Today, Giles Phillips signed a one-year deal with EFL Championship side Wycombe Wanderers. The 23-year-old American defender was on loan at the club last season, which ended in a triumphant promotion to the Championship for the first time in Wycombe’s history. He became a free agent after three years on the books at Queens Park Rangers.
“Giles is still a work in progress but he showed a lot of potential last season and we feel he’s got every chance of developing into a top defender for us,” manager Gareth Ainsworth told the club’s official website. “The launch of our B Team this summer means he’ll get more opportunities to play matches, work on his game and provide us with defensive cover all across the backline. He’s a popular member of the squad, worked extremely hard last season and I’m pleased to be keeping him with us.”
Phillips had an unconventional journey to English soccer. He played two years at Carthage College, an NCAA Division III school, and earned several impressive accolades. After being noticed at an off-season showcase, he impressed on trial and left the United States to join QPR. The Chicago native signed a contract extension in 2019, but never broke into the rotation.
His loan to Wycombe was a success at the team and individual levels. He made 16 appearances in a historic season, with the club reaching the Championship for the first time in 133 years. Despite not featuring in the League One Play-Offs, Phillips described the experience as “like going back to high school” and “something you don’t really find in the pro game.”
The jump in quality from League One to the Championship is significant but not insurmountable. He’s primed to develop as a late bloomer, now in a better situation to receive regular playing time at the senior level. Wycombe begins its debut season in the second tier on Saturday, September 12th against Rotherham United. Perhaps Phillips will make an appearance in the match that will forever be remembered by the club’s fans.