Auckland City have signed a winger with more than 10 seasons’ experience in the professional Chinese Super League.
He’s Zhou Tong (33) who has moved to New Zealand after playing most recently for Tinjin Jinmen Tiger who play at the 54,000-capacity Tianjin Olympic Center.
Tong has relocated to Auckland to support his wife who is doing a Master’s degree at a local college.
“During my career my family has always given me the greatest support, especially my wife so coming to New Zealand helps support her goals.
“I want to give my wife the best support I can, and now I can continue to play football for a team that aspires to high standards,” he told Auckland City’s media team.
Auckland City FC assistant coach Ivan Vicelich played in China with Shenzhen Ruby more than a decade ago and knows how tough the Chinese Super League can be and what attributes Zhou brings to Kiwitea Street.
“We’ve had many people turn up at Kiwitea Street over the years who were exploring interesting life opportunities and could also play a bit of football,” Vicelich said.
“I’m thinking of Ki-Hyung Lee and even Albert Riera, guys who had played the game but were curious about what Auckland City FC was about, what New Zealand was about as a country.
“Tong fits right into the same category — he’s got a great personality, speaks very good English and he’s played at the highest level but now he’s all about supporting his wife through her degree.
“The timing for everyone is excellent and we’re very happy to receive Tong into our squad and look forward to the season ahead.”
Tong’s dream is to play at the FIFA Club World Cup and hopes he can realise that objective with City.