Having commenced their off-season recruitment campaign with the signing of Melbourne Victory standout Adrian Caceres, Elrich’s introduction to the Mariners’ line up is another significant coup for the attacking prospects of the Central Coast for season four and beyond.

The 26-year-old made 13 appearances for the Phoenix following his mid-season arrival in the New Zealand capital last season and netted one of the nominations for the Hyundai A-League goal of the season in such time – against the Mariners in Round 9.
Capped by his country 17 times, having made his debut in green and gold in February 2004 away to Venezuela, Elrich has netted five international goals including a memorable match winner against Iraq at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium in March 2005.

Elrich is also one of Australia’s most celebrated youth internationals, having played an integral role in Australia’s participation at the 2001 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Argentina and the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

Elrich’s two goals in qualifying helped the Qantas Young Socceroos (Under 20’s) to the 2001 FIFA Under-20 World Cup, where alongside Mariners team-mate Greg Owens, Elrich helped the green and gold to a second round meeting with Brazil.
Three years later, Elrich scored four goals in six qualification matches to qualify the Qantas Under 23’s for the Olympic Games in Athens and added a further two against Serbia & Montenegro at the tournament itself to secure Australia a quarter finals berth.

"Our signing of Ahmad is another clear showing of our intent for season four," said Mariners Executive Chairman Lyall Gorman.

"While we’re of course delighted with the on-field progress we made in season three, we want to go one step further in 2008/09 and by introducing a player and a person of Ahmad’s quality to our line up, we are giving ourselves the best possible chance.

"We know as good as any club just how good Ahmad can be – we were on the receiving end of an absolutely stunning strike of his while in Wellington last year and we’re hopeful and confident that he will be able to reproduce and surpass that level of quality in a yellow and navy shirt."

Away from the international arena, Elrich’s record at domestic level is also an enviable one.

Elrich was first introduced to Australia’s football punditry in October 2002 as an 18-year-old at former National Soccer League (NSL) club the Parramatta Power, where the midfield flyer would go on to make 120 appearances and return 19 goals over five seasons.

Following the demise of the NSL, Elrich became the first Australian to sign a contract in South Korea’s K-League after joining west coast Korean club Busan I’Cons in time for their 2004 K-League tilt.

Elrich netted one goal for his then club, who have since changed their club name to Busan I’Park – from the penalty spot against the Melbourne Victory’s 2008 AFC Champions League group stage opponents, the Chunnam Dragons, in November 2004.
London-based English Premier League club Fulham made a move for Elrich in time for their 2005/06 campaign, where Elrich would make nine league and cup appearances, including Premier League starts against Liverpool and Portsmouth.

In 2006, Elrich was loaned out to Norwegian Tippeligaen challengers FC Lyn Oslo, before suffering a serious and ultimately season ending knee injury while with the Qantas Socceroos in Kuwait for their AFC Asian Cup qualifier in September of that year.

Elrich returned home for the Hyundai A-League 2007/08 season, albeit to neighbouring New Zealand, where newcomers Wellington unveiled Elrich as their inaugural marquee player.

"Ahmad is just one of a number of exciting player recruitments and retentions we have planned for the coming weeks and months and the coaching staff, Peter Turnbull and myself are extremely contented with the direction in which we are heading," said Gorman.

"The prospect of seeing Ahmad along with the likes of Adrian Caceres running out onto Bluetongue Stadium next season is a most exciting one and I have no doubt that by the conclusion of our season four recruitment campaign, we will have assembled a line up capable of lifting the Hyundai A-League Championship trophy that was so nearly ours in season three."