Although Jake Hamilton is one the youngest senior goalkeepers in Northern NSW football, he has already gathered much experience and is only getting better. Last season he was an integral part of Cooks Hill United’s premiership-championship dominance and is once again showcasing that quality with numerous clean sheets already. Jake and Quentin chatted with one another to find out about the process of his career and where he sees it heading in the future.
Where and when did you start your junior career and how did you progress into senior football?
I started playing at aged five for Warners Bay and played there until I was about 11 or 12. I had a few clubs in the next few years until I landed at South Cardiff where I was selected for the 17’s but was pushed on to the 19’s a week before the season started. I played a few years there and then moved onto Adamstown where I made get my 1st Grade debut.
What do you do for work?
I work for an electrical company as an apprentice electrician. I’ll finish my trade next year.
You’re one of the younger players to be consistently featuring in the league, did you initially feel intimidated when you were first starting out?
I have always been a bit younger in most of the teams I’ve played in since starting senior football. I was probably more nervous than intimidated at the start but I’ve become more confident every week. The group I play with play a big part for the confidence too as we are often so solid across the park.
You’ve proven to be one of the best keepers in the league despite being one of the smallest, was that ever an issue progressing through your career?
When I was younger I think my size was an issue. I was rounder and smaller than the other keepers in my age group. Now however, I don’t feel it’s an issue. I can’t control how tall I become so I just worry about playing and the things I can control and work on.
What player has been one of your favourite players to play with and you have admiration for?
I played with Guy Bates at Adamstown a few years ago and he was on a different level with all things he did. You could really see and understand how he accomplished the things he did so early on.
Which player is the hardest to play against and why?
The player I’ve found the hardest to deal with would be James Virgili. My first ever start in first grade was against Broadmeadow Magic and he scored a hat trick. No matter what I did, I just couldn’t get anywhere near him.
Most memorable moment(s) of your career so far?
Winning the ‘Double’ (minor and major premiership) with Cooks Hill would have to be #1 for sure.
The second most memorable moment would be back when I was 15 and playing for Charlestown City Blues. We went an entire season undefeated and won the Double and also made it to the semi-finals of the Nike Cup in Melbourne.
Most influential person in your career?
My Dad would have to be the most influential person for me. He was a goalkeeper when he played and I always wanted to do the same thing. He coached me from when I young and is currently my goalkeeper coach now. He pushes me to be better every week.
I’ve also got to give Mum a shout out – she’s there every week cheering and supporting me.
What are you hoping to achieve for this year’s season?
This season, Cooks Hill wanted to do what we did last season but this time with a lot less ease. Winning the Double again is our main focus.
Personally, for me, it was becoming more confident and putting in a really consistent season with a lot less goals conceded.
What’s your plans for the future of your career? Where are you hoping to progress?
Everyone that plays would love to make it professionally but the chances are so little and even at my age, I think I’m past it. I would love to progress into the NPL and play consistently in 1st Grade and hopefully that’s not too far away for me.