Newcastle Jets have demonstrated their faith in emerging talent Mitch Cooper by handing the injured midfielder a contract extension.
Cooper, 18, underwent a full anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction in April after suffering a serious knee injury in training.
The midfielder, who made five appearances for the Jets last season, briefly captained the now-defunct Gold Coast United in 2011/12, becoming the youngster skipper in A-League history.
Expected to return to action next term, he is now contracted to Newcastle until the end of the 2014/15 campaign.
"I really enjoyed my first season with the Jets and I feel like I've got much more to offer, so getting the chance to stay in Newcastle is great," Cooper said.
"Robbie and Gary have shown faith in me and that's one of the biggest things you look for as a young player," he said, referring to the backing of CEO Robbie Middleby and head coach Gary van Egmond.
"I want to repay that faith by getting back fit and doing my best to help this club.
"Unfortunately I'm injured at the moment, but everything happens for a reason.
"I've just got to keep my head up and keep pushing forward and come out stronger at the end of it."
Cooper has played for Australia at Under-17 and Under-20 level, and had been expected to feature for the Young Socceroos at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Turkey last month, before injury ruled him out of contention.