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AFC Blend Youth With Experience As Two More Signings Announced

Auckland FC announce two All Whites; Tommy Smith and Max Mata

Tommy Smith brings significant experience with 51 national caps

Max Mata has nine All Whites caps and expected to be part of the upcoming Oceania Nations Cup

Auckland FC is moving at pace to build a team ahead of its debut season in the A-League.

On Tuesday 4 June the club announced the signings of 34-year-old centre back Tommy Smith, and 23-year-old centre forward Max Mata.

Smith is an experienced leader with 51 All Whites caps and best known for his 247 appearances for Premier League bound Ipswich Town. He joins the Black Knights after a short stint in the A-League with Macarthur FC.

Auckland-born Mata joins on loan from Shrewsbury Town in England’s League one. He most recently played with Sligo Rover’s in Ireland’s Premier Division, where he scored 4 goals in 14 appearances.

Head Coach Steve Corica says the signings demonstrate the club’s ability to attract quality talent to the city and its focus on building a club that balances a mix of experience with youth potential.

“Tommy and Max are a couple of really exciting signings that were eager to come to Auckland. Tommy is an experienced player that is going to be a great leader to the rest of the squad; he’s played all over the world, was the youngest captain in All White’s history and was a part of the 2010 FIFA World Cup squad.

“Max has an exciting future ahead of him. He’s returning home having become an established player at international level. He has really brought into the style of football we as a club want to play and the pathways we can offer to him and players like him.”

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Total signings for the club now total six, with Jesse Randall, 21; Michael Woud, 25; Francis De Vries, 29 and Cameron Howieson, also 29, all announced at an event in Auckland last week. More announcements are to come over the next few weeks, including the visa and marquee players.

So far all six signings are Kiwis, many of them born locally and all representing what CEO, Nick Becker describes as a club embedded in the community that creates new opportunities for players in Auckland.

“What I'm particularly proud of is how we have blended youth and experience and nearly all have international level experience. All are aware of the energy and buzz that currently surrounds Auckland FC and are eager to be a part of it,” says Becker.

“It is all about momentum and today is another significant milestone for the club, with full season memberships now on sale to the public. This is a rare opportunity for football fans to be part of our inaugural season and I’m sure Aucklanders will jump on-board.”

Auckland FC is majority owned by Bill Foley, with Ali Williams and Anna Mowbray as local co-owners, and will play their home games at Mt. Smart’s Go Media Stadium when the 2024/25 season starts in October.

Auckland FC inaugural season memberships are now on sale. Visit https://aucklandfc.co.nz/membership/ to find out more.

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