Auckland FC unveil first signings ahead of debut season 

Dear Black Knights Fans, 

Today marks the start of something really special for Auckland FC and professional football in the city – our first four signings. 

The four players; Jesse Randall, 21; Michael Woud, 25; Francis De Vries, 29 and Cameron Howieson, also 29, represent a mix of some of the best upcoming and established New Zealand talent. 

Woud, De Vries and Howieson all bring international experience with the All Whites, with Randall an experienced international at Under-23 level. 

And this is just the start. We have a whole team of players to announce in the coming weeks. Players that will allow us as Auckland FC to build a club that is exciting, competitive and most importantly, play and prosper in a way that you can be proud of. 

All four are excited to play for us, suit the attacking style of football we will be playing and can’t wait to make their A-League debuts in front of you come October.

Michael is a great shot stopper and is really excited to be returning home. I know he will be fighting for the chance to play in front of his friends, family and fans. Both Francis and Cameron have been two of the most consistent players at a national level and we have been tracking Jesse for a while now and he has a huge amount of potential. 

What is important is what these signings represent and what we have been focused on from the very beginning – building a club with strong connections to Auckland, that feels a part of Auckland and can create new opportunities for players from Auckland and from right across New Zealand. 

The level of energy and excitement for the club from the grassroots, social leagues and on the street has been incredibly humbling. I can promise you there is a lot more to come from these players and from the club. This is just the start and we’re going to make you and Auckland proud. 

-Steve Corica, Head Coach


Jesse Randall

Age: 21
Last Club: Wellington Olympic
Home town: Wellington
Experience: NZ U23 International, Played in 2024 Olympics qualifiers, 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup

A few words from Jesse:

“I grew up watching Winston Reid and more recently, Chris Wood in the English Premier League, and it just felt so far away from NZ. With Auckland now having a team in the A-League and part of a wider group of clubs across the world, younger players can now see a pathway into professional football. It is so exciting for young boys and girls across NZ.”

Jesse Randall

Michael Woud

Age: 25
Last Club: Kyoto Sanga
Home town: Auckland 
Experience: NZ Senior International (6 caps), 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup, 2017 & 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup, 2020 Tokyo Olympics 

A few words from Michael:

“This is special for me because I grew up here, having spent my childhood playing club football in Auckland. I have been away from home for the last nine years and I’m so excited to come back and prove myself in-front of my friends and family. It is about time Auckland had a football team to call its own and I can’t wait to see the home fans at Mt Smart this October.”

Michael Woud

Francis De Vries

Age: 29
Last Club: Eastern Suburbs
Home town: Christchurch
Experience: NZ Senior International (6 caps)

A few words from Francis:

“Now you can feel the excitement through all age grades at suburb level and in schools. It’s an honour to be part of what Auckland FC will create for young players, their families and the wider Auckland communities in getting everyone motivated and inspired by football.”

Francis De Vries

Cameron Howieson

Age: 29
Last Club: Auckland City
Home town: Born in Blenheim and grew up in Dunedin
Experience: NZ Senior International (17 caps), 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup, 2012 London Olympics, 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup 

A few words from Cameron:

“Football growth in New Zealand has exploded massively. Having a second club in Auckland FC will give the country a healthy dose of rivalry between the two clubs which makes it entertaining. I’m so excited to be part of this movement in our home country, it’s such an exciting time. Playing professionally again is something I’ve been working towards since coming back home.”

Cameron Howieson