Three locals jump on board with the Jets

The Newcastle Jets have bolstered their squad for the forthcoming AFC Champions League 2009 with local players Mitchell Johnson, Peter Haynes and Joel Wood all signing 6-month contracts with the club this morning.

The Newcastle Jets have bolstered their squad for the forthcoming AFC Champions League 2009 with local players Mitchell Johnson, Peter Haynes and Joel Wood all signing 6-month contracts with the club this morning.

Despite all being Novocastrian players, the trio have each walked a unique path to earn their place in the Jets- squad, and have shown great work ethic and determination to do so.

Johnson, 24, burst onto the scene as a youngster with Newcastle United in the National Soccer League competition and became a stand-by player for the Australian team for the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championships. The following year Johnson embarked on a sojourn to Europe, where he trialled with the likes of Stade Rennais in France and Partick Thistle in Scotland.

However, the promising midfielder was unable to secure a contract at this time and missed out on the opportunity to join a club for the inaugural Hyundai A-League season in 2005/06. Johnson found employment in the Hunter region coal mines in the meantime, but returned to the Jets to trial last week and his decision to return to the pitch was rewarded this morning with a contract.

Haynes comes to the Hyundai A-League 2007/08 Champions as the leading goalscorer in the Northern NSW State Football League competition, with a record 23 goals for eventual champions Broadmeadow Magic in 2008. Indeed, Haynes scored in a trial against the Jets for the Magic in early July, when he netted a sublime 30-yard strike. In addition to his on-field commitments, the striker has been working as the Community Football Officer for Northern NSW Football.

Wood, meanwhile, has recently returned to Newcastle from a stint in the Hong Kong first division with Tuen Mun Progoal. Before his move to Asia last September, the athletic 24-year-old formed a formidable strike partnership with Haynes at Broadmeadow Magic and trained heavily with the Jets throughout the Hyundai A-League 2007/08 season.

Jets- Chief Executive Officer John Tsatsimas today welcomed the three local products to the Hyundai A-League club.

“Mitchell, Peter and Joel are all very talented players who will each add something different to our squad over the next six months.”

“Newcastle is one of the true heartlands of football in this country, and has been a producer of fine talent for many, many years. We have a long, proud history of the game in the Hunter region and it-s players like these that have ensured that this strong tradition has been maintained.”

“It-s always a pleasure to welcome new players to our club, but it is certainly special on this occasion given that all three players are Novocastrians,” he said.