July 16, 2012
WPX/WELLINGTON – All Whites central defender Michael Boxall is officially a Wellington Phoenix player.
The A-League club has been negotiating with the recently released former Vancouver Whitecaps player in recent weeks and today it confirmed Boxall had signed a two-year deal.
Phoenix head coach Ricki Herbert described Boxall’s signing as important, saying he would provide cover, and competition, for the central defensive pairing of Andrew Durante and Ben Sigmund.
“Michael is a big, strong, quick defender who has impressed me when I’ve had him in All Whites squads,” Herbert said.
“He has been playing in a good league and I’m confident he will be quickly up to speed with the A-League.”
Boxall said he was “very excited” to be joining the Phoenix.
“I’ve heard what a close-knit squad the club has, and I already know a handful of the lads through the All Whites, so I’m sure I will quickly settle down there,” Boxall said from Vancouver.
“New Zealand has come a long way on the professional football front thanks to the Phoenix and I’m grateful to get the chance to play for Ricki and the club.”
After playing his early football in New Zealand with Central United, Three Kings United and Ellerslie – and a brief stint with Auckland City – Boxall spent three years in the United States with the University of California Santa Barbara Gauchos.
In 2011 he was selected first overall in the MLS Supplemental Draft by Vancouver Whitecaps, but after being part of the starting line up early on he found himself on the sidelines.
“Vancouver is a great spot to live, but the football has been a bit disappointing in the last few months,” Boxall said.
“I was out of favour with the coach and while I tried to do all the right things it didn’t make any difference.
“When it gets like that it is time to move on and fortunately the Phoenix were keen to have me.
“I’m not sure when I will be in Wellington as I have a few things to sort out over here, but so far as I am concerned the sooner the better.”
Boxall made his All Whites debut against Mexico in 2011 and has played seven internationals for New Zealand. He also represented New Zealand at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.