All Whites defender Nikko Boxall has signed with the Wellington Phoenix for the rest of the men’s A-League season.
The Phoenix have signed the experienced defender from Auckland City and he could go straight into the squad for Sunday’s isuzu-UTE A-League game against Macarthur.
Boxall (30), has played professionally in Germany, Finland, Denmark and the United States. since graduating from Northwestern University in 2015.
He has six full international caps.
Main photo: Nikko Boxall at the Phoenix training ground in Upper Hutt.
Phoenix head coach Ufuk Talay has welcomed Boxall to the club.
“We’re excited to be able to add a player of Nikko’s calibre to the squad,” Talay said.
“He’s got a lot of experience and he adds depth to our back four.
“The injury to Scottie (Wootton) and Payney’s (Tim Payne) suspension has tested us at the back and by signing Nikko we now have real competition for places throughout the squad.”
Boxall only re-joined Auckland City last month after 11 years playing abroad, and started for the Oceania champions in their 3-0 defeat to El Ahly at the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco last week.
“When I committed for the Club World Cup I told them I’d still be looking at something professional,” Boxall said.
“I still feel like I have got a lot to give and want to be in that professional environment. I still want to improve and grow.”
It has been a whirlwind move for the centre back, who trained with the Phoenix for the first time today.
“I got back on Saturday, got a call on Sunday and flew down on Monday so it was pretty quick, but I’m looking forward to it.
“It’s definitely nice to be in New Zealand and you can’t beat Wellington on a good day.”
He is following in the footsteps of his older brother Michael Boxall, who played 39 A-League matches for the Phoenix from 2012-2015.
“I just let him know that I was on my way to the airport to go to Wellington and he was like ‘is that what I think it’s for’ and…we had a good little chat.
“I visited him once when he was down here so I know the club fairly well.
“I was also down here late last year for a PFA meeting, so I got to see the new facilities and everything. They’re unreal.”
Boxall wants to be a leader within the Phoenix dressing room.
“I feel young, but I understand that I’ve had a bit of experience.
“I’ve stepped into some leadership roles over the last few years, so I’ll bring that leadership to help the younger guys and help raise the level.
“Also defensively help solidify the back a little bit more and add some depth.”
Nikko Boxall will wear the no.15 shirt for the Phoenix.