The Wellington Phoenix are pleased to confirm that 23-year-old defender James McGarry has re-signed with the Club for the 2021/22 A-League season.
I’m massively looking forward to getting back to Wellington and playing at Sky Stadium; I can’t wait to step out on the pitch again in front of the crowd and the Yellow Fever and put in performances with the team.
Mosgiel-born McGarry joined the Nix in October last year, playing in 22 matches – including 15 starts – as a key member of the squad, tallying three assists as a specialist left back and showing a strong feel for the game.
This week, McGarry was also named as a non-travelling reserve for the New Zealand OlyWhites football squad for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Wellington Phoenix head coach Ufuk Talay says that McGarry is a welcome addition back to the squad, as it prepares for the 2021/22 A-League season.
“Jimmy was good for us as an attacking left back this past season, he’s got some solid attributes at that position which helps the squad,” says Talay.
“It’s good for the Club to have players like Jimmy – who played a lot of minutes for us this past season - locked in early as we start preparing for next season; it gives us that added consistency in the squad and familiarity between all the returning players.
“I’m excited for next season and bringing back the core of a squad which has the potential to achieve some great things.”
McGarry says that despite the challenges Covid presented to the Phoenix last season, he enjoyed his time with the Phoenix and playing in the A-League.
“I’m really happy and excited to sign on with the Phoenix for another season, I enjoyed last season in Wollongong and got on well with the other players,” says McGarry.
“It took me a few games to adjust into the A-League, but having the pre-season in Australia probably helped me adjust a bit both physically and mentally, just preparing for the weather – I haven’t really played anywhere that had similar humidity to that.
“I’m comfortable playing at this level and I’m looking forward to pushing myself really hard and having a really big year.”
McGarry says that he is anticipating a relatively ‘normal’ campaign next season.
“I’m happy to be back in New Zealand [next season], back in Wellington where we belong – I’m looking forward to getting stuck into pre-season in the next couple of weeks, it’ll just be good to catch up with the boys and get back into work.
“It’s a new season coming up so it’ll be good to come into the pre-season, starting fresh and setting new goals for the season and working really hard with the boys.
“And it’s good we’ve kept the vast majority of our squad from last season; I definitely believe there’s enough quality there to push top six and even further.”
Playing in front of a packed Sky Stadium crowd is something that McGarry believes will play a big role in the Phoenix's success next season.
“I’m massively looking forward to getting back to Wellington and playing at Sky Stadium; I can’t wait to step out on the pitch again in front of the crowd and the Yellow Fever and put in performances with the team.
“And just to enjoy playing football back at home, which we’ve really missed for the past 6-7 months – coming back in May for the Wellington and Auckland games, the support we got then was amazing; over 20,000 fans in the stadiums cheering us on, it’s what football is all about.
“So I know myself and the boys are absolutely buzzing to get back out on the pitch and play in front of the fans.”