Former Western Suburbs ‘keeper Kees Sims moves to top-tier Swedish club

New Zealand age group international goalkeeper Kees Sims has signed a three-year deal with Swedish club GAIS.

Sims (20) has joined the Gothenburg club after a move from third-tier club Ljungskile SK who he joined in 2022 and made more than 40 appearances between the posts.

GAIS play in Sweden’s top competition, Allsvenskan, after winning promotion in 2023.

Main photo: Kees Sims … steps up two divisions to join GAIS. Photo credit: GAIS.

Sims has represented New Zealand at U-20 and U-23 levels, and was a member of the squad that went to the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Argentina.

Sims played his youth football with Wellington’s Western Suburbs and Wellington Phoenix before heading overseas at the end of the 2021 season.

During the Swedish off-season, in January 2023, Sims trained with English Premier League club Leicester City.

GAIS technical director, Magnus Sköldmark, said: “Kees has been training with us at the end of the year and doing well. He is a young and talented goalkeeper with great potential, and we see that he will add a lot to our goalkeeping line-up.”

Sims told the club’s website: “In 2022, I played against GAIS at Gamla Ullevi and it was my first experience of a big arena and a lot of supporters. I didn’t let go of that feeling, so when I learned that GAIS was interested in me, I immediately came back to that awesome memory.”

Of the step up he’ll make from third-tier to first, Sims said: “It is probably a much faster game, more demanding when it comes to focus, speed and directness. Both from coaches and fellow players.”

Asked what made him stand out as a goalkeeper, Sims said: “I’m loud! I always get comments about that from those who watch me play, and people have been telling me that since I was a kid. I was an outfield player until I was 14 so I am very involved in the game and am sure on my feet.”

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