Jets chief executive Lawrie McKinna said the Emerging Jets program was unlikely to change significantly when Northern NSW Football handed it over to the A-League club in five months.
The Jets are falling into line with an FFA push for clubs to run their own youth development programs and will take control of six boys’ teams from under-12s up and five girls’ squads from under-13s, plus the Jets W-League side.
NNSWF chief executive David Eland said Northern was evaluating whether to run a “shadow” training program to help the best juniors in the NPL “bridge the gap” to the Emerging Jets.
And Northern was also weighing up whether to continue running programs for elite boys from under-9s to under-11s and girls in under-11s and under-12s during the Skill Acquisition Phase.
McKinna said on Tuesday that most of the incumbent coaches were likely to stay in the junior Jets program, which probably would be based at Northern’s Speers Point training complex.
“There’s not going to be a lot of change. I’m sure most of the coaches will just be coming over,” he said.
“There’s not going to be a lot of physical change where people are going to say, ‘Oh, Newcastle Jets are running the Emerging Jets and it’s a lot better.’
“That’s not going to be the case. Hopefully we can continue to run it smoothly like Northern did and continue on with the good work.”
McKinna hoped the W-League team would train at the university, where the A-League and youth squads are based, but said it was proving impossible to find a venue in Newcastle which could accommodate those three teams and the Emerging Jets “under one roof”.
The club is poised to move its headquarters to premises beside Ray Watt Oval at Newcastle University after the lease on its Honeysuckle office expires next month.
Emerging Jets academy director Gary van Egmond, who coached the senior club to the A-League title in 2008, said he was enjoying the job and hoped to stay in the role.
He said moving the program to the club made sense.
“You look around the world, it’s very rare you have a federation look after the high performance of elite kids in an area. It’s all club-based, so it’s inevitable,” he said.