WESTERN Sydney Wanderers have moved another step towards securing the future of the core of their in-form squad by re-signing fullback Jerome Polenz for another year.
The German midfielder-defender has joined, in the past 10 days, captain Michael Beauchamp, Shannon Cole, Ante Covic, Mateo Poljak and Adam D'Apuzzo in extending his stay at Parramatta Stadium, and said he had no hesitation in agreeing to a new deal.
''I really didn't have an option because it is so beautiful here and I really want to stay here,'' Polenz said. ''The club is a kind of tribe and I love playing at Parramatta Stadium, and the fans have been so great. The whole club is a tight unit and everybody is pulling together and it is going very well. Everybody is doing a great job and it is a lot of fun to be part of it.''
Polenz, 26, was signed initially as a holding midfielder, where he played as a German youth international, but became the club's first-choice right back at the expense of vice-captain Tarek Elrich. He credits his transformation as a player under coach Tony Popovic as another motivation to stay with the club. ''One of the big reasons I signed is that the coach is making me a much better player and I want to get better,'' he said.
The success of the Wanderers has made headlines beyond Australia with Polenz revealing he was the subject of feature articles in German newspapers. Since kick-starting his career with the club, his story has attracted the interest of a host of German players hoping to follow his move to the A-League.
''Other footballers are calling me from back home and asking me about football down here and about the league,'' Polenz said. ''It is amazing back home because they just ran a big feature on me in German papers and all of my friends and family keep hearing about us here.''
Polenz arrived at the new club struggling with match fitness due to injuries. He quickly rediscovered his form to establish himself as an influential character in the dressing room.
''Jerome is a very important member of this football club and he is very professional,'' Popovic said. ''With his European background he knows what is required on and off the field and we are very pleased he has signed again with us.''
Western Sydney executive chairman Lyall Gorman said Polenz fits the ethos of the club. ''The re-signing of Jerome continues the club's focus on maintaining stability and consistency with its player roster moving forward,'' Gorman said.
''Jerome has made the right fullback spot his own this year, with his performances … being exceptional both from a defensive and overlapping attacking point of view. Jerome has been a major contributor to the club's remarkable defensive record, which sees it having conceded the second least number of goals across the league at this point.''