Locally born and bred defender and experienced Hyundai A-League player Nigel Boogaard will join the Newcastle Jets for seasons 11, 12 and 13 of Australia’s top flight after the Adelaide United man finalised a three-season contract with the club on Monday.
Boogaard, 28, will return to Newcastle’s national football team after an eleven-year stint away from the Hunter spent at the Jets’ rivals Central Coast Mariners (2005-2010), as well as Adelaide United (2010-2015).
A former Australian youth international, Boogaard has blossomed into one of the competition’s top defenders during his time with the men from the city of churches.
Indeed, in 2013 the former Newcastle United youth product was selected to feature for the Foxtel A-League All Stars against Manchester United in Sydney, while throughout the current Hyundai A-League campaign the ex-Western Workers Bears man has managed 13 appearances from a possible 17 games and scored two goals.
Boogaard admits he has enjoyed a successful time with the Reds and hopes to conclude his tenure at Adelaide United in a positive fashion.
But, he also believes the time is right to commit to Newcastle and – from next season – help lead the revitalisation of the club so that the Jets fly with the Hyundai A-League’s elite again.
“I have enjoyed some great times at Adelaide United and with the best part of half a season left I hope to be part of some more great moments at the club before I leave,” Boogaard said.
“These memories include playing in the prestigious AFC Champions League with the club, and recently being able to captain the team in Eugene’s [Galekovic] absence with the Socceroos.
“But it’s also a proud moment for me to be able to say that I am coming home to play for my hometown club.
“Anyone would say that to play for your hometown club is an honour, and for me it will be a privilege to play in the Hyundai A-League in front of my family and friends in Newcastle, for Newcastle.
“I am very happy that I will be part of the club rebuilding, and the recent interest from the Jets really made me excited about being part of a squad and club that makes the region proud,” he said.
New Newcastle Jets Chief Executive Officer Mitchell Murphy said: “We are determined to assemble a quality playing group for next season and securing Nigel is an ideal start to our recruitment and retention process.”
“Nigel is a experienced, quality defender and will undoubtedly bring superb leadership skills to our playing group, plus he’ll be a fine ambassador for our club off the pitch.”
Newcastle Jets Head Coach Phil Stubbins was part of the Adelaide United coaching staff when Boogaard first arrived at Coopers Stadium, and has kept close tabs on him since.
Stubbins said the Jets identified Boogaard as an important recruit not only because he has proven that he can perform admirably and consistently in the Hyundai A-League, but also because he has the Hunter region at heart.
“Nigel coming to the football club will help us play in a certain way,” Stubbins said. “He is technically adept, possesses a wonderful passing range, and can play on either side of central defence.”
Stubbins added: “As a respected player in the Hyundai A-League, Nigel’s signing shows the supporters that Newcastle is seen as a strong club and one that can compete with rival teams for the services of top players.”
“Of course, it helped our cause that Nigel is a proud Novocastrian and that he genuinely wants to play what could prove to be some of his best years as a professional with his hometown club,” he concluded.
Newcastle Jets will host Boogaard’s current club, Adelaide United, at Hunter Stadium on Sunday 29 March.
Boogaard will link up with the Jets for pre-season mid-way through 2015 following the completion of his commitments with the Reds.