Central Coast Mariners have signed Young Socceroo Dylan Ruiz-Diaz to a scholarship contest.
Ruiz-Diaz was handed his Hyundai A-League debut by head coach Alen Stajcic in April 2019 as substitute in the closing stages of a 3-1 win against Western Sydney Wanderers in Round 26.
The 18-year-old has made three senior appearances for the Gosford club, the latest in the 1-0 defeat to Sydney FC in December.
Ruiz-Diaz headed up state from Western Sydney Wanderers ahead of the 2018/19 season, featuring primarily in the Foxtel Y-League over the past two seasons.
Stajcic explained he has seen enough progress in the attacking prospect to keep him in Yellow and Navy for the foreseeable future.
“It has been pleasing to see how far Dylan has developed in recent months, and for him to now be signing a scholarship contract is a significant milestone for him” Stajcic said.
“It’s clear to see that he has talent and is a driven individual, and he’s just one of a number of promising youngsters that continue to come through this club.
“We believe Dylan has plenty of potential and with lots of hard work we believe he is on the right track to be able to make a mark in the A-League,” the Central Coast head coach added.
Stajcic has blooded a number of youngsters into his Mariners side in 2019/20, including right-back Lewis Miller, midfielder Gianni Stensness and another former Wanderer, Samuel Silvera.
Ruiz-Diaz has become a regular fixture on the Central Coast substitutes bench in recent weeks and he hopes to earn more Hyundai A-League minutes on the pitch as the season unfolds.
“I’m very pleased to have been given this opportunity to join a club like the Mariners which believes in young players and which is willing to give players the chance to play in the first team if they are deemed good enough to make that step,” Ruiz-Diaz said.