Newcastle Jets have finally locked in the services of former Australian youth international goalkeeper Tomislav Arcaba until the end of the current A-League campaign.
Arcaba has trained on and off with the Jets since September, following a program set out by the club’s goalkeeping coach Jess Vanstrattan.
The custodian will provide back-up for first choice goalkeeper Jack Duncan (pictured) and comes in as an injury replacement for Ben Kennedy, four months after the Jets stalwart ruptured his Achilles.
Arcaba, who progressed through the youth ranks at Wollongong Wolves in the early 2000s, has played professionally in Ireland, Romania, and Serbia. Most recently he lined up for OFK Beograd in Belgrade.
His signing with the Jets was delayed due to contractual complications in Serbia where he was signed as an amateur despite getting paid. The 30-year-old has been promoted straight into the squad for Sunday’s home clash with Perth Glory.
“It was a bit of a headache two months ago but I am really happy that everything has now come through,” he said.
“Thanks to Jess and the coaching staff for believing in me and giving me the opportunity. I am very happy to be in Newcastle and this is a great way to start the New Year.”
Arcaba added: “I am here to help and if the coaching staff decides that it is going to be beneficial for the club or for the team for me to play than of course I am ready and willing. But I am also here to back Jack the whole way.”
Arcaba, who was involved in the National Soccer League (NSL), said he is looking forward to developing his game under Vanstrattan.
“I was involved in the NSL so it feels great to be involved in the A-League as well,” he said.
“After the break-up of the NSL I went to Ireland, from Ireland I went to Romania, and from Romania I went to Serbia. So I am a bit of a journeyman, but it has been a great experience. It is nice to be back in Australia and playing in the top flight.
“He (Vanstrattan) has got a lot of experience and I think he is one of the best goalkeeping coaches in Australia. I think he has got a big career ahead, and I am really thankful to be able to work with him.”
Arcaba will wear the number 50 kit for the club until the end of the season.