Defender Tiana Jaber becomes ninth women’s A-League signing for Phoenix

posted in: A-League (Women), News

The Wellington Phoenix have signed their ninth player for next season’s women’s A-League, agreeing a new deal with Tiana Jaber.

The Australian defender joined the Phoenix midway through the 2023-24 Liberty A-League as an injury replacement and went on to play the team’s final 11 matches of the campaign, starting seven.

Main photo: Tiana Jaber … ‘I can’t wait to be part of it again.’

“I had the best time in Wellington,” Jaber (24), said.

“I was actually sad to return home to Sydney at the end of the season.

“The people that I was around, the environment, the lifestyle we had every day at training; everything was just amazing and professional, and I can’t wait to be a part of it again.”

Jaber, who has previously played for Newcastle Jets and Western United, believes she had one of her best A-League seasons in Wellington and feels like she has “unfinished business”.

“I know it’s the right environment for me to grow as a player and to keep developing.

“I’m really excited to keep moving forward under Paul (Temple) and his coaching staff.

“I’m really hoping this season I can keep starting every week and grow into the player I know I can be.

“I’m very, very excited to move back and get back to work with the Nix and hopefully we’ll make the finals this season.”

Tiana Jaber is likely to be a fully-fledged international footballer by the time the new A-League season starts, having been called up to a training camp with Lebanon this month.

“It’s my first national team camp. We’re going to be training and hopefully playing a friendly game.”

Jaber was born in Australia but is eligible for Lebanon through her father and also Italy through her mother.

“My culture is everything to me. It’s who I am.

“I am proud to be Italian and Lebanese, and it’ll be a dream come true to represent Lebanon, Italy or Australia.”

Paul Temple … ‘She fitted in really well.’

Phoenix head coach Paul Temple says it was a simple decision to bring Jaber back.

“We’re super impressed with Tiana as a person and as a player,” Temple said.

“When she came in after Christmas she added so much value across everything we were doing.

“We really loved her mentality, competitive spirit and edge. She ended up playing a lot of minutes for us and I think she fitted in really well.

“At the end of the season, it was really a no-brainer re-sign her, and I’m delighted she was so keen to come back.”

Jaber has followed fellow centre backs Rebecca Lake and Marisa van der Meer in re-signing with the Phoenix, giving Temple a number of defensive options.

“Tiana has that ability to play centre back, play in a back three and play fullback as well.

“Knowing she can cover off a few different positions and a few different shapes is another reason we wanted to bring her back.”

Players signed for next season

Phoenix women’s head coach Paul Temple has nine players contracted for the 2024-25 A-League season, with discussions continuing with other off-contract players.

The players signed are Tiana Jaber, Emma Main, Marisa van der Meer, Mackenzie Barry, Olivia Ingham,  Zoe McMeeken, Manaia Elliott, Daisy Brazendale and Rebecca Lake.

READ MORE: Wellington Phoenix agree new contract to keep forward Emma Main >>>>

READ MORE: Defender Marisa van der Meer signs new deal with Wellington Phoenix >>>>

READ MORE: Wellington Phoenix sign new deal with women’s vice captain Rebecca Lake >>>>

Players who are leaving

Players who have departed the Wellington Phoenix after the expiry of their contracts include Football Ferns Kate Taylor and Grace Wisnewski.

American imports Mariana Speckmaier, Hope Breslin and Hailey Davidson have left, with Davidson signing for hometown club Dallas Trinity who will play in the new USL Super League.

Last season’s leading scorer Speckmaier has signed for A-League rivals Melbourne City.

Forward Kelli Brown becomes a free agent after completing her second stint at the Phoenix.

READ MORE: Midfielders Grace Wisnewski and Hope Breslin leave Wellington Phoenix >>>>

READ MORE: Out-of-contract Kate Taylor and Kelli Brown to leave Wellington Phoenix >>>>

READ MORE: Wellington Phoenix fullback heads home to Dallas to join new pro’ league club>>>>

READ MORE: Melbourne City unveil Mariana Speckmaier as new season signing >>>>

This story was first published on July 5, 2024.

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