Alyssa Whinham’s mental shift nets new Phoenix deal

Alyssa Whinham thought her time with the Wellington Phoenix women in the A-League was over after last season.

Instead, the 20-year-old attacking midfielder has signed a new contract with the Phoenix through to 2026.

Whinham has played 38 matches for the Phoenix over the past three years but had to fight for minutes under coach Paul Temple last season.

“I’ve been here from the start and I’ve been through a lot, and I’ve developed a lot as a player and a person,” Whinham said.

“I remember walking out at Porirua Park for our last game and I thought that was my time up. To have two more years, I’m very glad. I’m going to use this to really prove myself in this league.”

The former New Zealand U-20 international struggled for regular minutes at the start of the last campaign.

“I went through a very low point where I didn’t really want to play football.

“I had a big mentality change, took a wee break, then came back. It developed me a lot. It was a character-building thing.”

Whinham finished the season strongly, starting six of the team’s last seven games.

“I worked really hard mentally to make sure I am in a good place where I am confident, because then I can really add to the team. When I am confident, I can be myself and I can score goals.

“I knew I loved football and that football is what I want to do. The hard work paid off in the end.”

Whinham was happy to continue working with Temple, who will become the first Phoenix head coach to lead the side in multiple seasons.

“We know what Paul’s like. We know how he wants to play.

“It’s nice that he’s sticking around and we don’t need to worry about the next coach.”

Temple was pleased to keep “one of the best young Kiwis around”.

“She’s really important for our future because she’s that creative midfield player,” Temple said.

“She really found her feet and was contributing massively to games in the second half of the season particularly.”

Temple has heralded the two-year deal, saying it gave both Whinham and the club stability.

“Her life is with the Phoenix now, and so she can focus on her game and continual growth.”

Whinham is the 11th player under contract with the Wellington Phoenix women for the 2024-25 season, with discussions continuing with other off-contract players.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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