Sidelined goalkeeper Lily Alfeld is returning to the Wellington Phoenix in a new role.
The experienced former national U-17 and U-20 ‘keeper has been appointed the Phoenix’s operations executive while she recovers from a debilitating back injury.
Alfeld, who was the women’s club captain for the past two years, requires surgery and won’t be able to play for the Nix in the upcoming Liberty A-League season.
As well as being able to do her rehab under the supervision of Phoenix staff at the New Zealand Campus of Innovation and Sport (NZCIS), she will work across the club.
Alfeld (28) will assist academy operations over the coming months and will become the Phoenix’s culture and values lead.
‘Lily has an incredible impact on people’
Phoenix general manager David Dome is delighted Alfeld has accepted the new role.
“Lily has all of the attributes we want to see from Wellington Phoenix players and staff, and was a fitting winner of the Lloyd Morrison Spirit of the Phoenix award last season,” Dome said.
“While knee and back injuries prevented her from playing, she continued to lead the team from the sidelines and her positivity never wavered.
“Lily has an incredible impact on all the people she comes into contact with and the club is better for having her around.
“She will be a tremendous help to the academy during what is an incredibly busy time at Fraser Park, and is the perfect person to develop the club culture and values work we started in August.”
‘Exciting to still be involved with the Phoenix’
Lily Alfeld has thanked Phoenix management for her new off-field role.
“I’m very grateful to the club for finding a spot for me and it’s exciting to still be involved with the Phoenix in some capacity,” Alfeld said. I’m grateful to the chance to still be around the team.
“From a post-playing career point of view I’m also looking forward to getting more experience in sports administration.
“I spent a couple of months training at the academy last year, but it’ll be really interesting to see how it operates.”
Alfeld graduated from Louisiana State University with a degree in general business and a sports administration minor, and has worked as a legal secretary and legal assistant in between her football commitments.
“I’ve worked in administrative roles before, but nothing in the sports world.
“It’s always been my long-term goal to work in sports administration, so this is a really good foot in the door and gives me experience in that space.”
Update on Alfeld’s rehab programme
But she still plans to return to the playing field once her back problems are behind her.
“I’m doing a lot better. I have a lot more mobility now, but unfortunately it hasn’t healed to the point that I’d be able to get back to my football anytime soon so I am still going ahead with the surgery.
“I’m really excited to get that out of the way and then move on to rehab.”
Lily Alfeld will start her new role on Monday (October 9), with the women’s and men’s National League Championship and girls’ and boys’ youth national league seasons all in full swing.