Newcastle Jets, in conjunction with Football Federation Australia (FFA) and Northern NSW Football (NNSWF) has launched a program aimed at fast-tracking talented young players into the A-League and W-League.
The six-figure sum invested into the Jet's pathway program by the three governing bodies will give footballers from 10 years old an affordable option to kick-start their professional career.
“This unique and ground breaking program will give our kids the best chance to fulfil their dreams of representing the Newcastle Jets, our Socceroos and our Matildas,” Jets CEO Robbie Middleby said.
“The key components to the program will be the quality of coaching, sports science and most importantly the ongoing guidance for these young players.
“All aspects of the Jets senior football department, co-ordinated by head coach Gary van Egmond, will contribute to the success of this program and each Emerging Jets team will have an A-League or W-League player actively involved as its mentor.
“Our model is based on world’s best practice but most importantly, we are confident that this program will give our youngsters the best opportunity to reach the highest level without leaving our region.”
The program will also provide other A-League Clubs a blueprint to work nationally to ultimately produce world-class footballers throughout Australia.
“Currently we are not producing enough quality young players in Australia and losing ground on the world stage,” FFA Technical Director Han Berger said.
“As a first step towards a situation where every A-League club has a development structure from their first team down to grassroots, the Jets, NNSWF and FFA have joined hands to make that happen in Australia.
“That is why I’m very excited about this initiative and sincerely hope it will set an example that’s followed by the other A-league clubs as soon as possible.”
Wellington Phoenix's recruitment under coach Ernie Merrick began with the signing of 22-year-old former Perth Glory goalkeeper Lewis Italiano.