Phoenix sign goalkeeper Carolina Vilão from Portugese title winners Benfica

posted in: A-League (Women), News

The Wellington Phoenix have signed Portuguese U-23 goalkeeper Carolina Vilão for their 2024-25 women’s A-League campaign.

Vilão (23) has left S.L. Benfica where she won eight trophies, including four Portuguese league titles, and played in the UEFA Women’s Champions League.

Main photo: Carolina Vilão … ‘I’ve been used to winning a lot.’

She becomes the first new signing for the Phoenix ahead of the new season, following the departures of goalkeepers Brianna Edwards and Rylee Foster.

READ MORE: Wellington Phoenix ‘keepers Brianna Edwards and Rylee Foster to leave club >>>>

Phoenix head coach Paul Temple said: “I think it’s exciting that we can sign a player from a club like Benfica that plays in the Champions League and we’re able to attract a player like Carolina to the club.

“That sort of experience is massively valuable but she’s also young and hungry.

“Bringing in players with ambition, desire to improve and will to win is important for the team and its growth.

“She’s also a very technical and modern European goalkeeper.”

Paul Temple … ‘Her ability in possession is really key.’

One of Vilão’s strengths is her ability to play with her feet and she will aid the team’s “evolution” this season.

“We played a selective style last year with the ‘small ball’ but we didn’t do lot of building out from the ‘keeper.

“Carolina’s very calm on the ball, good with both feet, picks passes through the lines and breaks pressure.

“Her ability in possession is really key, as well as obviously being a good all-round goalkeeper.”

Carolina Vilão had to bide her time as the number two ‘keeper at Benfica and hopes the Phoenix can help launch her career.

“It’s time for me to move on so I can grow a little bit more,” Vilão said.

“I was at Benfica for six years, and I grew a lot because I went there as a young player, and now I’ve become a woman.

“It was a good experience playing for the under-23 national team and playing in the women’s Champions League and maybe one day I’ll come back to do that again.

“But now it’s time to be great in another place. I’m looking to further my career and do the best I can for the Phoenix.

“I want this move to be a success and hopefully it’ll be good for both sides, me and the club.”

Vilão believes she can add a lot to Paul Temple’s squad.

“I always think of the team first, and I’m a player that really wants to win. I’ve been used to winning a lot.

“I’m also a hard worker, I’m committed and I’m consistent.”

She hopes those attributes will help her become a fully-fledged Portuguese international in the future.

“For every player in every country, the ultimate goal is to represent the national team at senior level, and that’s a big thing for me.

“It’s a dream for me and the work you put in at club level helps it become a reality.

“First, I have to think about playing well for the Phoenix and then I can think about it.”

Players signed for next season

Phoenix women’s head coach Paul Temple has 10 players contracted for the 2024-25 A-League season, with discussions continuing with other off-contract players.

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

READ MORE: Defender Tiana Jaber becomes ninth women’s A-League signing for Phoenix >>>>

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.

Goalkeepers Rylee Foster and Brianna Edwards have become free agents and have left the Phoenix.

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

READ MORE: Wellington Phoenix ‘keepers Brianna Edwards and Rylee Foster to leave club >>>>

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 11, 2024.

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