Hoffman striving in race for starting XI spot

Kick-off to our 2021/22 Isuzu UTE A-League Season is just around the corner, and veteran defender Jason Hoffman is amongst the hot competition for spots in the starting side.

Starting his career with the Jets back in 2007, Hoffman has been apart of many different eras of the the Club, but the new direction spearheaded by Manager, Arthur Papas, combined with the lengthy list of additions, has filled him with confidence over the course of the pre-season.

Aiming to bring up his 150th game representing the Jets this season, the 32-year-old believes the healthy competition at training for spots in Papas’ Round One side is pushing the squad to new heights, with improvements made each and every training session.

“Competition is high,” Hoffman said.

“The next couple of weeks is going to be extremely competitive, but that’s the environment you need to progress as a group.

“Regardless of what starting XI the boss has in mind, I feel like the whole squad is significant and important, so if it’s a case of playing 20 minutes or 90 minutes, everyone is extremely critical to the way we want to play.”

The born-and-bred Novocastrian has become a statesman of the club since returning from a five year stint with Melbourne City in 2015, and is the last remaining member of the 2007/08 Grand Final triumph over arch-rivals Central Coast Mariners – the same side we start this season’s campaign against.d

Hoffman says the new style of play under Arthur Papas has led to a very challenging but rewarding pre-season, describing this new style of play as “open and aggressive”.

“For me, it’s exciting to be apart of something that has a clear identity and it’s a brand of football that I’m sure everyone believes in here that will bring us success,” he said.

“We’re getting adjusted to a new style where together as a group, we are continually pushing and progressing to play open and attractive football.

“I’ve always prided myself over the last 14, 15 years of my career of being extremely fit and being a worker, and the bosses style has brought that out 10-fold.”

While there is still room for improvement between now and the beginning of the season, there are plenty of positives to take away in the pre-season friendly matches against A-League sides, Sydney FC and Macarthur FC.f

Hoffman says everyone in the squad has a role to play for the season, regardless of whether you’re in the starting side, on the bench or watching from the stands.

“It’s not about one match, it’s about the whole season,” he said.

“Obviously the race to be in the starting XI for the first few rounds is on – it’s been on since day one – and that environment is what is going to bring the team success.”