JACK Duncan faced the might of David Beckham and the LA Galaxy and made his A-League debut in Newcastle, but the promising goalkeeper felt it was time to take the next step.
Duncan has agreed to terms on a two-year deal at Perth Glory, where he will be the No.2 to Danny Vukovic and work under former Jets teammate and Glory keeping coach Neil Young.
The Jets were keen to retain the 20-year-old Sutherland product, but with Mark Birighitti and Ben Kennedy, who are aged in their 20s and contracted for another two years, in front of him, Duncan jumped at the opportunity.
‘‘It is time for me to make that next step,’’ Duncan told the Herald yesterday in between sessions at a Young Socceroos training camp.
‘‘Unfortunately that pathway was not at the Jets with the two boys I had in front of me.
‘‘I have worked with Youngy before when he was at Newcastle and we got on quite well.
‘‘Hopefully I get a bit more of an opportunity over there.’’
Vukovic, 28, is in England training at Premier League club Fulham alongside Socceroos No.1 Mark Schwarzer.
He has another year to run on his deal at the Glory but has ambitions of moving overseas.
‘‘Vuka has established himself in Australia and is now looking to go on, maybe to bigger things,’’ Duncan said.
‘‘It will be a good opportunity for me to learn off him and hopefully follow in his footsteps. All young boys want to go overseas and try themselves, but I want to make a name for myself here first.’’
Duncan leaves Newcastle with a heavy heart.
‘‘I really enjoyed my time there and learnt a lot,’’ he said.
‘‘I was fortunate that I went straight in to train with the first team. Getting experience in the LA Galaxy game early on put me in good stead. It showed me what I had to do to get to the next level.
‘‘I was lucky enough to make my A-League debut but unfortunately I won’t be playing any more there.’’
Former Jets goalkeeping coach Clint Gosling rated Duncan the hardest worker he had encountered.
‘‘You can see the ambition in his eyes,’’ Gosling told the Herald after Duncan made his A-League debut off the bench against Brisbane in 2011.
Jets chief executive Robbie Middleby said the club was sad to see Duncan leave but understood his reasons.
‘‘We have been talking to him and his agent for the past three months, wanting him to stay here, but we understand he has an opportunity to be the No.2 keeper,’’ Middleby said.
‘‘If you look at our goalkeepers, Ben Kennedy got player of the year in 2012 and Mark Birighitti took that honour in the season gone by. It was going to be difficult for Jack.’’
Duncan was still eligible to play National Youth League. Taree 16-year-old Jack Pearce has inherited his spot for the youth team’s State League campaign, but Middleby said the club would add another gloveman to the roster, whether it be an under-20 or senior, before the A-League started.
Duncan’s immediate goal is making the cut for a Young Socceroos tour to Europe this month. He is one of four vying for three positions. Paul Rizzo (Adelaide), Anthony Bouzanis (Sydney) and Oldham’s Liam Jacob are the others.