The signing of Spaniard George Jermy is a major coup for Wairarapa United leading into their 2013 Central League.
Jermy, 24, has played professionally in England, Spain and Australia and his CV suggests he will add considerable impetus to the already potent Wairarapa United attack.
Jermy had his early football education in England and was a member of the highly regarded Norwich City youth academy for six years. There, he was a standout performer and was selected to play in the Milk Cup, the international youth tournament held annually in Northern Ireland.
At 16, Jermy left Norwich after an approach from Tottenham Hotspur and from there he accepted a professional contract at AFC Bournemouth, who were then in English League One.
After two years at Bournemouth, the opportunity to return home to Spain arose and Jermy signed for CD Javea, a team managed by former English Premier League player Kenny Brown, who had moved into management after a distinguished playing career which included stints at Norwich City and West Ham United.
In his first season in Spain Jermy, then 18, started in the first 22 league games and picked up two player of the month awards.
The January transfer window saw Jermy's dreams of playing at the very highest level come closer to reality when Villarreal CF, who were qualified for the UEFA Champions League, signed him.
There, he rubbed shoulders with world class players like Robert Pires, Santi Cazorla, Riquelme and Diego Forlan.
However with such a glittering array of international stars, making the transition from reserves into the first team was always going to be difficult and eventually Jermy moved back to CD Javea.
Unfortunately for Jermy the uncertainty of the Spanish economy led to financial hardship for CD Javea and after three successful seasons there, he took the chance to play in Australia, where he starred for Southern Stars FC in the Victorian Premier League.
He eventually ended a two-season stint when an injury resulted in him returning to Europe for rehabilitation, after which he had another season in Spanish professional football.
Described as a "highly creative player who looks to dribble at every opportunity and enjoys playing the killer pass to split a defence as much as putting the ball in the back of the net", Jermy was actually keen to play for Wairarapa United last season after learning of their Chatham Cup final win in 2011. However, his injury concerns meant delaying those plans for 12 months and he is expected to arrive in Wairarapa tomorrow.
In a message to fans, Jermy said he is looking forward to being part of the Wairarapa United squad and hopefully utilising his experience and skill to help them achieve their aims for the coming season and beyond.
Not surprisingly, Wairarapa United coach Phil Keinzley is delighted at the prospect of a player of Jermy's calibre being part of the Central League line-up and is looking forward to him joining forces with three other notable recruits, Chilean under-20 reps Jorge de la Torre and Jonatan Almendra and New Zealand under-17 rep and YoungHeart Manawatu national league player Alex Rufer.
Present thoughts are that Jermy, a prolific goal scorer, will take up an attacking spot just behind strikers Seule Soromon and Almendra, although Keinzley admits those plans could change in the weeks ahead.
"It will all come down to what suits best," he said.
Jermy, de la Torre and Almendra are expected to have their first hit-out for Wairarapa United in a friendly against fellow Central Leaguers Wellington United on the artificial pitch at Wakefield Park at Island Bay on Saturday.
Most of the Wairarapa United players involved in the national league will not be available for that match which means that the side taking the field will have a good splash of local talent and Keinzley stresses the result will be of secondary importance.
"The whole idea is to assess just where the new guys are with their fitness and whether the local guys are capable of performing at a higher level, so there are plenty of benefits to be had," he said.
Meanwhile, Keinzley has confirmed Adam Cowan has been reinstalled as captain of the team for 2013. Cowan led the club to their Chatham Cup title two seasons ago but Nathan Cooksley took over the reins last year.
Keinzley said the return of Cowan as skipper was no reflection on how Cooksley had performed, it was a case of wanting an experienced player to lead a side likely to contain a good number of new faces.