Israel striker Tomer Hemed signs to play in A-League

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Israel striker Tomer Hemed has signed to play for New Zealand club the Wellington Phoenix in Australian football’s A-League.

Hemed, 33, has played for Brighton in the English Premier League and for Mallorca and Almeria in Spain after beginning his career in Israel with Maccabi Haifa.

He has been a member of the Israel national team since 2011, scoring 17 goals in 37 appearances.

Head coach Ufuk Talay said Hemed’s skills answer a particular need for the Phoenix, who will be based in Wollongong, Australia, throughout the A-League season. Pandemic border restrictions mean the Phoenix cannot host Australian teams in New Zealand

“Tomer is a highly skilled player with a pedigree as a goal scorer and creator,” Talay said. “It’s no secret the club was looking to improve its frontline with an experienced visa player and Tomer provides someone who can convert our chances on goal and distribute to others.”

Hemed said he and his family are eager for a new challenge.

“I’ve played in La Liga, the Premier League, (English) Championship and fulfilled a lot of my career goals but we thought it was time to do something more exciting, something special.

"I’ve used my physicality playing in England and it was a very tough competition to play in. But I know I’ve done it well so I have confidence (to replicate it) in any other league in the world.”


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