It feels like local goalkeeper Noah James has been around the Club for an age, yet he’s still only 20-years-old and after spending a year on loan, he has returned with invaluable experience he plans to utilise this coming season.
The Young Socceroos keeper left near beginning of the 2020/21 to take a loanee opportunity with the Western Sydney Wanderers where, although he did not feature on the A-League Men’s field, did spend almost every match on the substitute bench as back-up to Daniel Margush.
Throughout his time at the club, he trained and competed weekly for a starting spot, and also battled and overcame an ankle injury, and now that he’s re-joined an elite goalkeeping team alongside Jack Duncan, Michael Weier and experienced goalkeeping coach Chris Bowling, he believes he’s now a more well-rounded player.
“It was a big learning curve for me to go there,” James said.
“Daniel Margush was there and was playing really well last season, so I was just training and I pushed him as best as I could, and I think that showed in his performances.
“I thought I did quite well in stepping up to be a senior keeper at that age so it was a good experience and I think I’m a better player for it.”
With Round One of the A-League Men’s season around six weeks away, competition for spots is heating up, especially in the goalkeeping department where of course, only one spot is available.
James, new recruit Weier, and veteran Duncan are all vying for that #1 spot, however it’s healthy competition that is spurring each goalkeeper on to be their best.
“It’s good to have competition,” James said.
“We all get the best out of each other, but only one of us can play, and the other two just have to be ready to take their opportunity if and when it comes.
“At the end of the day, it’s up to the boss. I can only put my best foot forward in training and the practice matches we’re playing. I’m just focused on what I can do and train and play the best that I can and hopefully I can take my opportunity when it comes.”
Not only is there a contest for the goalkeeper position, but further up the field too.
Many new strike forces have linked up with the Jets this year including notable international players in Beka Mikeltadze, Olivier Boumal and Savvas Siatravanis.
As someone who spends most training sessions attempting to stop their shots, James and his fellow goalkeepers have the best seat in the house to watch them.
“They’re very good,” he said.
“The boss would have done a lot of research into it, and it shows out on the park.
“They’re very good players - very technical and very sharp – and they’re a great addition to the team. I think they’ll do very good this season.”