The Wellington Phoenix have signed young full back, Liberato Cacace, and re-signed club Captain, Andrew Durante, for the Hyundai A-League season 2018/19.
Cacace, a Phoenix Academy graduate who has been in the club’s youth programme for four years, signs on a two year deal, with Club Captain, Andrew Durante, re-signing on a one season deal.
Phoenix General Manager, David Dome said the club was thrilled to have secured the services of the two players for next season.
All time A-League appearance record holder, Andrew Durante’s leadership and experience was seen as crucial as the club moves forward.
‘’Dura brings leadership on and off field and is hugely respected within the playing group’’, Dome said.
‘’Besides giving us some real solidity to build around, Dura is also taking up a part management role off the field to assist the team in commercial, marketing and community initiatives.
‘’Dura is currently in the United States on some professional development funded by the club, and we are looking forward to him returning with some learnings to help us build into next season.’’
Making his debut for the club last season, Liberato Cacace impressed with his resolute defending and driving runs forward from deep, and his signing signals the clubs intent to bring through young, New Zealand players
‘’We are extremely proud of the quality of players coming through our Academy programme, and Libby has been a shining light in our youth set up in recent years.
“Libby is extremely dedicated and hard-working and in his A-League appearances to date has shown what a quality player he is, with the potential to grow further into something really special.’’
Dome added that the signing of the two players was consistent with statements made by the club that the build up to season 18/19 was continuing unabated despite public comment on the club’s future.
‘’There has been immense speculation around the club in recent weeks.
‘’While this is not helpful, we as a club cannot control media speculation, but we can remain committed to working hard to pull together a competitive playing squad for next season.
‘’Libby is in Hong Kong for the Hong Kong Soccer Sevens with a number of other promising young New Zealand players, we are working on our pre-season trip to Beijing in July and have a few other pre-season plans that are being looked at.
‘’As the club has consistently said in statements to media, the club is not for sale, we are not selling the licence and we are focused on building through the off season.
The club has not changed its position on these points.
"We are continuing to build into the season 18/19 in a number of areas, including working very hard to finalise the appointment of our new Head Coach."