The Central Coast Mariners can tonight confirm the signing of talented Mount Druitt attacker John Roberts to a scholarship agreement with the club.
18-year old Roberts has been on trial with the Mariners for a number of weeks, highlighted by a clinical hat-trick against the North Shore Mariners that caught the eye of club supporters.
Roberts has spent time with both Melbourne City and Western Sydney Wanderers in the past, but said that this opportunity with the Mariners feels like a second chance and a new start for him.
“For me, and for my family, this is really big,” Roberts said on Tuesday.
“It was tough since I left Western Sydney, trying to figure out where I was going to be.”
“Staj gave me a chance to come here and play and train at the Mariners, it’s not something I’m going to take lightly and I feel like I owe Staj and the club so I will try to reward them now.”
Roberts was born in Guinea after his parents fled the war in Sierra Leone, and made his way to Australia before he turned 10 years old.
This year, he returned to NPL club Mt. Druitt to restore his confidence and get some game time, and believes it was a key to him arriving where he is now.
“I think I needed to take that step backwards to then take another one forwards,” he said.
“From now it is about working hard, giving 110% every time and hopefully getting some game time in the first team.”
Mariners Head Coach Alen Stajcic said it was an exciting opportunity for Roberts and a further indication of the Mariners providing opportunities for young players.
“John has been on trial now with the Mariners for a few weeks and he has impressed us with his work rate, his footballing ability and also his attitude around the club.”
“He’s a hard worker and this is a big chance for him to show us what we know he can be, given his time formerly in the Joey’s and also as a Young Socceroo.”
“This follows on from Lewis [Miller] signing and Sammy Silvera and shows the Mariners are a club that is ready to provide opportunities to our talented young players.”
Roberts’ signing comes ahead of Saturday’s #F3Derby against the Newcastle Jets, with both teams looking to make a statement in a traditionally big matchup.