Hoole to leave the Hunter, Kennedy re-signs

Newcastle Jets confirmed on Monday that young attacker Andrew Hoole will leave the club at the completion of Hyundai A-League season but goal-keeper Ben Kennedy has inked a new deal with the club.

Hoole, 21, progressed through the local ranks and the Newcastle Jets Youth team before making his senior debut with the club in January 2013. 

The Australian Youth International was made a competitive offer to remain in Newcastle, but has since communicated to the club that he has decided to pursue an opportunity at another Hyundai A-League outfit. 

“Andrew is a good young player that we have helped develop and we’ve made no secret that we wanted to keep him at the club,” Newcastle Jets Head Coach, Phil Stubbins, said. “We put a strong offer to Andrew to renew his contract but we have been informed that he has decided to sign with another club for next season.” 

Despite this decision, Stubbins is sure that Hoole will continue to contribute positively and professionally to the club on and off the field until his time in Newcastle ends.

“Our entire squad is focussed on giving their all in the second half of the season,” he said. “When he [Hoole] moves on at the end of the season we will wish him all the best, but until then Andrew is a Jets player and we expect him to continue to give 100 per cent.”

Locally born and bred custodian Ben Kennedy has recommitted his playing future to the Newcastle Jets until the completion of the 2016/17 Hyundai A-League campaign after inking a two-season contract extension with his hometown club on Friday.

Kennedy – originally from Thornton on the outskirts of Newcastle – has been with the Jets since 2006, and by the time his new deal with the Novocastrians concludes will have amassed over a decade of service for the men from Hunter Stadium. 

Few players in the Hyundai A-League can claim to have offered such commitment and dedication to one club, and at just 27 Kennedy’s best years between the sticks for the Novocastrians could very well be in front of him. 

Indeed, there is a long list of shot-stoppers from across the globe that have enjoyed their best playing days in their late 20s and early 30s, and Jets boss Phil Stubbins believes Kennedy has the capacity to add to that list from an Australian football perspective. 

“Ben turns 28 next month so he is coming into his prime as a ‘keeper,” Stubbins said. “We are pleased to have secured Ben’s services for what we believe will be the best years of his career.” 

Understanding that Kennedy hails from the Hunter, Stubbins knows full well that the former Australian youth international goalkeeper’s passion for the Newcastle region and his local professional football club runs deep. 

As such, the Jets mentor deems that Kennedy is precisely the type of player, with precisely the type of personality and local awareness to help lead the club back to its best.

“Ben is of course an excellent goalkeeper, so we are thrilled that he has opted to renew his contract with the club,” Stubbins said. “But beyond his ability on the football pitch, Ben possesses a great character and a fantastic attitude, so he is the type of player I want to take forward with this club.” 

“Ben always trains and prepares in the right way and represents the club with pride,” Stubbins concluded. 

Last year the entire Jets playing squad – as well as many Jets staff – banded together behind ‘BK’ and his family by shaving their heads in support of the #PinkDayForBK initiative in support of Ben’s mother, Karen. 

The #PinkDayForBK campaign helped raise over $11,000 for the Hunter Breast Cancer Foundation, and for Kennedy reinforced the camaraderie he feels at the Jets.

“The Jets are my hometown club and our members and fans have been fantastic in supporting me and my family,” Kennedy explained. “So I am delighted to extend my contract and to have the faith of the coaching staff at Newcastle.” 

Knowing that competition for the goalkeeping spot at Newcastle is tight, Kennedy said he must keep working hard to ensure his and the team’s performances in the second half of Hyundai A-League season ten improve. 

“There is always strong competition for the goalkeeper position, so I am pleased that I have played in the last few matches. Now I am looking forward to the second half of the season and building on our recent clean sheet [against Sydney FC],” he said.  

Ben Kennedy and his Newcastle Jets teammates will next be in action on Saturday 24 January 2015 when they take on Josep Gombau’s Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium in the city of churches (kick-off 5:00pm AEDT).

Jets fans will have the opportunity to congratulate Kennedy on his new contract on Friday 6 February when Stubbins’ side play the first of two matches within a week at Hunter Stadium against Brisbane Roar (kick-off 7:40pm AEDT). Jets then take on Western Sydney Wanderers at home on Saturday 14 February (kick-off 5:00pm AEDT).