the Phoenix squad being physically prepared for another gruelling A-League season.
“I want to continue on the good work that Wivs [Aidan Wivell] had done for the first team over the past three years, he did a fantastic job dealing with the Covid pandemic and the interrupted season, the re-location in Wollongong - I just want to build on the work that he’s done with the Club.”