Mariners recruit enjoyed moment ‘every boy dreams of’ in ‘ridiculous’ football upbringing

After scoring the first hat-trick of his professional career, English striker Ryan Edmondson tells how a special reunion inspired him to join Central Coast Mariners.

A good magician never reveals their secrets – and maybe that’s why Ryan Edmondson can’t quite put a finger on how Mark Jackson does it.

“Jacko always seems to see the bright in people,” Edmondson tells “I don’t know how he does it, but he manages to bring that side out of people.

“It must be some sort of spell that he has.”

Be it a magic trick or not, Edmondson is sure that when he’s playing for Jackson, he feels at his best as a footballer.

He felt it from the first day he arrived at the Leeds United academy at 16, thriving under Jackson in the U18s.

He felt it as he made his senior Leeds debut in the Championship later that year, as one of the youngest debutants in the club’s history.

But in the years that followed, through a series of loan moves and an eventual move away from the club, Edmondson felt that magic wear off. That’s why, when Jackson picked up the phone to offer him a fresh start in Gosford, the answer was simple.

“As a career move, if I am to get back to the best I could possibly be, it will be Jacko that will bring that back out of me.”

Central Coast signed Edmondson from Carlisle United in late January, on a two-and-a-half year contract. 

Although the the change of scenery was a shock to the system, the 22-year-old found solace in reuniting with Jackson, who is also relatively new to Gosford having taken charge of the reigning Isuzu UTE A-League champions before the 2023-24 campaign began.

Jackson isn’t the only familiar face at the Mariners for the North Yorkshireman. Assistant Danny Schofield worked in Leeds U23s coaching staff when a teenage Edmondson bagged 18 goals to lead the team to the 2018-19 Category 2 Professional Development League title. Andres Clavijo is another former Leeds coach in Jackson’s Mariners coaching staff.

The familiarity has helped Edmondson quickly find his feet on the Coast.

European footballers don’t often find themselves in the Isuzu UTE A-League at 22 but Edmondson – an England U19 international who just two years ago was signed to a Premier League team – has deliberately taken a road less travelled, with his faith instilled in the calibre of a coach, rather than the profile of a club.

“I made my debut with Leeds at 16 in the Championship, and I’m proud of my achievements and the clubs I’ve been a part of,” he says.

“But on a personal note, I probably wasn’t doing as well as I thought I could be doing in the UK, in terms of playing and the way I felt on the pitch. 

“If I’m being honest, the best I felt was my time at Leeds, and it showed being able to play in the Championship so young, and some of the records I was setting with the U23s at such a young age.

“It came down to being with Jacko again. I think Jacko makes me feel very comfortable, same with Danny (Schofield – Mariners assistant). I’ve got a great relationship with both of them. 

“Don’t get me wrong – it’s not being at Leeds United over here. Of course it’s not. But it definitely helps in the aspect of knowing people and having a close relationship with the staff, which gave me a lot of belief in coming over here.

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Edmondson and the Mariners are next in Isuzu UTE A-League action on Sunday, February 18 against Western Sydney Wanderers at Industree Group Stadium. Buy your tickets today!


It’s no surprise that Edmondson associates the best days of his career to date with his time at his childhood club, and is intent on rediscovering the form he showed under Jackson and Schofield in the academy that led then-first team boss Paul Heckingbottom to hand him a Championship debut on the final day of the 2017-18 season, two weeks before his 17th birthday.

Marcelo Bielsa, one of the most unique and revered managers in world football, took the top job at Leeds the following season; all the while Edmondson was relishing the opportunity to mix it with the senior squad.

“It was a big move,” he says. “Every boy dreams of playing at that level for their boyhood club, and for me I never thought I’d be able to get to that point, or have that opportunity. But the stars aligned and I was able to play for Leeds United.

“Making my debut at 16 was a dream. Playing games under Paul Heckingbottom and Marcelo Bielsa was something I never thought I’d be able to be able to achieve – and it was thanks to Jacko for developing me as a player.

“Luke Ayling and Liam Cooper were two senior boys at the time that I looked up to in the way they went about their daily lives and how professional they were.

“They’d been around the game for so long, and yet their standards really drove young players on. Being around those two and being a sponge, listening to what they were saying, really helped me develop. They are two people I will always be very thankful for. 

“Kalvin Phillips was an absolute brute back in the Leeds days. Some things that he did in a game, even though he’s not an attacking player, he was able to dictate a game.

“But a big one was Pablo Hernandez. He was absolutely incredible – at the age he was at the time as well. It was unbelievable to watch as a player but as a fan as well, it was quite emotional being there at the time. 

“You’d see Pablo do things at training and honestly you’d stand there and think: ‘How have you even done that? How is that possible?’”

Pablo Hernandez.

It was no different for Edmondson on the international scene.

Capped three times at U19 level, Edmondson came through an England age group alongside Liverpool midfielder Curtis Jones, Newcastle United winger Anthony Gordon, highly rated Aston Villa product Jacob Ramsey, and Arsenal star Bukayo Saka.

“Being around that squad was an unbelievable part of my life,” he says. “When I first got the text that I’d be in the squad, I didn’t believe it.

“Some of the names in that squad, it was ridiculous in terms of talent In training and games they were exceptional, and I think it’s shown in what they’ve done in their careers. Sharing the pitch and a changing room with some of those boys was a special, special time.

“The way Bukayo trained and played was so explosive at such a young age. He was levels above everyone. So being able to be there and witness it was so special.

“I remember taking free-kicks after training and Curtis Jones was there taking free-kicks with both feet. I was thinking: ‘my left leg is just for standing on!’ 

“The technical ability of some of those boys was just ridiculous at such a young age, so to see how they’ve gone on and what they’re doing with their careers now, it’s no surprise at all.”

Curtis Jones and Bukayo Saka.

Edmondson’s spell in the England setup came in 2019 – the year preceding Leeds’ ascension into the Premier League – and the beginning of two years worth of loans for the striker.

A stint at Aberdeen came first, then Northampton Town, Fleetwood Town and Port Vale, before a permanent move to Carlisle in 2022, bringing an end to five years on the books at Leeds.

“It was very emotional,” he recalls. “I absolutely loved my time at the club, and I’m grateful for everything the club taught me. 

“I’m still waking up at half past six in the morning to watch their games. First and foremost, I was a fan before I was a player, and I’ll continue to be that. 

“It did make the decision hard, but I had to be realistic with my career. I probably could have sat in the U23s, played U23s football and probably bossed it for a bit longer, but it’s a short career we’re in and for me to progress, get that game time in the professional game unfortunately I had to move on from the club.

“It was emotional but for my own development and my own career I had to take a step back from that.”

On his first day at Leeds, a 16-year-old Edmondson stood in front of the doors to the academy and posed for the cameras, with Jackson stood beside him.

Their respective journeys at the club have come to an end, but the two Yorkshiremen have preserved a piece of their shared history and are nurturing it together, six years on, with that sense of magic growing ever stronger in the Gosford air.

“We’ve got a very good connection, and we know each other on the level where he knows my potential and what I can do,” he says.

“He makes everything feel comfortable. He’s very welcoming, which I’m sure all the lads over here have found out. And he’s been a really good figure for me in staying professional.

“He drives people to standards they didn’t even know they had. He brings out the best in people – especially on the pitch.”

Edmondson and the Mariners are next in Isuzu UTE A-League action on Sunday, February 18 against Western Sydney Wanderers at Industree Group Stadium. Buy your tickets today!