Jake Najdovski signs first professional deal with Western United

Western United is delighted to announce it has reached an agreement with Jake Najdovski which sees him sign his first-ever professional contract at the Club.

The Academy attacker has put pen to paper on a two-year scholarship deal and is looking ahead to joining the first team.

“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 is the first member of the 2022 NPL 3 squad to sign professional terms after Western United promoted four Academy graduates into the senior team last season.

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,” Impiombato said.

“Joining our Academy in 2021 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.

“We wish Jake every success with this next step and his football journey at Western United.”

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 under new head coach Anthony Frost.

A quick, skillful and versatile forward that can play as a striker or a No.10, Najdovski has impressed with his creativity and eye for goal, with nine goals in 14 games in NPL 3 at the time of writing.

The youngster has been involved in 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.

Najdovski will now target his next milestone in achieving his senior debut in the Green and Black and will look to play a part in the Australia Cup and A-League Men in the coming seasons.

He becomes the first Academy player to sign a scholarship contract this year and joins Rhys Bozinovski, Adisu Bayew, Ben Collins and Ajak Deu in earning a first professional contract with the Green and Black.