Melbourne Heart fullback Jeremy Walker has become the first player from the Tasmanian system to earn a professional contract in the history of the Hyundai A-League.
Walker, 19, joined Heart on a National Youth League agreement in 2011 from Football Federation Tasmania’s elite pathway and will join Heart’s senior roster next season on a one-year deal.
The full back, who left home in Ulverstone for Hobart and then Melbourne while still at High School, says it’s a “dream come true”.
“It is an honour to officially be a part of Melbourne Heart’s first team and I’m very happy the coaches have put faith in me,” Walker said.
“It’s a highlight being the first Tassie player through the Tasmanian NTC program to be offered an A-League contract.”
Head coach John Aloisi, who worked with Walker when he was coach of the Club’s NYL side in its inaugural season, said the Tasmanian had earned his contract through a string of stand-out performances and two seasons of hard-work.
“Jeremy has illustrated that he has the ability for first-team football and has a great capacity to learn and work hard,” Aloisi said.
“He is a great character, follows instructions well and has good technique.”
“Jeremy has developed well, but there is still plenty to learn and there are key areas where we would like him to develop further. Given his progression so far, we have confidence he can improve significantly”
Since replacing Michael Marrone at rightback, Walker has played 11 matches for the Heart, registering a number of impressive displays- including a man-of-the-match performance in Heart’s 3-1 win over Sydney FC in Round 22, where he went head-to-head with seasoned internationals Alessandro Del Piero and Brett Emerton.