Wellington Phoenix and Wellington United have announced that they have entered into a strategic partnership to further develop the next level of football talent in New Zealand.
The partnership will see the two clubs partner on player development with the Phoenix playing it's Academy and Premiers (ASB Premiership) side through the winter under the Wellington United Club.
Phoenix General Manager David Dome said that the initiative is an important step in the development plans for New Zealand's only professional football club.
"All the best international programmes and research show that young players need to playing 40+ competitive games a year at the highest possible level.
"The winter season was the last part of our development programme that wasn't in place. This alliance with Wellington United will enable our young development players to get the competitive game time they need.
"Given that our Premiers team plays the majority of its games at Newtown and that our coaches and medical facilities are based at Newtown Park, as is Wellington United, then the partnership makes a lot of sense logistically as well."
Wellington United Chairman Anthony Mumby said that the association with the Phoenix was win-win for both Clubs.
"Our Club and its members have been loyal supporters of the Wellington Phoenix since the start-up back in 2005, sharing our training, playing and hosting facilities with them for some time now.
“We are very excited at the new venture, it's a real positive step forward for us as a club, and for the opportunities it presents to our junior and senior club as well.
“It's certainly going to make for an event filled 2015 for us, but I am positive both clubs have the commitment and desire to make this a very successful relationship."
Capital Football, the local football federation which controls the competition the teams will play in, understands the benefits of the partnership for football in the region and has been kept informed throughout the development of the partnership.
At A Glance:
Diamonds Football Club was formed in 1893. In 1964, Wellington United was formed from Zealandia, a club built around a strong Dutch player base.
In 1968, Diamonds Football Club and Wellington United merged to become Wellington Diamond United.
In 1976, 1981 and 1986 Wellington Diamond United were winners of the then National League competition.
In 1986 Wellington Diamond United and Wellington City merge to form Wellington United AFC as it is known today.
Wellington United last season had 9 Senior Men's teams, 4 Senior Women's teams and 22 Junior sides.