Less than a week after his brilliant goal for the Young Socceroos in the U20 World Cup, Jamie Maclaren has signed a three-year contract with Perth Glory. The 19-year-old attacker spent the past four years with Blackburn Rovers, mostly featuring in academy teams and more recently with the reserves, proving a valuable scoring threat.
Maclaren will be 20 later this month so he will not make his Perth debut as a teenager. Yet the Glory see the Melbourne-born youngster as a rising star, particularly after his hat-trick against Indonesia in last year's U19 AFC Championship qualifier and more recently his booming opener against Turkey in last week's U20 World Cup.
Glory manager Alistair Edwards had plenty of good things to say about his new signing, as detailed in the club's press release:
"I'm absolutely delighted that Jamie has chosen to sign for Perth Glory. He had a host of clubs interested in him, but he clearly feels that he can progress with us and his signing is another clear indication that our club is establishing itself as a place where the best young Australian talent will be given the opportunity to play regular first team football and develop...He's equally comfortable playing in a central position or out wide and I'm sure he'll prove to be a major asset for Perth Glory going forward."
For his part, Maclaren echoed Edwards' notion of first team football being the key to his move to the A-League. Despite their qualification for the finals last season, Perth's leading scorer, Shane Smeltz, recorded just seven goals. Maclaren will join Chris Harold, who will be 21 this month, as front line companions of Smeltz. Harold scored three times in 2012/13 so the Glory certainly have quite a bit of room for additional firepower.
Maclaren will be in Perth by July 15 before joining the club on its upcoming tour in South Africa.