Former Sutherland Sharks captain Jacob Tratt has secured an A-League deal until the end of the 2019/20 campaign.
The central defender has been rewarded with an extended the contract after a number of solid performances.
Tratt, 24, who scored his maiden goal for the club in Sydney FC’s 3-1 Sydney Derby win in December, has made a very good impression since returning for his second stint with the Sky Blues and will remain with the club as an injury replacement until the season is completed.
“I’m very happy to be staying until the end of the season,” Tratt said.
“That was my initial goal when I first signed in November and I’m very pleased to have achieved that.
“Now I want to prove I have what it takes to stay at the club longer term and over the next five months I intend to show I am worthy to be part of this fantastic club for a long time to come.”
It has been a whirlwind few months for Tratt after the Sutherland Sharks captain saw a trial period with his former club Wellington Phoenix fail to materialise into a full-time deal.
He returned to Sydney where he was called out of the blue by Sydney FC general manager of football operations Terry McFlynn to offer him a trial with the club where he had captained the youth team to a league title.
Tratt jumped at the chance. By the end of his second day, he had been offered an injury replacement contract to cover for Ben Warland.
The 24-year-old found himself among the substitutes for Sydney FC’s derby match against Western Sydney in mid December.
When both Jop van der Linden and Aaron Calver went down with injury, Tratt finally had his chance.
It took Tratt five years to finally make his Sydney FC debut in the A-League.
Not only did he take it with an assured performance, Tratt scored the match-winning goal to make it a Sky Blues debut to remember.
“Obviously the way it all unfolded was pretty incredible,” Tratt told the Leader.
“I feel like I’ve worked hard not only physically but mentally. I know I have to accept opportunities when they come and I was lucky enough to get one and I made the most of it.
“I felt pretty lucky and so grateful for the opportunity.’
Tratt joined Sydney FC’s youth team for the 2013-14 season. He eventually captained the club to the youth league title – under then youth team coach Steve Corica.
Now, with Corica having graduated to the top job, Tratt said he was delighted to be reunited with his former youth team boss and was desperate to turn his short stay into something more permanent.
“It all happened very quickly. I feel like I’m back home,” Tratt said.
“I played under Steve a few years ago obviously and when I was here previously I built good relationships with a lot of these boys. Coming back the second time around I felt like I was coming back home. I couldn’t be happier to be back.”
Originally from Dubbo, Tratt has plenty of roots in the shire thanks to his time at NPL 1 club Sutherland.
He has recently moved into a place at Caringbah South with his girlfriend and regularly carpools to training with another Sutherland Sharks product Cameron Devlin.
Sydney FC have also announced the signing of talented youngster Luke Ivanovic to an A-League contract until the end of this season with goalkeeper Thomas Heward-Belle securing an A-League deal until the end of the 2019/20 campaign.
Sydney FC head coach Steve Corica praised all three players and challenged them to improve over the rest of the season.
“I’m very pleased for Jacob, he has been excellent since coming into the squad in terms of what he produces on the field and his attitude and commitment off it,” Corica said.
“He showed what a good player he is when he was called upon in the Sydney Derby and I look forward to watching him continue to fight for a starting place.”
The squad additions continue Sydney FC’s January recruitment having already signed up midfielder Anthony Caceres on loan from Manchester City.