Nigel Boogaard has penned a new one-year deal and the Newcastle Jets captain is ready to lead his hometown team through ‘difficult times’.
The 34-year-old has played 104 A-League matches in Jets colours since returning home to the Hunter in 2015 after stints with the Central Coast Mariners and Adelaide United.
Boogaard has experienced a rollercoaster six-season Jets career, going from the ignominy of a wooden spoon in 2016/17 to leading out the Jets in the A-League 2018 Grand Final.
The veteran defender’s focus is to give his all to the embattled club’s cause this season before making any decisions regarding his own future.
“I’m delighted, [I’m a] hometown boy and this is the club I always wanted to play for as a junior,” Boogaard said.
“I’m excited to have to go around again for one more year and represent this football community.”
He added: “There’s a great bunch of boys in there, we’re all together.
“We’ve been through some difficult times over the past but we always come out the other side and it’s no different at the moment.”
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Interim coach Craig Deans is preparing the Jets for the 2020/21 A-League season, assisted by youth coach Daniel McBreen and operations manager Joel Griffiths, following the sudden departure of head coach Carl Robinson to Western Sydney Wanderers in the off-season.
While the club continue to search for new ownership, Boogaard is confident his teammates can navigate through choppy waters and mark their mark during the 2020/21 A-League campaign.
“I think we’ve been quite competitive through the [friendly] games that we’ve played already against some really good sides,” said the Newcastle-native.
“I’m looking forward to to the start of the season and, once the season starts, we’re confident we can pick up results.
“Hopefully that helps the supporters also see what’s possible this year.
“I think there’s a lot of negativity going around in the background but ultimately our focus on the park is to win games and we believe we can.”
The Jets may have lost some experienced players over the off-season, but they have retained the likes of Boogaard, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Lachlan Jackson, Ben Kantarovski, Jason Hoffman and Roy O’Donovan.
Boogaard said: “It’s important to have those senior heads in the changing room and also head that have been through scenarios that we’re currently at.
“Obviously a lot of us have been at the club for quite a while now, it’s part and parcel, you learn to deal with it and how it comes about.
“I think if you’re level headed about it, you just maintain focus about what we can control.
“At the end of the day, football is all we can control. How we train, how we play and the mentality in and around the training ground and the community.”
Newcastle Jets open their 2020/21 campaign against F3 Derby rivals, the Central Coast Mariners, in a New Year’s Eve clash in Gosford, a 7pm kick-off.
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