A-League: All Whites, Wellington Phoenix star Ben Waine signs on with League One side Plymouth Argyle

  • 31/12/2022
Ben Waine.
Ben Waine. Photo credit: Getty Images

Rising Kiwi football star Ben Waine has left Kiwi A-League side Wellington Phoenix, after signing on with League One leaders Plymouth Argyle.

The club announced on Saturday that the 21-year-old All Whites forward had joined the UK club on a permanent transfer for an undisclosed fee.

"This is an absolute dream move," Waine said. 

"Ever since I did become a professional footballer I've had this desire and kind of addiction of wanting to move over to the UK and play over here and Plymouth Argyle have given me the opportunity to do that, so I'm extremely grateful for that."

'Waine Train' has been a popular figure among the Phoenix faithful, netting 17 A-League goals in 73 matches for the Phoenix since making his debut as a 17-year-old in March 2019.

A product of the Wellington academy, he was the Phoenix's equal top goal scorer last season and found the back of the net three times in eight A-League appearances this campaign, his departure will leave a significant void in the Phoenix's attacking front.

Nevertheless, coach Ufuk Talay said he was proud to see Waine follow in the footsteps of fellow academy players Sarpreet Singh and Liberato Cacace, who have graduated to top-flight football in Europe.

"He's come through the academy into the first team and has played consistently and scored goals," said Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay. "Now an opportunity has come and the club has opened the door for him to go and hopefully he can continue that.

"It's exciting that we produce players and the club ends up getting rewarded for selling these players overseas, and that's the way we look at things at the Wellington Phoenix.

"We try to develop our own, send them off to Europe and the club gets rewarded financially. That goes back into the club and the academy and we start that process again with other players."

Waine paid tribute to the Phoenix fans and the club for help him achieve his latest goal.

"You guys gave me a platform to be able to make this move a possibility," said Waine. "I've honestly got friends for life in that team and all the boys that have come and gone have played a big part in my career, so thank you all.

"But most importantly I just want to say how grateful I am to have been accepted and to have played in front of the Yellow Fever and the Nix fans.

"As a kid growing up in Wellington aspiring to be a footballer to play at Sky Stadium in front of you guys is an absolute dream come true. The confidence and passion you guys have given me is next level.

"I'm going to miss you all but hopefully it's not the last we see of each other."