The Central Coast Mariners have announced the signing of 20-year old Australian defender Harry Ascroft on a three-year deal.
Ascroft joins the Mariners fresh from a two-season stint in the Eerste Divisie (Netherlands) with VVV-Venlo.
The Kissing Point Junior’s professional career kicked off with a bang after being scouted whilst playing for Sydney University where he was asked to fly over for a two-week trial.
After impressing then coaches Albin Mikulski and Rob Wheatley during his two-week trial, Ascroft followed in the footsteps of former Socceroos Brett Emerton and Brett Holman who both commenced their illustrious careers in the Netherlands.
Through out his time in the Netherlands, the teenager not only developed his game in one of the world’s most respected football nations but also matured quickly as a person, having to re-locate and live in a foreign country almost on the day of his 18th birthday.
Central Coast Mariners Head Coach Tony Walmsley continues to build on one of the club’s key mantras, “giving youth a chance” and was immediately impressed by Ascroft who has spent the past two weeks trialling with the Yellow and Navy.
“It's hard to tell whether a player with overseas experience has what it takes to play in the A-League, especially at such a young age,” Walmsley said.
"Holland is obviously a significant place to play football and at 20, Harry has already played first team football at VVV-Venlo.
“His character, personality and work ethic immediately stood out then as we opened up the pitch size we got to see the scope of his ability and potential.
“Harry is a long-term prospect but can he play and have an impact this season? I think so. He has some outstanding attributes and he's a top signing for our club,” he said.
Ascroft made seven first team competitive appearances for VVV-Venlo amongst other exhibition matches, which included a hit out against Portuguese giants FC Porto.
“It feels really good to join the Mariners and I’m really excited about the future,” Ascroft said.
“Playing in the Netherlands was a great experience, I learned a lot and it allowed me to mature a lot as a player and as a person.
“I’m a very relaxed, calm player. I like to keep things very simple and I always put in 110 percent.
“The players here are fantastic, there are some quality players so I am really looking forward to the season ahead,” he said.