Olympic FC winger Jai Ingham has been rewarded for his outstanding National Premier Leagues Queensland season with a Brisbane Roar National Youth League contract and is set to debut in familiar surroundings on Saturday.
Goodwin Park, home of the NPL Queensland double-winners, will host all of the two-time A-League champions’ NYL home fixtures for 2013/2014, including Jai’s debut for the Roar youth when their campaign kicks off against Melbourne Victory at 2.30pm.
The 20-year-old is looking forward to spending his first season in orange in front of the supporters who cheered him to a breakout year, in which he scooped the Olympic FC senior men’s Most Improved award.
“For sure. It’s kind of my stomping ground so hopefully I can do alright in front of a home crowd,” Ingham said.
While he has the confidence of a full year of senior football heading into his first taste of NYL action, the fleet-footed attacker anticipates a change in style from the NPL Queensland.
“Technically it’s a completely different game,” he said.
“It’s a lot more physical in the NPL but when you come down to the National Youth League it’s more about how technically good you are – it’s not quite so much about the physical side, it’s more about keeping the ball and moving it around.
“It will be a lot different game.”
Despite young talent being trusted to add depth to Brisbane Roar’s classy A-League starting eleven, Jai is keeping his head firmly down and focused on consistent youth team performances.
“I am definitely just purely concentrating on the youth league at the moment and then hopefully if I do well things will come off from there,” he said.
When pressed on personal aims for the season, ‘Jigger’ joked about a number of goals he would like to hit from right-wing.
“Actually, I have set 20 goals because I scored 16 in the NPL so I would like to reach 20. Two goals a game would be alright for me.”
Having worked hard to reach this stage in his development, Jai was definitive about the likelihood of returning to Olympic FC for the Club’s NPL Queensland title defence.
“100%,” he said.
Olympic FC youth players Costa Psaros and Benjamin Lyvidikos will additionally spend the season as train-on players for the Roar youth team under Coach Jeff Hopkins.
See Olympic FC’s Jai Ingham in action for Brisbane Roar in their National Youth League opener this Saturday, 26 October at Goodwin Park. Kick-off is at 2.30pm against Melbourne Victory.