Teen eclipses record for youngest men’s A-League debut by Phoenix player

posted in: A-League (Men), News

New Zealand age group international Gabriel Sloane-Rodrigues has become the youngest player to play for the Wellington Phoenix in the club’s men’s A-League history.

At 16 years and 250 days, Sloane-Rodrigues came off the bench in the 89th minute of his side’s 1-0 loss to three-time champions Melbourne City at AAMI Park.

The winger replaced his captain, Alex Rufer, as the league-leading Phoenix pressed for a late equaliser.

His achievement eclipses that of the club’s previous youngest player, All White Ben Waine, who was 17 years, 1 month and 28 days when he made his debut.

Waine now plays for English Championship club Plymouth Argyle while the club’s third-youngest debutant, Liberato Cacace, plays for top-tier Italian club Empoli.

Sloane-Rodrigues played his junior football at Auckland’s East Coast Bays club before joining Auckland United for the 2021 season, and moving to Wellington in 2022.

He made his international debut in January 2023, playing for New Zealand at the Oceania U-17 Men’s Championship in Fiji.

Gabriel Sloane-Rodrigues takes on the American Samoa defence at the 2023 OFC U-17 Men’s Championship. Photo: Pita Simpson / Phototek.

His performances there, and his progress with the Phoenix, led to his selection for New Zealand at the 2023 FIFA U-17 Men’s World Cup.

Sloane-Rodrigues has been training the men’s first team at the Phoenix since pre-season for the current Isuzu UTE A-League campaign.

Main photo: Gabriel Sloane-Rodrigues … has set a new benchmark for the Phoenix men’s team.

The five youngest Phoenix men’s debutants

Source: Stuff

Gabriel Sloane-Rodrigues; 16 years, 8 months, 6 days

Ben Waine; 17 years 1 month 27 days

Liberato Cacace; 17 years 4 months 6 days

Luke Supyk; 17 years 5 months 23 days

Alex Rufer; 17 years 7 months 28 days

READ MORE: Unbeaten run comes to end for Phoenix in scorching heat of Melbourne >>>>

Match highlights


Game played on March 9, 2024

Melbourne City 1 (Samuel Souprayen 58′)
Wellington Phoenix 0


Table at 7am (NZT) on Sunday March 10.

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