27 Jul 2013

Phoenix sign Costa Rican international

2:57 pm on 27 July 2013

The Wellington Phoenix football club has signed Costa Rican international Kenny Cunningham on a two-year deal.

Head coach Ernie Merrick describes the striker's signing as a major coup for the A-League club.

Cunningham was a starting member of the Costa Rica side in the recent CONCACAF Gold Cup, and is trying to qualify his country for next year's World Cup in Brazil in the CONCACAF confederation.

The top three from that series qualify for the 2014 finals in Brazil with the fourth-ranked country playing off against the All Whites for a place in the finals.

Costa Rica are ranked 39th in the world with New Zealand 55th and Australia 40.

Merrick says he was looking for an attacking player who can come in from the wing and get into goal-scoring positions.

He says Cunningham ticks all those boxes.

The 28-year-old first came to Merrick's attention through fellow Costa Rican Carlos Hernandez who has joined the Phoenix this season.

Merrick says acquiring Cunningham is a major step forward, but there was still need for more depth within the squad.

He says the Phoenix has some really experienced playersand now it needs to bring in younger players to get the age balance right.

The recent signing of New Zealand under-20 captain Luke Adams was a step in that direction and there are other young players trialling with the club at present.