Hoffman eclipses childhood fantasy 200 times over with Hyundai A-League milestone

All a young Jason Hoffman wanted was one game in professional football.

On Thursday night, Newcastle’s ever-green utility man will find his dream multiplied by 200.

Hoffman, 30, will join an elite crew of Hyundai A-League veterans when he makes his 200th appearance in the competition against Wellington Phoenix.

There are few more Novocastrian through-and-through than the Mayfield United junior, who grew up supporting ex-National Soccer League club Newcastle Breakers before falling in love with the Jets – for whom he made his Hyundai A-League debut in September 2007.

PREVIEW: Newcastle Jets v Wellington Phoenix
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“It wasn’t until a certain age until I realised that there was a professional career you could have in the game and from that moment on, maybe when I was about 12, I realised that I wanted to work hard and try and get one game,” he said.

“And if I could be a professional player and play one match that was the start, to fast forward 13 seasons now to 200 matches…it’s something I’m really proud of.

“I’m proud to say that through the tough times I’ve shown some resilience to reinvent myself and to try and give my best for whatever club I’ve played for and without a doubt playing for Newcastle’s definitely been the highlight of the career.”

Hoffman, a former Australian youth international, has developed a reputation for one of the Hyundai A-League’s most distinguished utility players over his career.

Indeed, he has played just about every position during his tenure in the competition.

But although his extreme versatility might render Hoffman an unfashionable workman to some, it is rather a true reflection of his hunger, drive and ability to consistently re-invent himself as a player over his career.

It is this unique motivation that, stirred as a young child chasing the professional footballing dream, will see the bona fide Novocastrian cement his legacy as a local hero in Thursday night’s milestone match.

MATCH PREVIEW: Newcastle Jets v Wellington Phoenix
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“Before becoming a player for the club I was a fan,” he said.

“As many people around the world support their club through and through, that was like me for Newcastle.

“I was a massive fan of the football and the region and the team at the time and for me to play for that team…you ride the wins and losses as a player but for me it hurts a little bit deeper as a fan as well.

“To play 200 matches and bring that milestone up for this club is extremely important and something I’m very proud of.”

Jason Hoffman