Phoenix make first big signing since player exodus, All Whites keeper Stefan Marinovic joins for two years

The Wellington Phoenix have announced their first signing after the player exodus they suffered at the end of the season with All Whites goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic joining the club on a two-year deal.

All Whites keeper Stefan Marinovic. Source: Photosport

The Phoenix announced this morning Marinovic will join the club after a short stint playing for Bristol City in the English Football League Championship.

He previously played in the MLS and in Germany. 

"I’ve always wanted to return back to New Zealand to play at some point, whether that was now or in a couple of years, it didn’t really matter, but it’s great that this opportunity has come around now," Marinovic said.

"My family, especially my Dad is really happy that I’m coming home as I’ve been away for ten years so the opportunity to play back on home soil and see my family more often gives me more of a drive.

It's an important signing for new Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay, who still has plenty of holes to fill in his new squad.

"I’m delighted to have signed a number one goalkeeper that brings a lot of experience into the team.

"For us, he’ll be an exceptional leader inside the box and a great shot stopper as part of our backline."

The Phoenix lost nine players after making the playoffs for the first time this year since the 2014-15 season.

Along with star player Roy Krishna's departure, they also lost manager Mark Rudan who has since announced he will lead expansion club Western United FC.

But Rudan's successor, Talay, says adding Marinovic will help both on and off the field for the rebuilding club, who also lost impressive keeper Filip Kurto after just one season in Wellington. 

"To have Stefan’s international pedigree will further add to our number of talented homegrown players within the club."

Marinovic will join the club when pre-season commences in July.