Phoenix re-sign an international aspirant after successful stint on injury-replacement deal

Wellington Phoenix have re-signed Australian defender Tiana Jaber for the 2024-25 Liberty A-League season.

The 24-year-old initially joined the ‘Nix on an injury-replacement contract midway through the 2023-24 campaign, making 11 consecutive appearances to close out the season.

Jaber’s impressive form during the latter part of her first season in Wellington caught the eye of head coach Paul Temple, ensuring her return to the club for a full season in 2024-25.

“I had the best time in Wellington,” Jaber said. “I was actually sad to return home to Sydney at the end of the season.

“The people around me, the environment, and the lifestyle we had every day at training were just amazing and professional. I can’t wait to be part of it again.

“I know it’s the right environment for me to grow as a player and keep developing. I’m really excited to continue progressing under Paul (Temple) and his coaching staff.

“I’m hoping to 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,” Jaber added. “Hopefully, we’ll make the finals this season.”

Born in Australia to a Lebanese father and Italian mother, Jaber is determined to become a fully-fledged international in the next phase of her career. She has the opportunity to achieve that goal before the new Liberty A-League campaign, having been called into an international 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 said.

“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,” Jaber expressed.

Jaber is the third player to re-sign with Wellington ahead of the new season, joining Rebecca Lake and Marisa van der Meer. Head coach Paul Temple highlighted the significance of securing Jaber’s return due to her versatility.

“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 to re-sign her, and I’m delighted she was so keen to come back. Tiana has the ability to play center back, in a back three, and fullback as well. Knowing she can cover a few different positions and shapes is another reason we wanted to bring her back.”

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