Australia U20 international defender Reece Caira has joined Wellington Phoenix on a two-year contract. The 20-year-old left back spent the latter part of 2012/13 in the A-League at Western Sydney Wanderers where he made two appearances. Caira was part of the Young Socceroos at the recent U20 World Cup though he was an unused substitute in each of his country's three group stage games.
Having spent several years in Aston Villa's youth system, Caira returned to Australia early in 2013 to find first team football. He explained the process in a club press release:
"I got to see England and got a close look at how the professionals worked. It put me in a good position when I was released and went back to Australia.
"I played in all the U20 World Cup qualifying games but the success Wanderers had in their first season made it hard to break into the side so I asked permission to trial with the Phoenix to see if I could get more first team football. They agreed I could go to Wellington and I'm really excited to be joining the club."
Ernie Merrick, who expressed appreciation of Caira's background, was most praiseworthy of his new defender's versatility:
"He can play at left back or midfield and that flexibility makes life easier for me. Up-and-coming players like Reece have got the speed and skills to play more than one position. His signing adds another youth international to our ranks which gives us a blend of experience and high quality young players."
Earlier this month, Merrick signed New Zealand U20 captain Luke Adams, also a defender.