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Marco Rojas returns to Wellington Phoenix for 2024/25 season


Over a decade following his departure from the Wellington Phoenix, star All Whites winger Marco Rojas will return to the club that started his professional football career for the 2024/25 A-League season.

Rojas was a product of Wynton Rufer's 'Wynrs' football academy as a junior - but it wasn't until 2009 when he received his big break. The teenaged Rojas signed his first pro contract after receiving a youth scholarship via the club's 'Yellow Fever' supporters club that allowed the Hamilton native to train with the first team.

He made 21 A-League appearances for Wellington before making the move to join Melbourne Victory in 2011 for three seasons. During that time, Rojas was awarded the Johnny Warren Medal as the league's best player in 2013.

Following that season, Rojas looked to apply his trade in Europe, landing in various German, Swiss, Dutch and Danish leagues. In between the numerous clubs including Stuttgart, he also returned for a further two more stints with the Victory, before making 13 appearances for Chilean club Colo-Colo.

Most recently, the now 32-year-old played for the Brisbane Roar last season but is now looking forward to returning to New Zealand to continue his career, acknowledging the Phoenix played a big part in his formative years.

“I recognise the importance they played in the scholarship that first got me going as a professional footballer,” Rojas said in a statement.

“My family and I still talk about the Yellow Fever and the financial commitment they made, the ‘Retro Ricki’ car we had for the week or two in Wellington and the trip to Queenstown to play Melbourne.

“If it wasn’t for the scholarship I would have had a very different path to professional football.

“I’m very grateful for the start the Yellow Fever gave me and even though I left I hope they can still see it as a special thing that I’m coming back.”

The Phoenix enjoyed their most successful regular season campaign as an A-League franchise in 2023-24, finishing second with a 15-8-4 (win-draw-loss) record, just two points shy of minor premiership winners and current champions, the Central Coast Mariners.

The Wellington club has enjoyed a resurgence, led by head coach Giancarlo Italiano and Rojas is confident that his return can strengthen their chances, with plenty to offer on and off the field.

“I’m able to have that hope and belief because of what I’ve seen from the outside with the Phoenix under Chiefy. From the outside in it looks like a great place to be," Rojas said.

“I also got to go to Wellington to talk to Chiefy and spend some time with him. I recognise what a great person he is and I’m very hopeful that we can win together.

“I certainly believe it and I’ll be doing everything I can to make it happen.”

Rojas will also return to wearing the No. 21 shirt for the club. Italiano is bouyed by the Phoenix's most recent signing and what it could mean for both parties moving forward.

“I’m really excited because of the amount of talent Marco has,” Italiano said.

“My goal is I want to get him close to where he was in the 2016-17 A-League season, which I think was his best season, and I think we can do that here.

“We’re the right club for him to thrive. We’re going to give him the freedom to play and express himself.

“If we can get a fit Marco firing he’s going to help the team’s progression in the way we play, and I think we can definitely be better stylistically than we were last season.”

Rival club Auckland FC announced on Monday the appointment of Jonathan Gould. The Phoenix's former goalkeeper coach enjoyed three stints with the Wellington club in 2009, 2012-15, and briefly returned in 2021 before returning to the UK for family reasons.


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