Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets players Emile Heskey and Ryan Griffiths, along with head coach Gary van Egmond attended the A-League season launch at Parramatta Stadium on Tuesday morning.
Players and coaches from A-League Clubs, Central Coast Mariners, Western Sydney Wanderers, Wellington Phoenix, Sydney FC and the Jets were in attendance along with a large contingent of media.
A corresponding event was held in Melbourne with the other five A-League Clubs, Perth Glory, Brisbane Roar, Adelaide United, Melbourne Victory and Melbourne Heart.
In an exciting sight for A-League fans, Heskey added star power to the event alongside fellow marquee signings Alessandro Del Piero of Sydney FC and Shinji Ono of Western Sydney Wanderers.
Heskey said he could feel the growing sense of excitement about the start of the 2012/13 A-League season.
“The fans in Newcastle have been great,” he said.
“I’ve met a few supporters in the streets since I’ve been here and you can see there is a buzz around town, which is nice.”
Van Egmond echoed Heskey’s sentiments saying he had never experienced such high levels of anticipation before the start of an A-League season.
“Bringing Emile to the Jets is great for the Club, the city of Newcastle and football in this country,” he said.
“There's a lot of excitement about the start of the season. It's great to be part of it. It's the most interest I've seen in the A-League since the inaugural year.”
FFA CEO Ben Buckley said the signs were looking positive for the biggest and best season of the A-League to date.
“With marquee players of the highest quality, a new Club representing the oldest region for football in Australia and an impressive line-up of players and coaches I can say without any doubt that season eight will be like nothing we’ve seen before,” he said.
“Now is a fantastic time you to get involved in the Hyundai A-League, whether it’s by becoming a member of a Club, attending matches at a stadium, watching at home on television through our partner Fox Sports, or connecting online through websites and social media – we all have our part to play.”
Heskey's first training session for Members and supporters to attend will be on Tuesday afternoon at Ray Watt Oval. The session will commence at approximately 4.30pm. The Jets also train on Wednesday morning, and Members and fans can attend that session at Ray Watt Oval also, from 10am.