Hong Kong Soccer Sevens: Jets set bar high against future Premier League stars

THEY will be up against future English Premier League players, but the Newcastle Jets youth team will be going to win the Hong Kong Soccer Sevens tournament.

The Jets leave for Hong Kong on Wednesday and have been drawn alongside English Premier League club Newcastle United (under-19s), Scottish club Glasgow Rangers (u-19s) and the hosts.

Angus Thurgate is the only Jets player with A-League experience.

Coach and club CEO Lawrie McKinna has previously taken the Mariners to the same tournament and had progressed to the finals.

“It is a huge opportunity, great experience and great exposure,” McKinna said. “In a couple of years some of the boys they are playing against will be playing in the Premier League. We are certainly going over there to win. I have taken teams there before. If we can do well it will be huge for the club.”

The University of Newcastle (UON) are the major sponsors for the trip and the Weifang Cup youth tournament in China in August.

The Jets have trained at Ray Watt Oval, located on UON grounds, for a decade.

“To have the University of Newcastle join us as an official partner is so important for our club moving forward,” McKinna said.

“An organisation of the University’s calibre, seeing what we’re doing across Newcastle and choosing to partner with us speaks volumes for the work that’s been done both on and off the pitch.

“Over the years we’ve had a number of players from our  A-League and W-League study at the university, and we’ve currently got two Youth League boys studying at the Callaghan Campus.

“They’re investing in the club’s youth, as we send some of the region’s best footballers onto the international stage and we can’t thank them enough.”

University of Newcastle Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International and Advancement), Winnie Eley, said the University was proud to be officially partnering with the Jets, an organisation that also holds a strong connection to the Hunter community.

“Both the University of Newcastle and the Newcastle Jets are committed to fostering the next generation to globally minded young people,” Mrs Eley said.

“We are delighted to be partnering with the Jets’ Youth team by supporting their attendance at these high profile tournaments in Hong Kong and China.

“We look forward to this partnership with the Jets establishing even stronger ties at home and abroad, and wish the players the very best of luck as they prepare for the tours.”

The club and UON will continue discussions about how they can collaborate during the 2018/19 Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League seasons.

Jets Hong Kong Sevens squad: Noah James, Angus Thurgate, Solomon Johnn Monahah Vallka, Jackson Frendo, Joe O’Connor, Kieran Hayes, Kent Harrison, Jack Simmons, Ryan Goodhew, Kaleb Cox.