Van’s the Man for the Central Coast

The Central Coast Mariners are delighted to announce that they have agreed to terms with local junior and former Juventus and Gold Coast United goalkeeper Jess Vanstrattan to head to his hometown club until the end of the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season.

The Central Coast Mariners are delighted to announce that they have agreed to terms with local junior and former Juventus and Gold Coast United goalkeeper Jess Vanstrattan to head to his hometown club until the end of the Hyundai A-League 2010/11 season.

The 27-year-old Gosford born custodian came through the ranks as a junior at Terrigal Soccer Club before signing his first professional contract with Northern Spirit, then coached by new Mariners Head Coach Graham Arnold in 1999.

After a seven year stint plying his trade in Italy-s famed Serie A and a season at fellow Hyundai A-League club Gold Coast United, Vanstrattan says he is delighted to be heading back to the Coast.

"I-m looking forward to it," said Vanstrattan.

"I suppose it was a bit of a no brainer when this deal came up as a possibility. I felt from Arnie-s end and my end that there was always a commitment to try to make it happen if it was possible, and it has ended up coming to fruition so I-m pretty happy with that.

"Not that I didn-t enjoy myself on the Gold Coast it-s a nice place, but home is home and I-ve got a lot of friends and family down there so I think my biggest hurdle will be getting (enough) tickets every home game!" laughed Vanstrattan.

While he worked under some of the game-s biggest names, including ex-Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri, Vanstrattan says he is equally familiar with the current Mariners coaching staff.

"I-ve worked with a lot of people at the club and some of the players. He (Graham Arnold) was my first professional coach (at Northern Spirit).

"I-ve also worked with (goalkeeping coach) John Crawley when I was younger, I know (Head of Sports Science) Andrew Clark, so I know everyone down there and I know I-m coming to an environment that is going to be good to me, so it-s just up to me to do what I know I can do best," Vanstrattan said.

Standing at 191 centimetres tall, the imposing gloveman recorded seven clean sheets in his 18 appearances for Gold Coast United last season as he confirmed his place as one of the country-s top shot-stoppers.

"I really hope Jess will be a great addition to the squad. He-s a real leader on the field, he does a lot of talking and coaches while he plays which is what you need in a goalkeeper," said Mariners Head Coach Graham Arnold.

"He has plenty of experience at the top level and is a local junior who has gone away and been successful, and is now returning to his roots. He-s a great kid, I-ve known him for over 10 years now and I-m excited that we are able to bring him home as I-m sure he is about coming home."

After being released by Gold Coast United earlier today, the Mariners have moved quickly to have Vanstrattan on deck as soon as possible, and he will link up with his new teammates for his first training session with his new club tomorrow morning.

"We have an important game this week (against Melbourne Victory in Launceston on Sunday) and it-s important that Jess is on the same page quickly.

"The goalkeeper is vitally important in creating success across the park and the quicker we can get Jess understanding the way we want to play, the better," said Arnold.