One of Australia’s brightest midfield talents will remain with Newcastle Jets for a further two Hyundai A-League campaigns after Steven Ugarkovic signed an extended contract with the Club on Thursday.
In an early Christmas present for the Jets and its Members and fans, 22-year-old Ugarkovic has agreed to remain with the men from McDonald Jones Stadium until the completion of the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 Season.
Ugarkovic, an Australian youth international who played professionally in Croatia before linking with the Jets in early 2016, has featured 21 times in the Hyundai A-League since making his debut against Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium.
“I am very happy to sign at the Jets and I am looking forward to the next two years at the Club,” Ugarkovic said. “The Club, coaching staff and fans have all been excellent towards me, so I am really looking forward to staying here for the next two years and hopefully helping the Club make it to the Finals.”
“I feel that I have hit a bit of form over the past few weeks, but I definitely think there is another step or level for me which I am hoping to get to in the second half of this season.”
“My goal has always been to play in the UEFA Champions League, so I definitely want my performances here in the (Hyundai) A-League to help take me back to Europe and perhaps one day to a Club that competes in that competition,” he said.
Newcastle Jets Head Coach Mark Jones believes strongly in Ugarkovic’s ability and feels that he has the potential to develop into one of the Hyundai A-League’s dominant homegrown players.
“He (Ugarkovic) has shown a lot of potential this year,” Jones said. “He is obviously an extremely good athlete and he is competitive, but we’re excited to work with him over the next two years because we think we can help him to become a better footballer technically.”
“Other Clubs were interested in Steven but he chose to stay in Newcastle, and to me that has demonstrated his commitment to the Jets. We want to play people who want to commit to our Club long term and be part of what we’re about for the future.”
“We are committed to giving players, especially young players, a great opportunity to showcase themselves. Newcastle is a good place for talented youth to play football and test themselves, and Steven is a fine example of that,” Jones concluded.
Ugarkovic has scored twice for Newcastle Jets so far in his career - both from outside the box. His debut goal was in a 1-0 away win over Central Coast Mariners in the an F3 Derby in February 2016, while his second came in a 4-0 home triumph over Brisbane Roar in round 2 of the current campaign.