In-form striker to rejoin Wellington Phoenix after 23-goal season in Australia

posted in: A-League (Women), News

National age group international forward Kelli Brown has forced her way back into the women’s A-League, returning to the Wellington Phoenix after missing out on a contract last year.

The young forward, who was a member of the inaugural Wellington Phoenix women’s squad, has signed with the club for the 2023-24 season after missing out on a contract last year.

Brown (22) was a member of the inaugural Phoenix women’s squad but moved to Australia last year.

Main photo: Kelli Brown … returning to the A-League. Photo: David Joseph /

READ MORE: Age group international striker Kelli Brown signs for top New South Wales club >>>>

She has earned back her place in the Phoenix squad after scoring 23 goals in 26 matches for Macarthur Rams in the National Premier Leagues (NPL) New South Wales women’s competition this year, finishing a close second in the golden boot race.

‘Kelli’s scored goals wherever she’s been’

Phoenix head coach Paul Temple says Brown has “been too good to not sign”.

“Kelli’s scored goals wherever she’s been,” Temple said. “She scored goals for New Zealand at the under-17 World Cup, in the national league last year and has been one of the top scorers in the NPL this year. It makes it hard to ignore her.

“We were also looking for somebody that is quite versatile. She’s played as a wide forward predominantly this season but she has also played as a striker for Macarthur so she gives us some options up front.

“Kelli’s going to suit the way we want to play and she’s in really good goalscoring form so she’s going to come into pre-season on the back of a really strong NPL season, where she’s outscoring other really high quality A-League players.”

She’s been smashing in the goals

Brown was a key member of the history-making team that finished third at the 2018 U-17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay, and now has the chance to prove herself at the A-League level again.

“Kelli’s done all she could to get recognised again. It shows a lot of maturity.

“When you have a little bit of a setback, and you don’t get re-signed, the best thing you can do is go and make a point, and what a way for her to do it.

“She’s been smashing in the goals in NPL, so she deserves a chance to come back in and show us what she can do.”

Kelli Brown hopes to be a regular goal scorer for the Wellington Phoenix.

“That’s the aim of the game, and I don’t see why not,” Brown said.

“Going off the season that I’ve just had, hopefully I can bring some goal scoring.

“I’m also looking forward to reconnecting with some of the girls and picking up where we left off. It’ll be good to get back and gel.”

Injury and concussion disrupted first spell at Phoenix

She was limited to just six appearances in the Phoenix women’s maiden season because of an ankle injury and concussion.

“It was pretty rocky, but it also gave me an opportunity to be a part of a professional environment and see it from a different perspective.

“I’m still grateful that I was able to be part of that first team.

“Now I’m hopefully going to see it from the other side too. I’m super excited to be able to come back and give it another crack.”

Brown has relished being injury-free in 2023.

“It’s been wicked to be back playing. I’ve been able to find my feet again and enjoy what I’m doing.

“I’ve been concentrating on the stuff outside of football to be able to make sure I’m staying strong.”

And she is grateful to have been given the opportunity to play for Macarthur Rams in NPL NSW.

Brown: ‘It was hard not being part of the Phoenix last season’

“It was kind of scary at the start, but it’s been really cool and everyone over here has been really welcoming.

“It was hard not being part of the Phoenix last season, but I’ve been able to go away, work and do what I needed to do to get back.

“To be able to be back with the girls on home soil is exciting.”

Kelli Brown will join the Wellington Phoenix after the NPL NSW playoffs, with the second-placed Macarthur Rams to play third-placed North West Sydney Spirit in a semi-final on Sunday.

Brown is represented by the Lee Fratelli agency, based in Auckland/Sydney.

The majority of the Phoenix squad have started assembling in Wellington, with pre-season training starting on Friday.


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

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