Emerging Jets player mentoring gets underway

The Jets A-League squad visited Emerging Jets training this week to commence the Club's player mentor program.

The Newcastle Jets A-League squad visited Emerging Jets training this week to mark the commencement of the Club's Emerging Jets player mentor program.

Each member of the Newcastle Jets A-League squad will serve as a player mentor for an Emerging Jets team this season.

The Emerging Jets player mentor role has been developed to provide guidance, inspiration and leadership to those young players selected as members of the Emerging Jets Program.

Newcastle product and current Jets forward James Virgili said he is excited to be actively involved in the first year of the Emerging Jets program.

“There-s a clear pathway through to the A-League and W-League in place now for these kids,” Virgili said.

“They start off in under 10s and can keep progressing through to the first team.

“In the competition I was in during under 11s and under 12s, I played with Ben Kantarovski and against Jacob Pepper, so there were three boys in that age group who went on to play in the Jets- first team.

“There are always opportunities for these young players and I-m sure some of them will be playing for the Jets in five or 10 years time.”

As part of their role as a player mentor, each Jets player will attend a minimum of six Emerging Jets training sessions and six matches, while offering guidance and support to the players.

Virgili said the chance for the Emerging Jets players to receive advice from professional footballers would be extremely beneficial for the talented youngsters.

“Especially with the experienced players like (Michael) Bridges, (Ruben) Zadkovich and (Emile) Heskey, the kids will get a big buzz from being able to talk to them,” Virgili said.

“To have players like that mentoring these kids is going to help their development a lot.”

The Emerging Jets Program is a ground-breaking initiative for football in Australia, underpinned by a tri-party agreement between the National body (FFA), the Member Federation (Northern NSW Football) and the local A-League club (Newcastle Jets FC).

The integrated talented player pathway provides a clear development program for players from as young as eight years old through to the National Youth League, A-League and W-League.