Setting the bar: Local footballers will now have a better opportunity to follow in Angus Thurgate’s footsteps with Port Macquarie to house the Jets first regional training hub. Photo: Ivan Sajko
Newcastle Jets will set up the first regional training hub outside of Newcastle in Port Macquarie
NEWCASTLE Jets have previously stated the Mid North Coast is part of their “breeding ground”.
It’s now easy to see why after Football Mid North Coast announced on Thursday the Jets would set up the first regional training hub outside of Newcastle.
Port Macquarie’s Angus Thurgate is blazing a trail towards the Hyundai A-League and it is hoped the new training hub could see more players follow in his footsteps.
The training facility will provide the first step on a pathway to the Jets and the A-League – something that local youngsters previously had to travel to Newcastle three times a week to pursue.
FMNC chairman Mike Parsons said the Jets will have their own talent scouts who will travel the width and breadth of the area, watch rep games and attend club football.
“We may also identify players through our technical director Larry Budgen for the Jets to pick up,” Parsons said.
“It’s not just a program for those who can afford it, it’s the best of the best and for people that actually want to foster a potential future as a professional footballer.”
Once a player has been identified, they would then be offered a position to train with Jets coaching staff one day a week at Wayne Richards Park.
Parsons said the governing body was always looking to create pathways and develop programs.
It’s certainly not an elitist program, it’s the best of the best and people that actually want to foster a potential future as a professional footballer.
Football Mid North Coast chairman Mike Parsons
“This [program] steps in at a much higher level – we’re talking about the Jets hub with potential players for the future for them,” Parsons said.
“They’re no longer paying lip service to the statement that we’re part of their breeding ground and part of their supporter base.
“It’s a genuine acknowledgement that we are in regional proximity and FMNC are developing quality players who are entitled to have an opportunity despite being country cousins.”
With participation numbers of football skyrocketing, Parsons said the training hub “couldn’t hurt” their chances of attracting more players to the game from a young age.
“It highlights the potential our game has in terms of rewards,” he said.
“It also highlights the character our sport develops in terms of not just football, but social integration in terms of community and health and participation.”
“The Jets are no longer paying lip service to the statement that we’re part of their breeding ground and part of their supporter base.”
Parsons admitted the training hub would provide a genuine pathway.
“For those percentages of young people that have the ability, and do want to make a career out of football, at least they’re provided with an opportunity,” he said.
“I think it’s indicative of the progressive nature of Football Mid North Coast and our vision that we’re bringing forward some more constructive and innovative ways of progressing football in our area.
“We’re also supporting community football and at the end of the day for me, it really comes back to community football which is important.
“If we have good pathways and have good coaching structures and good administration process it can only enhance the participation and enjoyment of everyone involved in our game.”