Two highly rated former Jets youth players spearhead a long list of recruits for Charlestown as they look to improve on their frustrating finish to the 2023 NPL men's NNSW season.
Azzurri led the league for most of last year before dropping points late to finish third then exiting with a 1-0 defeat to Broadmeadow in the preliminary final. They have since lost Jacob Melling, Ryan Frame and Matt Johnson to Central Coast teams, while keeper Nate Archbold (year off), Regan Lundy, Cal Bower (Maitland) and import Miguel Angel Fernandez Herrera have also gone.
However, coach James Pascoe has filled the void with 10 additions, including former Joeys striker Cameron Joice and fellow Jets product Kieran Hayes, who have returned from US college. Both trained with the Jets A-League squad and pushed for senior contracts before going to America.
Azzurri have also picked up striker Jack Gallagher and defenders Quinton Phillips-Tapsell and Josh Lyons from Central Coast United and Lachlan Hilton (defender) from Sydney Olympic. Locally, they have added Jarryd Sutherland (Edgeworth), Dylan Newbold (Jaffas) and Ty Cousins (Maitland).
Pascoe said the young, mobile recruits will give his squad better depth and "allow us to play a different way". Azzurri host New Lambton in round one on February 25.
Former Jets centre-backs Nigel Boogaard and Taylor Regan remain the key men for Charlestown and Pascoe hoped they could help bring the best out in the younger brigade.
"The three Central Coast boys are all 19, 20 years of age, Hilton is 21 and they are all very capable of playing first grade right now," Pascoe said.
"But I'm also protecting the club's future, getting ready for when Nigel and Taylor call it quits.
"It's about giving young boys a chance while they still have that guidance around them, so it's looking good."
Ben McNamara remains to give Charlestown an experienced gloveman in the wake of Archbold's departure.