Melbourne City sign Joeys captain in historic moment 5 years in the making

Melbourne City have signed 16-year-old ball-playing defender Jayden Necovski to a scholarship contract until the end of the 2026-27 Isuzu UTE A-League season.

Necovski’s deal marks a historic moment for City as the Joeys captain becomes the first player to progress from the club’s grassroots football program, the Melbourne City Football School, to the men’s senior squad.

The talented teenager first caught City’s attention as a 10-year-old in early 2019, when he took part in the first ever City Football School session, the club’s training program for kids aged 5-12 that runs sessions both during school terms and in school holiday as special one-off camps.

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After six months, Necovski was offered a place in City’s Academy and he has progressed from the City Football School, to the Youth Academy and now senior squad.

“I love to go forward and I love to express myself on the ball.” said Necovski, who captained Australia’s Under-17 team against Italian giants Inter last week during the Joeys’ two-week camp in Italy.

“Physically I think I am just very fearless off the ball, and I’m always willing to dive into challenges and put my body on the line for the team.

“I’m thrilled to have been given this opportunity and I can’t wait to play in front of our
amazing fans.”

Melbourne City Academy Senior Manager Simon Zappia said: “I first met Jayden in 2019 and it was clear then that he had both the talent and work ethic to realise his potential.

“Seeing Jayden become the first player to start with our Football School program, play at every level in the junior Academy and earn himself a professional contract is a proud moment for all involved.

“Having worked with Jayden since he was 10 years old, I am ecstatic that he is being offered this wonderful opportunity.”

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“Jayden is a very talented player,” City’s director of football Michael Petrillo added.

“He’s a great defender that is comfortable with the ball at his feet that allows him to create opportunities for his teammates, which is something we look for in a City centre-back.

“The fans love to see a local boy or local girl coming through the ranks who they can get behind and support. I think it makes for a much deeper relationship between the player, the fans, and the club.

“Jayden is the latest in a series of City Academy prospects earning professional contracts, and it’s really encouraging to see more and more juniors break through.

“We’re privileged to have a partner in McDonald’s who proudly supports our grassroots and youth development programs, such as the City Clubs program, the Melbourne City Football School, and Youth Academy.

“It’s with this support that we’re now seeing the next generation of talented players emerge, and Jayden is a great example of that.”