Jets sign Olyroos midfielder Ugarkovic

Australia Under-23 midfielder Steven Ugarkovic has joined the Newcastle Jets, after completing a medical earlier this week.

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Ugarkovic flew out to the Middle East with the Olyroos to prepare for the upcoming 2016 AFC U-23 Championship in Qatar, a tournament in which Aurelio Vidmar’s team must finish in third place or better to ensure that Australia qualifies for the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Ugarkovic, 21, has signed with the Jets until the completion of the A-League 2016-2017 season.

Ugarkovic has been playing his football in Croatia for the past four years having first linked with first division outfit NK Osijek as a 17-year-old.

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After progressing through the club’s youth system, Ugarkovic made over 50 senior league and cup appearances for the men from the Gradski vrt Stadium, and also spent a period on loan with second tier side HNK Gorica.

When his commitments with Australia U-23 in Qatar conclude the versatile Baulkham Hills born midfielder will link up with the Jets.

“I have been looking to come home to the A-League,” Ugarkovic said.

"Scott Miller got in contact with me, and I very much liked what I heard and the direction that the club is going. I have also heard very good things about the coaching staff.

“They actually got in contact with me at the start of the A-League pre-season. It was hard to make the move back then because I was locked into my contract. But I am glad it has worked out now and I guess it was meant to happen.

“I play defensive midfield but I can play a bit higher up in the middle. I see myself as a versatile player, I have got a high work rate which you expect from someone playing in the middle, and I am happy to do the job for the team that maybe everyone doesn’t see.

“I have signed an 18-month contract and I am looking to make a name for myself back home, show Australia what I can do and then hopefully move forward from there.”

Jets coach Miller said Ugarkovic fits the type of player profile he’s keen to have at the club.

“We really want players representing Australia within our squad,” Miller said. “If we can recruit young players who are at national team level, or develop them into players capable of representing Australia, then that will help take the club and football in Newcastle to the next level.

“Steven ticks many boxes for us. He is technically very talented, has good distribution and game awareness, and for his age has gained a lot of experience throughout his career by playing in Europe at a strong level and representing Australia in international competition.”


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3 min read
Published 8 January 2016 at 8:47am
Source: Newcastle Jets, SBS