Striker David Ball is staying with the Wellington Phoenix — and wouldn’t mind a crack at becoming an All White.
The popular English forward has signed a two-year contract extension with the Phoenix, extending his stay in Wellington until the end of the 2024/25 Isuzu UTE A-League season.
He says he loves living in Wellington and if he can get New Zealand citizenship, he would fancy the chance to represent his new country.
“You never know, if I’m fit enough and I’m good enough I could possibly play for the All Whites,” he says.
“It’s something I’m serious about. I’ve seen other players like Andrew Durante do it and in a couple of years’ time if I do get my citizenship it’ll be an amazing story.”
Main photo: David Ball (right) playing for the Phoenix at Auckland’s Eden Park in April. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.
‘I love the club’
Ball joined the Phoenix in 2019 and has played a major role in the Nix qualifying for the finals in two of his three seasons.
He has also shown his dedication to the team, playing with knee and toe injuries over the past two years.
“I love the club and I’ve loved playing in Wellington so it makes sense for me to stay and continue on as long as I can,” Ball said.
“There are good people throughout the club and that’s hard to find in football.
“Obviously I wanted to commit to the Phoenix and the club wanted to commit to me as well so for both parties it was perfect.
“We’ve been through a lot together and it’s a good commitment from both sides.”
‘He (Talay) is the best I’ve worked under in my career’
The 32-year-old believes the best is still to come for him and the club.
“The current crop of Phoenix players are special and I want to be a part of it for many years to come.
“Ever since the manager walked through the door he’s been amazing to play for and I’ve loved working under him. He’s the best I’ve worked under in my career.
“We’ve obviously done fantastically well over the last couple of years playing away from home and if we can get back to normality, we’ll have a good chance for success.”
Ball has played 78 matches for the Phoenix, but only 14 of them have been in New Zealand.
“I’m really excited to get back, continue my life in Wellington and play some home games.
“We’ve missed two years of playing football in front of the fans and I’ve enjoyed playing in front of the Yellow Fever and all of our supporters.”
‘My family and I have loved every minute of our time in Wellington’
He has been forced to spend long periods of time away from his wife and kids over the past two years and is looking forward to some stability.
“My family and I have loved every minute of our time in Wellington and we are buzzing to call the city our home for the next three years,” Ball said.
“We’ve been through so much over the last couple of years and I owe it to my wife and kids to be settled.”
Ball can see his family settling in Wellington long-term.
“It gives us a chance to hopefully get our citizenship.”
Talay: ‘He’s a great character’
Ball has been with the Phoenix since Ufuk Talay took over as head coach and has only missed seven matches in three seasons.
“The back end of the season he was playing with injections in his toe and it shows how committed he is towards the club and how committed he is towards the club trying to have success,” Talay said.
“He’s a great character, he’s got a good head on his shoulders and he’s a family man as well which coaches love too.
“It’s great that the club is continuing with him and the way he’s going he’ll end up being a Phoenix legend.”
This story is reproduced with the assistance of the Wellington Phoenix.