Central Coast Mariners have today announced the re-signing of towering striker Josh Bingham and goalkeeper Adam Pearce on one-year Hyundai A-League deals.
20-year-old Pearce has been rewarded for his two impressive Foxtel National Youth League campaigns with the Mariners in the form of his first professional contract.
Bingham has inked a one-year-contract-extension that will see him remain in Yellow & Navy until at least the end of the 2017/18 season.
Bingham, a South Coast born striker, has grown from strength-to-strength since captaining the club’s Foxtel National Youth League team and has taken his opportunity with both hands over the past two seasons as a professional footballer.
At just 22-years-of-age Bingham has already bagged four goals in Australia’s top flight and has a burning desire to earn a regular place in Okon’s Starting 11.
“It’s a great feeling and I’m very happy to be staying at the Mariners for another season,” Bingham said. “I want to keep developing as a player and doing my best for the club and team.
“For me it’s a massive confidence boost – as a centre forward in the system we play it’s going to be difficult sometimes with just the one striker but obviously, I’ve done enough to show Paul that there’s potential in my game and I think I’ve developed a lot under him this season.
“I want to become a 90-minute player in the A-League and my ambition is to become the main centre forward at the Central Coast Mariners.
“I was at this club as a youth player when Mitch Duke & Matt Simon were here and I watched them week-in-week out, Matt Simon was a similar player to me, big target man and he went on to score plenty of goals for the Mariners and become an important player and that’s what I see myself doing here,” Bingham said.
For Pearce, signing his maiden professional contract is a dream come true. Having plied his trade alongside Paul Izzo and Ivan Necevski with the first team this season, Pearce was humbled by the opportunity to officially step up.
It’s been a huge 12 months for Pearce who managed to make three penalty saves during the Foxtel National Youth League 2016/17 season and made two Hyundai A-League appearances in round 26 and 27 of last season.
“It feels great to have signed my first professional contract,” Pearce said. “I’ve been with the Mariners for three years and I’ve always wanted to be a part of this amazing team so I think next season will be a big one for the club.
“I will take it as it comes, when I’m given my opportunity I will take it with both hands. I would love to be the number one keeper at the Central Coast Mariners and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, this is a great place to start my professional career.
“We had a great season with the Youth League team, we stuck together and during the NPL season we haven’t had the best run of results but ultimately the team knows where we want to be and the older I get, hopefully the more experience I’ll get.
“One day I’d love to be given the opportunity to play overseas but I just need to take things as they come – my number one goal right now is to play football for the Mariners, I don’t want to think about anything else right now. I want to stay here and do well for the Mariners,” Pearce said.
Paul Okon spoke about the importance of locking down two talented young players for the 2017/18 campaign.
“We’ve seen enormous improvement in Josh throughout the season,” Okon said. “His attitude, approach and mentality this season has been great. For a striker, he’s very young so we’re confident that another 12 months will see him really improve and hopefully get him more A-League game time.
“There aren’t too many 22-year-old number nines in the A-League who are playing regularly so we’re happy that he’s going to invest 12 months learning at the Mariners.
Okon’s sentiment was echoed about Pearce’s signing.
“Paul Izzo is a perfect example for Pearcey to look at,” Okon said. “As a young goalkeeper, you’re going to make mistakes and hopefully you learn and improve from them. We’re excited to be investing in Pearcey who gives us confidence that with a little bit more time will challenge to be a number one keeper.
“For both players, the hard work has only just started. Next season it’s going to become tougher, we’re going to improve and they need to be at that level.
“They’re not here because we think they’re two good blokes. They’re here because we see something in them, we have a belief that in our environment we can make them better footballers. They’re both good boys who fit well into the Mariners culture and each of them have their own talents so our responsibility is to nurture that and make them work hard.
“We hope to have both players in Mariners jerseys for many years to come,” Okon said.