Najdovski joins United’s A-League squad


Tara Murray

Jake Najdovski will make the step from the National Premier League to the A-League after signing a scholarship contract with Western United.

United announced on Tuesday that Najdovski, who is from Melbourne’s west, had signed a two-year deal with the club, his first professional contract.

“It feels amazing, I’ve worked really hard for this, so I’m just grateful for the opportunity that the club has given me, and really excited to get started now,” Najdovski said.

“It’s awesome to learn from the older boys. I’m really excited to continuously train with them and pick up new things every day from strikers like (Aleksandar) Prijovic, (Dylan) Wenzel-Halls.

“It still hasn’t sunk in yet that I’m going to be coached by John Aloisi. It’s a bit surreal so far, and I just can’t wait to learn from him and improve my development as a player.”

Najdovski has scored nine goals in the NPL 3 season, the third most of the competition.

He is the first member of the 2022 NPL 3 squad to sign professional terms after Western United.

Last season four players made the jump from the club’s NPL 3 squad to the A-League squad.

Western United general manager of football Mal Impiombato said this shows the early success of the academy and continues Western United’s vision to create elite football pathways in the west.

“Jake has come on in leaps and bounds and we are delighted with his progression in the academy space,” he said.

“Joining our academy in 2021 and as a local boy from the west, it brings us great pleasure to provide this opportunity for Jake. Whilst we are in our infancy of developing an elite pathway, we are delighted with the progression to date.

“Jake has certainly shown the characteristics and values that are an important part of the fabric of our club.”

Najdovski has completed the transition through each step at the Western United Academy after initially featuring in the Under 21’s side last year.

After scoring three goals in seven games, the 17-year-old made his debut in the NPL 3 senior’s in 2021 before entering 2022 as a regular.

The youngster has been among first-team training at the NEC Hangar in the past and has also previously featured in a matchday squad for the senior team, where he was an unused substitute in the FFA Cup Round of 32 against Wellington Phoenix in December.