Wellington Phoenix sign three-year deal with teenage midfielder Fin Conchie

New Zealand U-20 international midfielder Fin Conchie is the latest Wellington Phoenix academy player to graduate to the professional ranks.

Conchie (19) has signed a three-year contract with the Phoenix, joining reserves team-mate Lukas Kelly-Heald in the men’s first team squad for the upcoming 2023-24 Isuzu UTE A-League.

Hehas been a key member of the reserves side for the past two years and played every minute of New Zealand’s matches at this year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup in Argentina.

Main photo: Fin Conchie plays for the reserves against Auckland City in last season’s men’s National League. Photo: Jackie Tran Van / Phototek.

Coach Italiano: ‘He has all the qualities to step up’

He has been training with the first team for the past month and has impressed Phoenix head coach Giancarlo Italiano.

“Since Fin’s joined us from the reserves he’s done exceptionally well at training and in our internal games,” Italiano said.

“I wanted to see how he coped in the environment with the senior players, and he’s adapted well to the pace, so for me, it was a no-brainer to sign him.

“We feel Fin has all the qualities to make the next step up. He’s a smart player, good in tight areas, technically sound, and he’s versatile. He’s a six but he can also potentially play as a 10.”

Originally from Hamilton, Conchie played his junior football at Claudelands Rovers and Melville United before moving to Wellington in 2019 to join the Phoenix academy.

“To sign my first pro contract with the Phoenix is a very proud moment,” he said.

“I moved away from home when I was 15 to join the Phoenix academy, so the club is really close to my heart.

“Because I’m a Kiwi through and through, and I have no other passport, I always saw the Phoenix as the place where I’d begin my career and progress into professional football.

“I’ve really enjoyed playing for the club over the last four and a half years, and this is the next step in my career, which is just starting.”

Conchie has paid tribute to his parents, Sheryl Roa and Pat Conchie, and academy coaches Chris Greenacre and Steve Coleman for helping him fulfil his dream of being a professional footballer.

“My parents were the ones who really pushed for me to leave home to pursue my career, and at 15-years-old I wasn’t too keen on leaving home to go off and do football by myself.

“They sacrificed a lot for me to come down here and pursue my dream, so I definitely feel very thankful to be able to pay them back.

“I’m also fortunate to have had tremendous support from my wider whānau, as well as Sam Wilkinson and Michael Mayne, who were my coaches at Melville.

“And I have so much to thank Steve and Greeny for how I developed at the academy.

“Steve was my first academy coach when I joined, and he’s been with me the whole way through.

“Having Greeny coaching me in the reserves for the last two years has boosted my development immensely. It’s been great having that mentorship from someone who has played at the highest level and has played a lot of games for the Wellington Phoenix as well.”

The tenacious midfielder showcased his playmaking talents at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in May, providing the assists for all three of New Zealand’s goals.

“As much as I wanted us to succeed as a team at that World Cup, I wanted to perform as well so once that started to happen I definitely saw I could compete at the highest level with all the best young players in the world.

“It gave me a huge boost of confidence.”

Suspension to delay Conchie’s inclusion in line-up

Conchie is going to have to wait until late October to make his first team debut for the Phoenix.

He is currently serving a 10-match suspension for making a homophobic comment in a Central League match and won’t be able to take part in the team’s Australia Cup campaign, which starts on Friday night.

Conchie is still able to train with the squad during the week.

“It’s frustrating not being able to join the boys out on the field in a competitive match.

“But at the same time it’s allowed me to step back and look at some of the things I need to change and work on over the next couple of months so when my time does come in the A-League I can step up as best as possible.”

Fin Conchie will wear the no. 5 shirt for the Wellington Phoenix this season.

He is the men’s 17th signing for the 2023-24 Isuzu UTE A-League, with the final places in the squad to be decided over the next six weeks.


This story is published with the help of the Wellington Phoenix.

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