Words: ACFC Media
Tuesday 14 January 2020
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - All Whites defender Thomas Doyle has signed for Auckland City FC from Bundesliga 3 side Chemnitzer FC.
The 27-year-old former Wellington Phoenix man signs up for his second stint with the Navy Blues after he began his career at the Kiwitea Street club with the National Youth League side.
Doyle, who has won 11 caps for New Zealand, started training with the Navy Blues last week and can't wait to sink his teeth into the challenges ahead.
"It's nice to be back, I grew up at Auckland City FC all the way through to the age of 18 and then moved to the capital and eventutally joined the Wellington Phoenix.
"But I'm happy to be back home in Auckland, it's my home town and I'm looking forward to the first week of training," he said.
Doyle was part of the Auckland City FC squad that went to the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan in 2011 as the youngest member of the team after his performances for the Junior Navy Blues caught the eye of then joint head coaches Ramon Tribulietx and Aaron McFarland.
Although Doyle didn't make an appearance during that tournament the experience left a big impression on him as he went on to the full professional ranks.
His recent stint in Germany didn't quite go according to plan but regular conversations with Jose Figueira meant the door at Kiwitea Street remained ajar.
"I spoke to Jose when my contract was running down at the Wellington Phoenix just before I went to Germany and we speak a lot anyway.
"I spent six months in Bundesliga 3 and it was a great life experience and a lesson learned.
"I decided to come home and I ended my contract with Chemnitzer so I could come home and play week in, week out.
"Jose is a coach I grew up with in the Junior Navy Blues set-up so to get the opportunity to work with him again is pretty special. We speak a lot so it's nice to be back playing under him," he told www.aucklandcityfc.com.
Doyle joins a squad brimming with talent with a large rump of the players having worked alongside the Auckland-born defender with the All Whites, age-group camps or the professional ranks.
He says it's nice to be among so many friends but he's quick to point out there is no old pals act going on when the objectives are laid out for scrutiny.
"It's good to be back among familiar faces but moreso seeing the ambition of the players coming through.
"This group wants to reach a certain level and the club always pushes for that and the level they want to get to requires a lot of hard work.
"Auckland City FC has a lot of players individually who want to get back into a professional environment so I'm looking to offer as much as I can to the team and to those players who want to step up," he said.
Figueira was delighted to secure the services of a player who is known for his work ethic, quality and commitment.
"I spoke to Tom at the start of the season but he had an opportunity in Germany that he had to weigh up.
"Things didn't quite work out for him in that environment but Tom is someone who has played at the highest level, he's been at Auckland City FC previously and he gives us another natural option on the left-hand side which is something we've lacked in the squad.
"Both Tom and Emi are high quality players are fantastic people so to have them join us for a strong push in the second half of the season is a real positive," he said.
Name: Thomas Doyle
Previous clubs: Auckland City FC (NZL), Team Wellington (NZL), Wellington Phoenix (NZL), FC Chemnitzer (GER).
International caps: 11.
International goals: 0.
International debut: 9th August 2014 v Uzbekistan (A) lost 1-3.
Hyundai A-League appearances: 83 (Wellington Phoenix).
OFC Champions League winner (1) 2010-11
New Zealand Football Championship (2) runners-up 2010-11, 2013-14
Mon 2 March, 2020, KO: 4.00pm, Tahiti