Wellington Phoenix are making their third successive appearance at the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens after becoming New Zealand’s first ever representatives in 2015.
Wellington, the only New Zealand side to compete in Australia’s A-League, reached the semi-finals on their debut at Hong Kong Football Club before losing 1-0 to eventual winners Atletico Madrid.
And the New Zealanders again made the last four a year ago when, after topping a group comprising Eastern, Stoke City and Yau Yee League Select, they defeated Leicester City 2-1 in the last eight.
Once more, Wellington would lose to the eventual champions in the last four, this time when Aston Villa ran out 2-0 victors, but they will return hoping third time lucky will see them make a first appearance in the HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens final.
Domestically, Wellington have participated in the Australian league since being founded in 2007 and have reached the end-of-season Grand Final series on four occasions, achieving a best ever third-place finish in 2010.
Striker Hamish Watson was among the stars of Wellington’s 2016 HKFC Citi Soccer Sevens tournament and the New Zealander has gone on to become a regular feature in the first-team squad.
The club also boast a strong Hong Kong connection having previously been led by national team coach Ernie Merrick. The Scotland-born coach, who managed Hong Kong from 2011 to 2012, spent four years at Wellington before stepping down at the end of 2016.