He’s made a considerable impression in the Hyundai A-League since arriving in Australia two months ago, and now South Korean left-back Lee Ki-je has pledged the next two years of his playing career to the Newcastle Jets.
In a significant boost to the Club’s 2015/16 and 2016/17 assaults, former Shimizu S-Pulse utility Lee, 23, has committed to remain with the men from Hunter Stadium as a key member of Newcastle’s first-team squad.
The nimble and technically astute former Korea Republic youth international and Dongguk University talent has scored twice in eight appearances since linking with the Jets in February this year.
Moreover, Lee has also become a favourite with the Club’s fans – his positive, darting runs down the pitch and incisive play both in defence and attack drawing applause from pundits.
Today Lee said that he’s happy to have prolonged his stay in the Hunter having adjusted well to life at the Jets, as well as in Newcastle itself.
“I am happy to stay at Newcastle,” Lee said with the assistance of an interpreter. “It’s a very good place, and I have enjoyed my time at the Club and with my teammates.”
“But the main reason I have extended my contract is because the Club showed that they really wanted me to stay, the coach wanted me to stay.”
“After some time back in Korea in the off-season, I will come back to Australia with my family alongside me,” he said.
SIGNING NEWS | He’s made a considerable impression in the Hyundai A-League since arriving in Australia two months ago,...Posted by Newcastle Jets on Monday, 30 March 2015
Newcastle Jets Chief Executive Officer, Mr Mitchell Murphy said: “We are determined to put together a playing roster for next season that will enable us to make the Finals and securing Ki-je is a massive boost to achieving that primary objective."
“Ki-je is a high quality left back, but the added bonus for us is he can also play higher up the field if required. He has already proven he can score goals.”
“Our holistic planning for recruitment and retention with an eye to next season will continue to be methodical, and our fans can be assured we’ll be making decisive decisions over the next few months in the build up to the pre-season.”
“Beyond playing ability, we want players with the right attitude.”“Nigel Boogaard [signed from Adelaide United for the next three seasons] will be a fine leader both on and off the pitch and in Ki-je’s case his commitment to training is first-rate, he has embraced living in Newcastle and has been very popular at junior coaching clinics,” Murphy concluded.
Newcastle Jets Head Coach Phil Stubbins said: “We have already witnessed Lee Ki-je’s quality in the Hyundai A-League, but I believe that there is plenty of improvement left in him.”
“We must remember that when Ki-je arrived at the Club he had had no pre-season, and no previous interaction with Australia.”
“He’s adapted rapidly – culturally and from a footballing perspective – and that’s something he deserves to be commended on. The longer Lee Ki-je is with us, the better footballer I believe fans will see.”