As the WaiBOP United squad prepares for their pre-season training camp this weekend, the franchise is pleased to announce the signing of centre-halves Tom Probert and Adam Mitchell for the 2015/16 ASB Premiership season.
Neither player will need an introduction to local football fans, with Probert having been part of WaiBOP United’s squad during the franchise’s first two seasons and Mitchell having represented New Zealand at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Probert, 19, made his ASB Premiership and WaiBOP United debut in the 2013/14 season and has made 17 appearances, primarily at centre-half. Mitchell, also 19, appeared twice for New Zealand at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup and captained Wanderers SC in the 2014/15 ASB Premiership.
WaiBOP United Head Coach, Peter Smith, is happy to have both players sign on. “We have good attacking balance in our squad so it was important we brought in some more quality defenders to add to the boys we already have,” said Smith. “For someone so young, Tom has done well for us in the past and I think this season he’ll start to take on the responsibility of being a senior player at this level. Adam’s also young but is experienced at this level through his time with Wanderers SC. He’s also a leader, having captained sides at various levels.”
Looking at his signings so far, Smith is pleased with the attitude he expects to see within the squad. “Many of our players this season are young, hungry and have plenty to prove, which is kind of like WaiBOP United in general. I’ve seen it during our first few weeks of training and our first couple of pre-season matches,” he explained. “That’ll help us as we look to make the play-offs for the first time. While they’re young, players like Tom, Adam and [already signed] Adam Luque are big strong lads who have played years of senior football. They’re first team players, they want to improve and they want to succeed. And that’ll be great for us and our fans.”
Smith is looking forward to the squad’s pre-season training camp, which will be held at the Millennium Institute in Auckland over Labour Weekend. “We’ve done these camps every pre-season and we always get a lot out of them,” explained Smith. “It’s a great opportunity to get the lads away as a group, remove distractions and get through a decent amount of work. We’ll look to set our standards and expectations for the season ahead, do some technical work on the training field and ensure what is largely a new group of players get to know each other just a little bit better.”